President’s Report


Gerald Natal, ALAO President

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow and predicted several more weeks of winter, but Mother Nature has not seen fit to honor Phil’s prediction made one month ago as of this writing. On-again-off-again spring-like days and rain in lieu of snow have made me a happy camper (only an idiom–I have not been camping since I was a boy scout). Perhaps for some of ALAO members the coming of spring does indeed induce happiness in those who relish taking in the Great Outdoors; for me it is a reminder to start planning the next board retreat and tending to board elections. More on the board elections in this months’ newsletter…

Board Meeting Report 2-17-23

The board was informed that an alternative to PayPal, which is currently used by ALAO to receive fee payments, was investigated. ALAO’s Treasurer considered the budget, systems available through ALAO’s banking institution, and the system already in use by ALAO for event registration, Wild Apricot. As a result, negotiations are underway to utilize the payment features in Wild Apricot to supplement PayPal. This should improve the process for fee registrations and membership renewals.

ALAO’s ACRL representative reported that the ACRL Section Newsletter is out and will feature a report on the fall conference. Also, ACRL continues to offer two free webinars to section members; as there currently is no process in place for selection of the webinars and dissemination of links for registration and recording, the ACRL representative will be working on a process to present to the board at the next meeting.

An investigation is in progress to see if ALAO might qualify for LSTA grant money which could be used to transition the annual conference to a hybrid event.

To attract more applicants, the Professional Development Committee proposed changes to two grants offered by ALAO. The committee suggested that the Support Staff Conference Grant–the purpose of which is to encourage support staff development and participation in ALAO activities—include free registration in addition to up to $150 reimbursement for travel, lodging, or presentation related expenses. The committee also recommended that the existing Student Presenter Grant be renamed to“Student Conference Grant” and that it be available to undergraduate students who express an interest in library science. This grant would also include one free registration in addition to up to $150 reimbursement for travel, lodging, or presentation related expenses. The proposed changes were accepted by a board vote.

Executive Board Elections

The 2023 nominating committee consisting of me (acting as Past President), Laura Birkenhauer as co-chair, Alison Ricker (Oberlin), Clayton Hayes (Kenyon), and Lynn Warner (U. of Cincinnati), has been hard at work over the past several weeks seeking candidates to run for Vice President/President Elect, three Board-Members-At-Large, and Public Relations Coordinator. Since the initial call for nominations went out in the December ALAO Newsletter there have been several postings to the ALAO listserv and individual contacts to potential candidates. Thanks to all who nominated themselves to serve—as always, we have a great slate of dedicated individuals! On the ballot for this election are:

Vice President/President Elect:

  • Paul Campbell — Ohio University
  • Sara Klink – Stark State College

Board Member-at-Large (3 positions):

  • Allen Reichert—Otterbein University
  • Derek Wilmott—The University of Toledo
  • Jaclyn Spraetz—Miami University
  • Tracey Overbey—The Ohio State University
  • Rich Wisneski— Miami University

Public Relations Coordinator:

  • Christine Rigda—The University of Toledo

The date for last call for nominations was extended to March 6th; the ballot is now available here. You must be an active member to vote. If your membership has lapsed, this is a great time to renew.

Do your part to select our future leadership—don’t forget to vote!

Thank you from the Nomination Committee!

P.S. – In a related topic, the ALAO Diversity Committee—a very important committee for the organization—is seeking dedicated individuals to act as Co-chairs. If you have a passion for furthering the causes of DEIA and would like to gain valuable leadership experience, this is a great opportunity. You can find out more about the work of the committee by contacting Gwen Short at or visiting

Future of ALAO Conferences Task Force

A task force made up of Don Appleby, Melissa Bauer, Mark Eddy, Brian Gray, David Green, Ken Irwin, Sara Klink, Seth Sisler, and Jason Wardell considered the pros and cons of hybrid events with the ALAO annual conference in mind. We considered the barriers to attending in person events and best practices to ensure equity and inclusion. Virtual events may overcome many barriers to attending in person events such as lack of funds, time, staffing, traveling long distances, and accessibility, yet in person events still are popular. Hybrid events are a solution and are becoming the norm for large organizations, which have more funds and resources than organizations the size of ALAO. The task force discussed several options, including having an in-person event with virtual sessions on a different day, having alternating conferences in person one year, virtual the next, and using a third-party vendor to broadcast live sessions. The ACRL series of webinars on hybrid events was very useful in informing discussions.

The task force concluded that ALAO should work towards some form of hybrid conference event, and that it is best to proceed in small steps. The 2023 conference committee is already moving in this direction and will be piloting hybrid features on a small scale, with a working group assigned to discuss particulars such as necessary technology and fee structure. Meanwhile there is still the need to continue to explore physical spaces for future conferences.

I would like to thank the individuals on the task force for contributing their time and opinions on this matter.

Other Business

I expressed my concerns to the board about the storage of recorded video. The increased importance of virtual events brought about by the pandemic means more video being produced, which necessitates having a plan in place. The ALAO web managers are formulating a process. I also informed the board to be wary of phishing attempts in emails using my name.

This entry was posted in Vol. 41 no. 1 (March 2023) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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