January/February 2009 Library News

This issue of the ILA/ACRL Newsletter is devoted to news from academic libraries across the state.  Our first article, though, is from ILA/ACRL president, Brett Cloyd.


January 13, 2009

As I prepare to go on family leave at the start of my presidential term, I take advantage of one of the perks of this position - to write a column for the January newsletter. On several fronts, this is an interesting time to address the membership.

-           A souring economy has everyone worried
-           Libraries are seeing record activity as people become more cost-conscious
-           A new President of the United States is sworn in on January 20
-           Bono gets a regular column in the New York Times

I daresay leaders at every institution in Iowa are looking at budgets and making hard decisions about how to continue to meet their missions with fewer dollars. Librarians are anxious about presenting stories and facts that demonstrate the value they provide to their organizations and communities. Professional organizations face tough times, too, as members decide if they are getting good value from their annual membership fees.

My feeling is that your Iowa ACRL chapter plays an important role in the professional lives of academic and research libraries in Iowa. Included here are a few things the chapter is working on in 2009.

The spring conference is an important event each year and 2009 is no exception. Steven Bell (http://stevenbell.info/) from Temple University will join us for a talk on "Futureproofing your library."  During the last few years Steven has been busy presenting and writing about libraries and I feel we are in for a real treat at our conference on Friday, April 17, at Hawkeye Community College. Look for the upcoming call for presentation proposals to see what new ideas you'd like to share with your colleagues and mark it on your calendar so when registration comes around you'll be free to join us.

This summer we hope to repeat the success of the Support Staff Conference that was initiated in 2008. Please keep your eyes peeled to the IA-ACRL list for news about this conference. Providing opportunities for support staff and front-line workers in our libraries is an important mission of the chapter.

My hope is that the chapter will move into the 21st century with electronic voting. Our chapter by-laws require a paper ballot, but with the help of the ILA By-laws committee I plan to suggest to members that we make the shift to electronic voting. In 2008, the paper ballots and postage cost the organization more than $70. If all goes well, the board will seek a vote to change this at the Spring Conference.

And of course, this newsletter provides a forum and venue for sharing ideas.

Thank you for the trust placed in me as your chapter president. While I do not have the privilege of issuing an inaugural address and the problems our chapter face are less daunting than the country's, working with a professional organization to meet its purpose to "enhance library service, user education, and staff development in ... libraries" is an excellent opportunity. I believe we all have responsibilities to help one another, especially in difficult times. I hope each of you will consider what you can contribute and share in order to make the Iowa ACRL chapter a vital organization.

I mentioned Bono at the top of the article. He recently was hired on by the New York Times to write commentary. His first piece detailed his relationship and impressions of Frank Sinatra. If you'd like to read the article, it's available on the web as many things are (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/opinion/11bono.html ). I found the piece a little bit on the poetic and rambling side, but I'm a fan and read all the way through. What I wanted to leave you with was this sentence towards the end. I will leave it to you to provide the answer:

"This is our moment. What do we hear?"                           

I will be on family leave until Monday, February 16, but will look forward to working with you during the rest of 2009. Log-in to the web site and leave comments to this piece, if you like.

Best Regards,

Brett Cloyd