The AALT Board has been hard at work this Fall. We are learning to adjust to the reduced size of our Board and the combined roles that were voted in at our AGM. If you recall we combined the Secretary and Treasurer positions into Administrative Services, Membership and Web into Online Services, and Journal and Marketing into Communication Services.
With the Member-at-Large position vacant, I have been working closely with our Conference Co-Chairs and that seems to be working out quite well.
There is a discussion taking place within our Alberta library associations that the Board felt you needed to be aware of. At the ALC 2016, a session on the Library Landscape was held. This session was facilitated by Jason Openo, then President of LAA, and had representation from Laura Ross-Giroux (ALTA President), Sarah Stephens (then AALT President), and myself (representing AAAL). The session was to discover and open up dialogue about what the various associations do, what is the overlap and where can we collaborate more. With the demise of CLA the conversation also opened up to the early stages of discussion of whether LAA could become the umbrella association for all the other library associations in
The AALT Board talked about what the pros and cons could be for AALT if they were to go under the umbrella of LAA and we had many concerns and questions.
At the end of September I had a Skype meeting with Jason Openo as a follow-up to the Library Landscape session. I shared the concerns the AALT Board had and what we thought could happen and areas of concerns we felt should be addressed before we even considered bringing this concept to our members. To sum up the discussion I had with Jason I told him the following:
- AALT members need to feel valued and an important part of the library landscape. We are not “just” library technicians.
- The LAA structure would need to accommodate a library technician interest group or section and that we needed an elected LIT position on the LAA Board to represent the interest group or section. This would also show that LAA is an inclusive association and not geared strictly to librarians as is often the perception.
- AALT members would still need to have professional development that is relevant for them as well as conference opportunities. Jason indicated that LAA needs to branch out in its PD and conference offerings. It needs more than just ALC. ALC is very successful but only meets the needs of a certain number of members.
- I also talked about membership fees and how those increases could impact our members. However I do not think money is the main concern, our identities and contributions and recognition within the library community is.
The conversations that are taking place with APLAC, ATAL, AAAL have not been about the immediate “take over” but is really about collaboration, building bridges and coming to a better understanding. There have been several comments about the need to form a working group to represent the associations and I think it is very important that AALT be at that table and a big part of the discussion. Do I think that one day AALT could be under the LAA umbrella and still thrive? Very possible, but before we even get there we need to collaborate even more to demonstrate our value and contributions, and most importantly we need have our voices and concerns heard.
At this point I haven’t heard back from LAA about any of the concerns and questions I had brought forward but I will make sure that you are kept apprised and I can see this becoming a discussion for an AGM at some point in the future.
My promise to you is that I will keep AALT’s members best interests at the forefront and will keep you informed as things progress.
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Karen Hildebrandt, AALT President 2016-17