Leadership Opportunity: ASCLA Nominating Committee seeks candidates, gives you the inside scoop on serving ASCLA

The ASCLA Nominating Committee, chaired by ASCLA member Ray James, seeks applicants for vacant board positions to be elected early in 2014. Read on to learn more about the available positions and what each of them entails. To express interest in a position or ask questions about serving on the ASCLA board,  contact Ray at erayjames@gmail.com.

With apologies to the memory of JFK, “Ask not only what ASCLA can do for you, but also what can you do for ASCLA.”

Each spring, the American Library Association holds elections for various leadership positions throughout the association. ASCLA has five leadership positions available in the next election cycle with service to start after the end of the 2014 Las Vegas Annual Conference. If you are a current member of ASCLA and active with any of the interest groups with open board seats, then you are eligible for leadership roles in one ALA’s fastest growing divisions!

The positions to be filled are:

  • President-Elect 2014-2015 (a 3 year commitment–2014 through 2017–that includes the president-elect year, presidential year, and past president year);
  • Director-at-Large 2014-2016 (2 year term);
  • Designated Director, Cooperatives and Networks 2014-2016 (2 year term);
  • Designated Director, Special Populations 2014-2016 (2 year term);
  • and Designated Director, State Library Agencies 2014-2016 (2 year term).

As a potential candidate, the first two questions that may come to mind are “What do I have to do?” and “Do I have to go to conferences?”

The basic answer to the first question comes from a statement of responsibilities that goes to everyone who expresses an interest in serving of the ASCLA Board of Directors. In a nutshell for the Designated Directors:

  • Serves  on the ASCLA board as a representative of one of the following typesof library organizations, constituencies or agencies: state library agencies, library agencies and individuals which provide library materials and service to populations with special needs, library cooperatives, and library consultants or independent librarians.
  • Serves on the ASCLA Interest Group Coordinating Committee (IGCC)
  • Assumes other responsibilities as assigned by the president.

Directors-at-Large represent ASCLA as a whole rather than a particular interest group and do not serve on the IGCC. Service is for two years which begins at the close of the Annual conference in the year of election and ends at the close of Annual conference two years later. The Vice-President/President-Elect role is more expansive.

What does this all mean? At a bare minimum it means going to board meetings and staying awake. No one ever does just the bare minimum. Until ASCLA implements a virtual meeting standard, directors and other association officers need to attend the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference during their term of service, though there may be virtual board meetings that take place outside of these twice annual face-to-face meetings.

The prestige of serving on ASCLA board is often impetus from a librarian’s workplace to provide financial support for attending these conferences. Some directors choose to fund the experience themselves. In my opinion, the real pleasure from serving as a director is interacting with other professionals from such diverse areas as correctional librarianship to those who provide service to people with physical or intellectual limitations to consultants to those who work in state libraries. By learning about the issues and solutions in librarianship from this multiplicity of backgrounds, every director expands his or her horizons. Think of it as networking on steroids.

For those in the profession for many years working on the ASCLA Board can be a reward for years of service and a chance to mentor younger members of the profession. For the younger members of the profession taking a leadership role is not just a resume builder but also an opportunity to learn, network, and influence the future of the profession.

For me personally, serving on the ASCLA board meant some of all of above plus travels to Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, New Orleans, and Seattle. It meant expanding my perceptions far beyond my job. It meant a sense of accomplishment from helping to guide changes in ASCLA, helping introduce new faces and ideas to ASCLA leadership, and taking part in expanding not only the membership numbers but also the perceptions of ALA members and non-ALA folks about ASCLA and its mission “to enhance the effectiveness of library service by advocating for and providing high quality networking, enrichment and educational opportunities for its diverse members, who represent state library agencies, libraries serving special populations, library cooperatives, and library consultants.”

Interested in throwing your hat in the ring, or at least exploring your options? Contact the Nominating Committee via Committee Chair Ray James at erayjames@gmail.com to get the ball rolling!


Q&A: Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, incoming ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect

Congratulations to Kathi Moeller-Peiffer of the New Jersey State Library on her election to the ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect position! We asked Kathi some questions about her relationship with ASCLA and what she does when she’s not preoccupied with important library work. Swing by the ASCLA/COSLA Reception at the ALA Annual Conference to meet Kathi and other ASCLA members.

ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect Kathi Moeller-Peiffer
ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect Kathi Moeller-Peiffer

Why do you love ASCLA?

I love being an ASCLA member primarily due to the diversity of its membership. I’ve met librarians who work as independent consultants, at state library agencies, with cooperatives and consortia and as the main source of library service to underserved populations, such as the blind and physically handicapped and incarcerated youth and adults. I learn a little something from all of them.

What do you think the best parts of ASCLA are that would appeal to new members?

As mentioned above, the diversity. Also, it is one of the smaller ALA divisions which means that you get to know people more quickly and easily and can often find yourself being offered a leadership role in the organization sooner than in one of the large divisions. Finally, the very talented and bright people of both ASCLA and the ALA ASCLA office are a great benefit of membership!

In your opinion, how are current economic challenges affecting both the professions represented by ASCLA and the association itself?

It is stressful, no doubt about it. All of the professions represented by ASCLA are taking fiscal cuts which then impacts the number of librarians who can join the association, leading to fiscal implications for us as well. ASCLA professionals continue to advocate, educate and lobby funding bodies to restore monies cut. ASCLA as an association has been handling its finances very intelligently and has been creating money-making opportunities with webinars, pre-conferences and library trips abroad in order to weather these difficult fiscal times.

What is a significant change or improvement that you would like to see made within ASCLA during the next 3-5 years?

I would like to see the membership grow to the point where we have financial stability and therefore more time being allotted to us from ALA Headquarters. Right now we have 25% of our Director’s and Marketing Manager’s time. With just a small increase to 30% they could both do so much more in terms of fund-raising idea implementation.

What about the ALA Annual Conference are you looking forward to the most?

I am very much looking forward to the many groups that I’ll be meeting with for the first time in my role as vice president/president elect and the new knowledge that I’ll be gaining of both ASCLA and ALA. And, of course, the ASCLA/COSLA awards reception!

When you’re not spending your time at the library or at conferences, what do you like to do? Any hobbies?

Well, I do enjoy spending time with my husband’s and my three Labrador Retrievers. (That is not to say they couldn’t benefit from some time with the Dog Whisperer!) I also enjoy traveling, especially abroad. Over the past few years I’ve been to Hawaii, the Isle of Rhodes in Greece and Dubrovnik, Croatia and will be visiting Puerto Rico this fall.

Read any good books lately?

I’ve just started reading Karen White’s book After the Rain, which I’ll follow with her other recent books Sea Change and The Time Between. She is a tremendously gifted writer. Once I’ve started one of her books I simply cannot put it down.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I have never, ever been asked this question before…good job stumping me! I believe that I would want the ability to time travel, both into the past and the future. I would not use it to change anything, but simply to observe what is happening and learn more about myself and others.

ASCLA elects Sara G. Laughlin, public library director, to division vice-president/president-elect role

Sara Gaar Laughlin, director of the Monroe County (Ind.) Public Library and longtime member of ALA and the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), will serve as the next vice-president/president-elect of ASCLA, the division of ALA that serves consultants, special populations librarians, state library agencies, and library networks, cooperatives and consortia, while promoting universal access to libraries and library services.

In her new leadership role, Laughlin hopes to provide strong and creative leadership that will tap into ASCLA members’ deep commitment to the library mission, as well as their strong expertise and broad professional networks—three unique attributes of ASCLA members that will help the division evolve in the face of rapid changes in publishing, technology and funding.

Laughlin joined ASCLA more than three decades ago when she took on a coordinator position at the Stone Hills Library Network. She has served both the library profession and the division in a broad variety of capacities: as a member of the Independent Librarians’ Exchange (ILEX) Executive Committee—now Library Consultants Interest Group; as section chair for the Interlibrary Cooperation and Networking (ICAN) Section; and as longtime editor of Interface (2001-08), ASCLA’s newsletter. She has also presented many programs and preconferences, including partnering with ASCLA consulting colleagues to produce the sold-out “Assembling a Consulting Toolkit” preconference which was offered in 2010 and 2011. For her service, she received the 2004 ASCLA Service Award.  She has also served as president of the Indiana Library Federation and the Friends of Indiana Libraries.

Laughlin received the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. She co-authored two books with ALA: “Quality Library: A Guide to Staff-driver Improvement, Better Efficiency, and Happier Customers” (2008) and “Library’s Continuous Improvement Fieldbook: 29 Ready-to-Use Tools” (2003).

Prior to her current position at Monroe County Public Library, she served on the library’s Board of Trustees. Her prior professional experience includes serving as President of Sara Laughlin & Associates, Inc. from 1997-2007.  She earned both an MLS and MA in Art History from Indiana University and a BA in History from the University of Cincinnati.

ASCLA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Our division’s work centers on member-driven interest groups that represent the diversity and important work of our engaged and active members. Not an ASCLA member, but interested in forming new interest groups, receiving discounted registration rates on ASCLA preconferences and online courses, and other important membership benefits? Join, renew or add ASCLA to your ALA membership at www.ala.org/membership.

ASCLA Election Results

Congratulations to our ASCLA election winners!

Vice-President/President-Elect: Sara G. Laughlin, Monroe County (Ind.) Public Library

Director-at-Large: Martha L. Goddard, San Francisco Public Library

Director-at-Large: Lisa Ann Priebe, Colorado Library Consortium

Director-at-Large: Hulen E. Bivins, North Dakota State Library

Division Councilor: Liz Bishoff, The Bishoff Group

Designated Director, Special Populations Constituency: Lori Allen Guenthner, Maryland Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Secretary: Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, New Jersey State Library


Complete ALA election results will be available here later today.