Submitted by Jeannette Smithee, Executive Director, SEFLIN (Southeast Florida Library Information Network)

The ASCLA Library Consultants Interest Group (LCIG) celebrates an active year and looks forward to another exciting year. The LCIG membership grew along with general ASCLA membership growth. ASCLA as a whole added 55 members in 2012-13 for a 7.4% growth, the highest percentage of all ALA Divisions. The Library Consultants Interest Group added 31 members growing from 32 to 63 members. We would like to keep growing by providing a meaningful forum for discussions and programs that can highlight and improve skills of current and potential independent librarians and library consultants. Please tell your colleagues (current and potential consultants) about the benefits of joining ASCLA and LCIG (for information about joining LCIG see

The 2013 ALA Annual Conference was a good one for the Library Consultants Interest Group.

  • The Saturday program Beyond Brainstorming: Making More Effective Decisions with Joan Frye Williams filled the room with about 350 people. Her lively program was well-received and provided inspiration and practical nuggets for those working for change in their libraries. She described essential steps for communication and involvement for decision making within an organization.
  • At the Sunday program, Do Those Evaluation Statistics Mean Anything? (cosponsored by the ALA Office of Research and Statistics) approximately 100 people heard a panel with staff from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at IMLS a state library grants manager and a consultant program evaluator explore the challenges of managing and evaluating widely distributed grants and sub-grants to provide a meaningful national picture of the impact of library funding. At the end of the program, IMLS called for those interested in continuing the dialog about developing program/grant evaluation plans that balance standardized statistical data and localized narrative descriptions. Anyone interested in participating in the discussion can contact Matthew Birnbaum, Evaluation and Research Officer at IMLS (
  • The Sunday Consultants Give Back (CGB) was cosponsored with PLA. During the afternoon, about 16 consultants were available to meet with librarians for free short consultations. In addition, some CGB consultants conducted meetings at other times and places during the conference. Most librarians had made appointments with the consultants and there were a few drop-ins. The out-of-the-way room assignment inhibited drop-in participation.

 The Library Consultant Interest Group Leadership team is actively planning for 2013-14. Plans include programs and activities of interest to independent consultants and internal organization consultants (such as state library staff or multitype cooperative staff) at Midwinter and Annual Conferences in 2014.

  • At ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia, LCIG plans several opportunities for learning and networking. Nancy Bolt and Liz Bishoff will offer another edition of the long waited preconference “Assembling a Consulting Toolkit: What You Need to Know to be a Successful Library Consultant.” The preconference is planned for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning before the conference. LCIG will host a topic driven Library Consultants Discussion Forum and possibly a networking event. More details and a schedule will come this fall.
  • At the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, LCIG plans to present a conference program on making a transition to independent consulting (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Plan to join the lively discussion.
  • The Consultants Giving Back (CGB) programs held at ALA and PLA Conferences are coordinated through LCIG and ASCLA. Evaluations from the 2013 CGB program will guide the directions and plans for 2014. Expect to hear more about this during the year.

Questions or comments, contact 2013-14 LCIG leader, Allan Kleiman,