Everyone knows that change is inevitable. Today, I’d like to focus on two types of change in relation to ALSC. First, the change that happens inadvertently as the result of a sudden unexpected series of events. And then, there is the other type of change, the one that is the outcome of a concerted plan. Both, when they concur in the same time period, can have a definitive and lasting effect in the life of an organization.
The first type of change is embodied by all that relates to the onset and trajectory of the Covid Pandemic. In 2020-21, change came abruptly, disturbing our personal, professional, and organizational lives and practices. In the blink of an eye, ALSC leadership and staff had to create a virtual infrastructure to conduct the business of the organization and all its programs. The virtual YMA Announcements, the ALSC Institute, and the Morris Seminar, are among the great examples of programs that transitioned with great flare and success.
The transformations made as a result of the Pandemic were guided by ALSC’s blueprint for change, the 2020-23 ALSC Strategic Plan. This blueprint represents the second type of change, the concerted plan. That concerted plan allowed us to maintain focus and direction through a period of uncertainty while committees and task forces continued their work to achieve the objectives delineated in each area of strategic action.
One such change that I’d like to mention today, is the revision to the ALSC Bylaws recommended by the ALSC Nominating and Leadership Development Committee and approved by the members during the ALA/ALSC Elections. This revision changes the composition of four award committees (Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, and Legacy) by removing the positions from the ballot. This is a major change to the terms of these four committees. While those who proposed the change and those who voted in favor will be quick to embrace it, others will need time to evaluate it. From my perspective as this year’s appointing officer, the change will bring uniformity to committee service while streamlining processes. Also, an added result will be expanding the pool of qualified volunteer candidates to serve on each of these committees. Many may not know that once on the slate, candidates become ineligible for appointment to the respective committees for a period two years.
The second Bylaws change on the ballot that was approved by members requires at least one candidate for each governance position instead of two. I hope that many will see this change as an opportunity to increase member representation. My hope is to see an upsurge in member-initiated nominations and a more pluralistic election process
Changes always require a period of adjustment, but it is my hope that by engaging in a continuous process to attain organizational effectiveness and ensuring that our Strategic Plan aligns with our vision for the future of the organization we are ensuring ALSC is well-prepared to handle whatever challenges the next unexpected events may bring.
And talking about concerted change, we are getting ready for the 2022 ALA Annual Conference in Washington D.C. This will be our first in-person conference since midwinter 2020. If you plan to attend ALA Annual this year, I hope you are ready for a new and revitalized conference experience.
Lucia M. Gonzalez
ALSC: Association for Library Service to Children