Not unlike many of us, I spent two days last week in meetings. The difference? That these were 8 hours meetings held over Friday and Saturday. And they were in Chicago.
Last Annual conference the LITA Board of Directors voted to add me to the executive committee (ExCo) of LITA. The executive committee meets two additional times per year, once virtually, and once physically, beyond the Annual and Midwinter meetings. This was the physical meeting.
All the ALA Divisions used this opportunity to coordinate their physical October meetings. I learned that most divisions have ExCos, though a small minority (notably PLA) bring in their entire board. It was a nice chance to see colleagues from ACRL and “big” ALA. It was also nice to meet people involved in divisions in which I haven’t been active. (Lauren C.–I met several of your ALCTS colleagues!)
President-Elects came up the day before for an orientation and introduction to their role. Then, on Friday, bright and early, we had a joint breakfast and then went to our respective board meetings. We met in our small groups for the morning session, had a group lunch, then a joint meeting of all boards in the afternoon. The next day we met in our small groups again.
The small group meetings, where I participated in LITA ExCo, were really informative. I often feel like I have a pretty good understanding of ALA, all things considered. Between my involvement in two divisions, Emerging Leaders, and Council, I have a sense of divisions and of “big” ALA and how they work together. This was the first time I’d had the view of ALA as comprised of all the divisions, and it was a helpful framework.
LITA ExCo not only functions as the executive committee, but also as the Forum Steering Committee (in which I was proud to be a colleague of Susan’s and Hu’s!) and the Budget Review Committee. All of the discussions around these three roles was really interesting to me, but I will spare you details. (If you like governance as much as I do, or you are interested in LITA, let me know and I’m happy to chat!) Notably, I found it easier to get active involvement from everyone in such a small group. It was also easy to see how leadership transitions between presidents as LITA’s ExCo consists of the outgoing, current, and vice presidents, the LITA Councilor, the at-large member (me), and the executive director.
The Joint meeting of the boards was particularly familiar as it was an exercise in Appreciative Inquiry! It definitely had been an adapted version from what we did, but it was a really interesting exercise in creating a list of what ALA does really well and can build on.
As always, if you have particular interest in ALA or LITA, I’m always happy to chat about it!