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ARL Membership Convenes in Washington, DC, for Fall 2014 Meeting

image © Milko Romero

Then president of ARL, Carol Pitts Diedrichs of The Ohio State University, convened the 165th ARL Membership Meeting in Washington, DC, on Tuesday afternoon, October 7, 2014. All available presentation slides are linked after the speakers’ names in the following summary of the meeting.

The meeting began with introductions of the individuals who had become ARL member representatives since the previous Membership Meeting in May 2014: Richard Clement of University of New Mexico, Toby Graham of University of Georgia, Adriene Lim of University of Oregon, Mary-Jo Romaniuk of University of Manitoba, Catherine Steeves of Western University, and Stanley Wilder of Louisiana State University.

Tuesday afternoon featured reports on four ARL endeavors. First, Wendy Lougee, ARL past president, university librarian and McKnight presidential professor at University of Minnesota, and chair of the ARL Strategic Thinking & Design Work Group, and Brian E. C. Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel university librarian at University of California, San Diego, reviewed ARL’s Strategic Thinking and Design Framework, which was shared with the membership prior to the meeting. (The final Framework will be published this winter.) The Framework outlines a “System of Action” that currently consists of five initiatives for ARL to focus on for the near future, recognizing that over time new initiatives will be identified. Lougee and Schottlaender noted that the new Framework recognizes the changing roles of research libraries and that the membership wants ARL to play a more active and collaborative role in creating our collective future. A Strategic Thinking and Design Transition Team is now in place and will report to the ARL Board of Directors in February 2015 with their preliminary recommendations for implementing the new Framework, which will be followed by a report to the membership.

Next Tyler Walters (slides), dean of libraries at Virginia Tech and director of SHARE (SHared Access Research Ecosystem), provided an update on SHARE’s progress. SHARE has been working on increasing its public communications and now has a monthly e-mail newsletter, a logo and brand, and convened a fall meeting for its working groups to work together in person. SHARE recently instituted governance and management changes—the former SHARE Steering Group is now an Advisory Board with an Executive Committee made up of representatives from ARL, AAU, and APLU; SHARE now has an Operations Group; and Walters was appointed director effective October 13. The initiative also has made good headway in building a prototype of the SHARE Notification Service; a beta release is planned for early 2015, with the 1.0 release in fall 2015. Other plans for 2014–2015 include convening potential partners for the SHARE Registry, submitting funding proposals, and producing a business plan for institutional investment in sustaining SHARE.

Mary Evangeliste and Jonathan Silberman (slides), co-owners of Fearless Future design and marketing firm and creators of the new SHARE logo and brand, presented the results of a branding survey that they used to canvas ARL member representatives, ARL Leadership Fellows, ARL associate university librarians, ARL staff, and other library and higher education community stakeholders about potentially rebranding ARL. Evangeliste and Silberman found that these stakeholders want ARL to be perceived as a leader, innovator, and collaborator. Respondents want ARL communications to make them feel energized, engaged, and proud. Evangeliste and Silberman will conduct further analysis and then provide a recommendation as to whether ARL should retain its existing brand, refresh the existing brand, or do a complete rebrand.

The final session on Tuesday was a commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the ARL Leadership Fellows Program, presented by Martha Bedard (slides), vice provost for university libraries at University of Connecticut and former ARL Leadership Fellow (2004–2006). The ARL Leadership Fellows Program, known as the Research Library Leadership Fellows program from 2004 through 2012, is designed and sponsored by ARL member libraries to develop future senior-level leaders in large research libraries and archives. In the program’s first decade, 115 fellows have participated, and 18 of the fellows have gone on to become ARL library directors. Reflections were offered by two of the “founding five” directors, Betsy Wilson, vice provost for digital initiatives and dean of university libraries at University of Washington, and James Neal, vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University, as well as by Bedard.

Wednesday, October 8, was a full day of sessions, starting with the ARL Business Meeting, open only to ARL member representatives. At the Business Meeting, the ARL membership ratified the Board’s election of Larry Alford, chief librarian at the University of Toronto, as ARL vice president/president-elect. Three new Board members were elected by the membership to serve three-year terms: Susan Gibbons, university librarian, Yale University; Bonnie MacEwan, dean of libraries, Auburn University; and John Wilkin, the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson dean of libraries and university librarian, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Additionally, Ann Thornton, the Andrew W. Mellon director, the New York Public Library, was elected to serve a one-year term that was open due to a retirement. At the end of the Business Meeting, Carol Pitts Diedrichs transferred the president’s gavel to Deborah Jakubs, the Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway university librarian and vice provost for library affairs at Duke University, who then started her one-year term as ARL president. For more details, see “ARL Board of Directors 2014–2015 Elected by ARL Membership.”

Following the Business Meeting on Wednesday morning, the membership saluted ARL library directors who plan to retire before the next Membership Meeting in April 2015: Marianne Gaunt of Rutgers University, Rush Miller of University of Pittsburgh, James Neal of Columbia University, and Karin Wittenborg of University of Virginia.

The first program session on Wednesday examined “The New Digital Landscape of Government Information: Implications for Research Libraries.” Bernard F. Reilly Jr., president of the Center for Research Libraries, moderated the session. Three speakers offered their unique perspectives on the challenge of archiving born-digital federal government information: William B. McAllister (slides), diplomatic historian and director of special projects in the Office of the Historian at the US Department of State; Thomas S. Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University; and Charles A. Barth (slides), director of the Federal Register at the US National Archives and Records Administration. 

Two concurrent sessions followed lunch. Thomas Wall, university librarian at Boston College, moderated a session about “Innovative Approaches: Services, Programs, and the Organization.” M.J. D’Elia (slides), head of learning and curriculum support at McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph, discussed lessons learned at Guelph, where they created an innovation fund. He emphasized that innovation requires “practice, people, a platform, and persistence.” Mary Ann Mavrinac (slides), vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly dean of River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, spoke about the development of the iZone specialized learning space at Rochester, which was modeled in part on the Innovation Lab at Harvard.

The second concurrent session, “Elements of Successful Fundraising,” was moderated by Deborah Jakubs. The presenters—Deborah Jakubs; Karin Wittenborg, university librarian and dean of libraries at the University of Virginia; and Megan Campbell (slides), director of advancement at the University of Toronto Libraries—offered advice for raising funds for research libraries. Topics of conversation included aligning fundraising and communications; placing a development officer in the library; and cultivating relationships with donors, with the media, and with potential collaborators on campus.

The penultimate program session of the day, “Accessible Technology and Content at Large-Scale: Opportunities for High-Impact Collaboration,” was moderated by Paul T. Jaeger, associate professor and co-director of the Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. In his introduction, Jaeger said that individuals with disabilities are the largest minority group in the US—they make up 18% of the population. Irene Bowen, president of ADA One spoke about institutional self-assessments and implementing accessibility plans. She noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires effective communication, equal opportunity, and meaningful access. Katya Pereyaslavska (slides), project manager for the Accessible Content E-Portal (ACE) at the Ontario Council of University Libraries and ARL visiting program officer for accessibility and universal design, described the evolution of ACE, which currently offers more than 2,300 accessible e-books as well as an accessibility toolkit for libraries. Jonathan Band, PLLC, Technology Law and Policy, discussed accessibility in the context of the recent decision in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, in which the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld HathiTrust’s right to make scanned materials available to users with print disabilities under fair use.

John Wilkin moderated the final program session, “Data-Management Programs—Getting to Concrete Results.” Heidi Imker (slides), director of the Research Data Service at UIUC, described the development of the Research Data Service, which grew out of UIUC participation in the ARL E-Science Institute in 2011. The service commits to accepting 2 terabytes of data per researcher per year for deposit. Paul J. Bracke (slides), associate dean of libraries for research and assessment at Purdue University, spoke about the Purdue University Research Repository (PURR), noting that PURR is funded centrally by the university because it is seen as core to the research enterprise. Barbara E. Pralle (slides), head of the Entrepreneurial Library Program at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), talked about data management services at JHU, focusing on funding, partnerships, and service value.

The Membership Meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 8. The ARL Fall Forum, “Wanted Dead or Alive—The Scholarly Monograph,” was held the next day, Thursday, October 9. For a discussion of the forum, see “ARL Fall Forum 2014 Explores Future of Scholarly Monograph.”

See also tweets from the fall 2014 ARL Membership Meeting on Storify.