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ARL Membership Convenes in Washington, DC, for Fall 2018 Meeting

Chris Bourg (left) and
Joi Ito (right), photo
by Robert H. McDonald

Association of Research Libraries (ARL) member representatives, staff, and guests gathered in Washington, DC, on Tuesday–Wednesday, September 25–26, 2018, for the 173rd Association Meeting. All available slides and notes are linked from the speakers’ names or session titles in the following summary of the meeting.

During the first ARL Business Meeting, on Tuesday afternoon, the ARL membership ratified the Board’s election of Lorraine Haricombe (Texas at Austin) as ARL vice president/president-elect and elected three new Board members to serve three-year terms: Bob Fox (Louisville), Catherine Murray-Rust (Georgia Tech), and Jennifer Paustenbaugh (Brigham Young). For more details, see “ARL Board of Directors 2018–2019 Elected by ARL Membership.”

Also in the Business Meeting, various ARL member representatives introduced new member representatives: Dale Askey (Alberta), Lisa Carter (Wisconsin–Madison), Matthew Dames (Boston), Gale Etschmaier (Florida State), Robert McDonald (Colorado Boulder), and Joe Salem Jr. (Michigan State). Kurt Graham (US National Archives) was unable to attend this meeting. Mary Ann Mavrinac (Rochester), then ARL president, introduced new interim directors: Joan Cavanagh (Ottawa), Shafeek Fazal (Stony Brook), Carl Grant (Oklahoma), Barbara McDonald (Guelph), Joseph Meisel (Brown), and Lisa O’Hara (Manitoba).

At the Tuesday evening reception, Mary Ann Mavrinac toasted the ARL member representatives who plan to retire before the Spring 2019 Association Meeting: Scott Seaman (Ohio) and Sarah Thomas (Harvard).

On Wednesday morning, Mary Ann Mavrinac opened the Association Meeting with a moment of silence for Charles Darrett Churchwell, former dean of libraries at Washington University in St. Louis, who died September 19, 2018, at age 91.

David Carlson (Texas A&M) moderated the first program session on “The Move to Open Scholarship.” Alexa McCray, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School and Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discussed highlights from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus study on Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research. Kacy Redd, assistant vice president of STEM education policy, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), summarized findings from a recent report by APLU and the Association of American Universities (AAU): Public Access Working Group Report and Recommendations.

Next, Adriene Lim (Oregon) introduced Johnnetta Cole, senior consulting fellow at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who delivered an inspiring speech about the inclusion imperative. As well as presenting the moral necessity and the business case for greater diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in research libraries, Cole reminded us that “life is simply more joyful when we live not within the total confines of a community that looks like us, prays or doesn’t pray like us, walks or is unable to walk like us, loves, hears, speaks exactly like us.” She suggested that research libraries can play a special role in promoting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion by convening difficult conversations around these topics.

After lunch, Chris Bourg (MIT) interviewed Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, exploring how people lead organizations through constant change. The informal exchange highlighted the role of the Media Lab in encouraging idea creation, demonstration, and risk-taking. When Bourg asked Ito what he thinks ARL’s top priority should be, he said, “I think it’s like the Berlin Wall moment right now with open access and publishers….As a collective you have the power to say it’s over. You represent the collective that can actually do the scholarship without being hostage to the commercial system. Publishers will have to restructure.”

The final program session of the meeting was an Unconference that offered concurrent discussions of the following topics identified and led by meeting participants:

During the second ARL Business Meeting, on Wednesday afternoon, the ARL membership ratified the Board’s election of Diane Parr Walker (Notre Dame) as ARL treasurer. When the Association Meeting adjourned on Wednesday afternoon, Mary Ann Mavrinac handed the gavel to Susan Gibbons (Yale), who began her one-year term as ARL president. The ARL-CNI Fall Forum, “Innovation in Research Libraries,” was held the next day, Thursday, September 27.

See also tweets shared with the #ARL18DC hashtag.