ARL executive director Elliott Shore has embarked on a “listening tour” of ARL member libraries. This is the first in a series of informal reports from his visits.
When I was appointed the new executive director, I began visiting ARL libraries in order to learn more about the issues that interest member representatives, to talk with the library staff, and to see the libraries and collections that make up the membership of ARL.
But my listening tour actually started earlier, in a more informal way, with chats with member representatives at the October Membership Meeting, or when I was at a conference in a city with an ARL library, or at meetings at foundations that support our libraries. In the intervening months between the announcement of my appointment and January, I made a number of trips to the ARL offices in Washington, and tried to learn as much as I could from the staff.
In January, my tour started more formally, while I was in Los Angeles to work as an instructor with the CLIR/DLF digital curation fellows at their annual meeting at UCLA. There I met with the directors and some of the staff of the six Southern California ARL libraries: the University of Southern California, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara. The chair of the UC Libraries group also joined us—from UC Santa Cruz.
I have scheduled upcoming visits with ARL libraries in Boston, in Kansas, in Kentucky and Tennessee at the time of the spring ASERL Membership Meeting, and in Texas while I’m there for the spring CNI Membership Meeting. I’m in the early stages of working out details for visits to the Chicago area and New York State and some of the Canadian libraries, initially focusing on Ontario. And I’m scheduling meetings with DC–area libraries: two have already been scheduled with the National Archives and Records Administration and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
I look forward to getting to know all 125 member libraries and their directors and staff. I am also hopeful that, by our spring meeting, I’ll have made a strong beginning towards that goal.