ACRL

College & Research Libraries News

Association of College and Research Libraries Annual Report of the President 1978-79

It’s a real temptation to concentrate this re- port on the Boston con- ference, not only be- cause it would be much easier and more pleasurable to write (and probably more in- teresting to read)* but also because that con- ference was enormously significant in the history of ACRL. It established a precedent and a model and in a number of ways epitomized the ideals of ACRL, ideals relat- ing to both objectives and functioning. The con- ference was an unequivocal success profession- ally, socially, and financially; the dedication, energy, and creativity of those who contributed to that success were evident to all of us who ob- served the gradual shaping of the conference and who were able to enjoy its final form. To the planning committee, the local arrangements committee, and the ACRL staff, all of us should again express our gratitude. It was a magnificent job.

The success of the first conference, attested to by letters from members, reports from exhibitors, evaluation forms, and articles in professional journals, encouraged ACRL to think about another conference. At the 1979 Midwinter Meeting the board approved a motion to “sponsor a national conference every two years” and accepted an invitation from the Minnesota Chapter of ACRL to hold the next conference in Minneapolis, an invitation subsequently endorsed by the Minnesota Library Association. In May, a group of ACRL officers and members met with the ALA Executive Board, which thereupon approved another conference in the fall of 1981. The second ACRL conference, then, will be held in Minneapolis, September 30 through October 3, 1981; a planning committee headed by Virgil Massman, director of the James Jerome Hill Reference Library in Saint Paul, has already begun work.

One of the events at the conference was presentation of the first ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award, an award of $2,000 funded by Baker & Taylor. The committee, chaired by Phil McNiff, named as joint recipients two elder (but still active) statesmen of academic librarianship, Robert B. Downs and Keyes Metcalf. Their designation was an appropriately auspicious beginning for an award that will become a coveted tribute from the profession to some of its most distinguished and worthy members.

Several items relating to ACRL publications should be of general interest. First, responsibility for publishing College & Research Libraries News was transferred to the ACRL headquarters. This move eased some logistical problems in the preparation of copy; a benefit already apparent is the reduced lead time, so that job openings, for example, can appear much more quickly. Second, the search for a new editor of Choice was successfully concluded in May. There were over ninety applicants for the position, with a large number of them well qualified. After an initial screening of applications, the search committee held two rounds of interviews, the last in May; by the time this report appears in print the name of the new Choice editor should have been announced. One reason, surely, for the large number of applications is Choice's solid footing—financially, in the publishing world, and in higher education. The membership of ACRL should take pride in both our scholarly publications—the quality of College & Research Libraries has become consistently high and Choice is looked to for guidance in book selection throughout academia.

* Incidentally, there is no basis, as far as I know, to the rumor that the last twenty annual reports of ACRL presidents are being collected and published commercially.

The paragraph above mentioned the more rapid appearance of job listings in C&RL News. That development was part of a conscious effort by ACRL to give greater emphasis to placement activities. At the Boston conference, for example, the staff ran a placement service, and that will be repeated in Minneapolis. During the first six months of this year, the ACRL office was sending free to all members who wished it (for nonmembers, there was a charge of $10) a monthly listing of all job openings recently reported to the office. This development, it seems to me, is indicative of the kind of service that is so helpful, so practical, and should have been so obvious. There’s not much question that professional associations need to focus on “professional” matters—in our case, such things as standards, status, and scholarship—but we need to keep in mind that ACRL can also make just as great a contribution to its members’ welfare by attending to their more prosaic but very necessary concerns.

At its Midwinter Meeting, the board took a significant action on its structure. Last summer the Planning Committee, chaired by Eldred Smith, had recommended—after long consideration—a number of changes in the board’s composition and structure; these were then publicized in C&RL News in order to solicit reactions from the membership. Taking into account those reactions, the committee made further recommendations which were adopted. The proposed structure entails a board of eleven elected members (the three officers, six members elected at large based on nominations from the sections, one member at large based on nominations from the Chapters Council, and one member who will also serve as ACRL councilor) plus two ex officio members (the chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee and the executive secretary). This number compares with the present board of thirty-one, a somewhat unwieldy size. Not only would the reduced size mean that discussion should be more productive, but, because of the method used to elect members, I feel the group would be at least as, and probably more, representative of the membership than the present board. In any case, in approving the recommendation, the board took the first step toward its implementation. The recommendation will have to be ratified at a second board meeting and would then be submitted to the ACRL membership for final approval. It may be a bit premature—since the second board meeting has not yet taken place—but should the plan come to the membership for approval, I would urge its adoption. It seems to me that the real benefits so outweigh the potential disadvantages that there is no question about its positive impact on the future of ACRL.

In his presidential report last year, Eldred Smith wrote that the “Standards for University Libraries,” a document produced jointly by the Association of Research Libraries and ACRL, would, after having been reviewed, publicized, and revised, “come before the ACRL board for final action at next Midwinter.” It did, and was ratified by a unanimous vote. That was a significant development, one achieved only after a long period and a lot of hard work—one might even call it drudgery. Much of the credit for that accomplishment goes to Eldred as chair of the joint committee, and the association owes him a debt of gratitude.

Throughout the professional world and, indeed, the entire world of working men and women, the continuing education movement has been a rapidly growing one. Whatever the reason—an aging population, a recognition of the “mid-life crisis,” changing life-styles and attitudes toward work, a more complex society, or any combination of these—librarians have not been unaffected, and ACRL has undertaken this as a major responsibility, primarily through the Continuing Education Committee. Established only two years ago, that committee, under the vigorous and efficient leadership of Richard Werking, has been active and productive. Each issue of C&RL News now carries a regular section listing “Continuing Education Opportunities”; there are two events planned for the Dallas meeting—a one-day preconference workshop and a program meeting; and the committee has produced a survey of continuing education needs and resources from various library organizations and associations. Finally, the committee has strongly urged that ACRL establish a continuing education office within headquarters. Such an office, staffed with a part-time person, would administer and coordinate continuing education activities for ACRL—for example, at least three sections now have their own CE committees. While this proposal will be discussed by the board, my personal view is that it should be approved on a trial basis. There’s no question that planning for continuing education will be of growing concern for all libraries; because the needs of academic libraries are somewhat different from others, it seems to me ACRL should do what it can now to insure those needs are met for its members. Recognizing that responsibility by the creation of an office would be a logical and desirable first step.

Some of ACRL’s vitality might be inferred from the number of conferences it and its subdivisions are sponsoring. In addition to the Continuing Education Preconference mentioned above, the Bibliographic Instruction Section is holding a three-day preconference at Southern Methodist University, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section’s twentieth annual preconference is being held in San Antonio and Austin, and ACRL is endorsing the Fourth International Conference on Approval Plans, which is scheduled for the fall of 1979. All of these, of course, are separate from and in addition to the many programs and events to be held during the Dallas Conference.

The relationship between ACRL and its chapters is an important one, and one that is evolving. The most recent development in their evolution was the board’s approval of the Chapters Committee’s recommendation that ACRL allot chapters $1.50 “for each national personal member living within the geographic area served by the Chapter.” This, we hope, will do three things: encourage chapter members who are not ACRL members now to join ACRL; strengthen the chapters financially; and cement relationships between chapters and ACRL. The effect of this will be interesting to watch and may have real significance for the association.

During my term in office I’ve tried to appoint persons to committees who had not been involved in ACRL activities before. It had seemed to me that the same names were coming up again and again on standing and ad hoc committees. The reason for this, I suppose, is a perfectly valid one—that is, those persons had demonstrated their abilities, and if productive committees are one cornerstone of a successful organization, then there is a real temptation to keep using those committee members again and again. But an interested, informed, and involved membership is another cornerstone, and it seems to me one way of insuring that type of membership is to spread appointments widely, and especially to recruit for committees members who are younger and are from less visible institutions. I solicited the names of such individuals from a wide variety of librarians I knew and made a public appeal for volunteers. The response was gratifying, and while it’s been possible to use some of those names for appointments, there simply have not been sufficient openings, and though the situation is a little better now, there are still not enough new names on committees. Unless the committee structure is expanded greatly—a not very satisfactory solution—I don’t know how the problem can be solved, but it must be. Not only will it insure an involved membership, but we need to have different ideas and fresh, even unorthodox viewpoints. It’s too easy to become traditional and smug, and new working members will help obviate that danger. I hope succeeding officers will continue to address this problem.

As a non-Quaker working for many years in a Quaker college, I have become convinced that the Society of Friends’ approach to decisionmaking—that is, decision by consensus rather than by majority rule—is a most effective one. (At Earlham, though only about 40 percent of the faculty and administration are Quakers, many of us have been so “Quakerized.”) I’ve tried to adopt this operational stance as president of ACRL, and for the most part it has, I think, been successful. I was reminded of this recently by Ed Holley’s comments in the March 1979 Wilson Library Bulletin, where he quotes the president of the AAUP, who lists his imperatives for that organization. The first of these is “that we back off from the tendency to treat our internal decision-making as an adversary proceeding or game, in which we are satisfied, indeed gratified to win by votes rather than by persuasion.” That, as Ed pointed out, is excellent advice for any organization. There are a number of advantages to arriving at a decision by persuasion, or by consensus, but the most telling is that after a decision is made, those who may have been neutral or were negative to begin with feel much more willing to work with the decision than if they had simply been outvoted. I’m hardly prepared to act as a reformer, and certainly am not considering attempting to impose the process of consensus on ACRL’s deliberations; that would not only be foolhardy but self-contradictory. I do, though, urge that all of us keep in mind that while perspectives and perceptions on particular issues will differ, we are all working toward the same ends, ends that can be achieved more pleasantly, more satisfyingly, and perhaps even more expeditiously if we really listen to each other. I can do no better than quote from a publication of the London Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, which declares that members should come to business meetings

… not with minds already made up on a particular course of action, determined to push this through at all costs. But open minds are not empty minds, nor uncritically receptive: the service of the meeting calls for knowledge of facts, often painstakingly acquired, and the ability to estimate their relevance and importance. This demands that we shall be ready to listen to others carefully, without antagonism if they express opinions which are unpleasing to us, out trying always to discern the truth in what they have to offer.

The relationship between the president and headquarters is an interesting one. On the one hand, the president is supposed to be aware of everything that goes on in ACRL, often acts as spokesperson for the organization, and also should be thinking about ACRL’s future and making plans for that future. At the same time, the president also has another full-time position with a library, and while he or she can relinquish some responsibilities, that library must still demand much time and energy. For this reason, the president is greatly dependent on headquarters staff for information and often for advice. Some have felt the dependency is too great, but it seems to me that, without a leave from one’s regular position, that dependence is necessary. Dependence for information and advice, however, need not lead to and should not be interpreted as loss of discretion or acquiescence of principles. On the contrary, the relationship between a permanent, full-time headquarters staff and a transient, part-time president can be a positive and productive one, given mutual confidence and working rapport. That confidence and rapport have been, I think, characteristic of the relationship this past year, and I am grateful to the staff for their support, patience, and fellowship. I have come to admire their ability to work on so many things both efficiently and effectively, to keep on top of the enormous amount of detail, to maintain civility and even good humor under at times trying conditions. Julie Virgo has done a superb job of leading and coordinating the staff, of maintaining excellent relationships within ALA, and of keeping the Executive Committee and the board informed of every ACRL event and development. It’s been especially satisfying for me to see Hal Espo, a friend and former colleague, take hold as Julie’s assistant and quickly gain everyone’s confidence and respect. Jeff Schwedes has already proven himself a congenial associate and an expert editor of C&RL News, and the secretarial staff has been as patient, helpful, and pleasant as one could possibly ask.

There is one item relating to staff I would like to call to the attention of members. That is the limitations set by ALA on staff salaries. ACRL is the largest division within ALA, and thus its staff must assume greater responsibilities and manage a larger budget than the other divisions; yet the salary ranges for its positions are the same as the other divisions. To insure the continuation of a competent staff the salary schedule should be commensurate with the responsibilities of the positions. A similar situation (which became obvious to us during the search for a new editor) exists with the staff of Choice, and in my opinion all these schedules need to be looked at.

In conclusion, I want to express my appreciation to the many committees and board members who have made my responsibilities so much easier. In particular, I’m grateful to Cal Boyer for his effective guidance of the Nominating Committee and to Dick Werking for making the Continuing Education Committee a significant part of ACRL. Finally, to Eldred Smith, my predecessor, I owe much for his example, his counsel, and his friendship.

Evan Ira Farber President, ACRL

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CHOICEADVERTISING MANAGER DIES IN PLANE CRASH

Joseph G. T. de Berry, manager of advertising and production, Choice magazine, died in the crash of American Airlines flight 191 in Chicago on May 25. De Berry was on his way to Los Angeles to attend the American Booksellers Association convention.

De Berry joined Choice in 1972 with fourteen years of professional experience in book and periodical promotion and advertisement. At Choice he was responsible for a broad range of activities, including advertising sales, subscription promotion, manufacture and distribution of Choice and Reviews-on-Cards, and preparation of financial records.

Before joining the Choice staff, he had been marketing manager for the University of Pennsylvania Press; assistant director of Tompson- Malone, Inc., an affiliate of Archon Books; rights and permissions manager for the Yale University Press; and advertising and promotion assistant at G. K. Hall and Co.

De Berry is survived by his wife, Carol, and two daughters, Erica and Carolyn.

His colleagues and friends at Choice and at the American Library Association are saddened by his death and express their deep sympathy to his family. ■■

AVRAM AND KILGOUR RECEIVE ACRL ACADEMIC/RESEARCH LIBRARIAN AWARD

Henriette D. Avram and Frederick G. Kilgour are the corecipients of the 1979 ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award. ACRL and the Baker & Taylor Company presented the awards to Avram and Kilgour at the ALA Annual Conference in June at Dallas.

Henriette D. Avram

Frederick G. Kilgour

The award cited Avram for her pioneering contributions to the standardization of bibliographic records. “Her work at the Library of Congress in developing and promoting a standard format for bibliographic records in machine-readable form,” said the citation, “is one of the most significant achievements in modern librarianship.”

Avram was assistant coordinator of information services at the Library of Congress between 1965 and 1970, when the library developed and implemented the MARC Pilot Project and designed the MARC Distribution Service. From 1970 to 1976 she was chief of the MARC Development Office in the Library of Congress, and since 1976 she has been director of the Network Development Office.

The citation for Frederick G. Kilgour pointed to the revolutionary impact of the OCLC system on library operations and characterized Kilgour as “the prime mover” and “the catalyst with the vision, determination, and drive to bring the system into existence.”

Kilgour is president and executive director of OCLC, Inc., which has grown under his leadership from a consortium of Ohio libraries into a national network. He began his library career at the Harvard College Library and after military service in World War II joined Yale University first as librarian in the medical library and later as associate librarian for research and development.

The ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award was established by ACRL and the

Baker & Taylor Company to recognize individual members of the library profession who have made outstanding national or international contributions to academic and research librarianship and library development. The award consists of $2,000 and a citation.

The first ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award was presented in 1978 to Keyes D. Metcalf and Robert B. Downs. ■■

LIBRARY EXPANSION AT UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has authorized the university to proceed with the development of plans for a major addition to Bizzell Memorial Library. Renovations to the present structure are also planned. According to Sul H. Lee, director of university libraries, proposed additions will contain approximately 150,000 square feet, and will provide space for a minimum 700,000-volume stack capacity, 500 study spaces, 24 conference rooms, 52 faculty studies, and 72 graduate carrels.

The expansion is proposed in three phases, with each phase costing approximately $4 million. The search process to select an architect will begin soon. ■■

SHARP HAS SOMETHING FOR YOUR LIBRARY THAT’S LONG OVERDUE.

THE SF-810CN COPY-VENDING MACHINF.

The Sharp SF-810CN copies on any paper. You won’t have to hassle with special “bond” papers or expensive specially treated stocks. This money saving feature is a big help in these days of tight library budgets.

The SF-810CN has a stationary platen, so it’ll copy pages from books without breaking their backs.

Its dry toner system means messy liquids will never touch you or your library floor.

And speaking about your floor, this compact desk-top copier will take up very little room. And because we know how you feel about noise, we’ve made it very quiet.

As for reliability, there is an integrated microprocessor for troublefree operation. But in case something does go wrong, the SF-810CN selfdiagnostic system tells you what it is.

In fact, the SF-810CN is so reliable, you’ll probably make more money on this overdue copier than you ever could on overdue books.

For a free demonstration, or for more information, send in this cou- pon or call your authorized Sharp Copier professional. He’s listed in the Yellow Pages.

And do it soon. Your library really needs this machine in circulation.

Copyright © American Library Association

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