Association of College & Research Libraries

ACRL and higher education

By JoAn S. Segal and Sharon Rogers

Since the ALA Midwinter Meeting was held in Washington, D.C., where many higher education associations have their headquarters, Sharon Rogers and JoAn Segal decided the visit might afford an opportunity to meet with leaders in those associations to establish some links between the professional association for academic librarians and the associations dealing with the academy in its other aspects. On January 11 we visited the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), the Association of American Colleges (AAC), the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the American Council on Education (ACE).

At AAHE, we had an excellent visit. The Association, like ACRL, is one of individual members. Most of the members are administrators in institutions of higher education. An important activity of this association is the National Conference on Higher Education (NCHE), which will be held this year in Chicago. AAHE seeks a broad base of membership, and offers through its National Conference the opportunity for networks of educators to meet together and to establish relationships within their own groups and between the groups. We were invited to use the National Conference as a way of improving our networking activities with others in the field of higher education.

It is possible, for example, for us to meet on an informal level, to hold committee meetings at the time and place of the conference, to exhibit, to hold a reception, or to design some kind of joint session. We decided that participation in this year’s Conference was very important for us, since the Chicago location makes it possible for us to study the meeting with an eye to how we can use it most effectively to advance the linking of librarians and other academics. As a result, we have taken an exhibit booth for Choice magazine, and both Rogers and Segal will attend the meetings, participating actively with a group of academic librarians including Beverly Lynch, Joanne Euster, Patricia Breivik, and other ACRL members, who will actively seek ways to bring the library role and presence to bear in this important national association.

Lunch with Mark Curtis of the Association of American Colleges was an equally positive experience. Curtis suggested that ACRL might be interested in an affiliate membership in AAC. In addition, he stressed that since the members of the Association are colleges there might be a good possibility for some joint grant activity dealing with libraries and their impact in four year institutions. The annual meeting of the AAC took place in Washington, February 10-13, and at that time the Association released an important report, Integrity in the Curriculum, which voiced concern about undergraduate education, the faculty role, and the need to provide an integrating experience for the undergraduate. We plan to write a reaction paper, but have not yet done so. We will follow up on the affiliate membership idea and keep joint activity in mind.

At the Chronicle of Higher Education we had the opportunity to meet with three women whose knowledge of the field of higher education and of the role of academic libraries was notable. We shared information with them about what is happening in the library world, and our conversation ranged from scholarly publications and interlibrary loan to the issues of access, legislation, and library automation. The discussion was lively and we hope will have the effect of giving the Chronicle a source of information regarding academic librar- ianship upon which they will call in the future. In fact, during the Conference there was considerable coverage by the Chronicle and we were asked to assist in the preparation of an article involving an interview with an academic librarian. (The interview with Carolyn Dusenbury appeared in the February 27 issue.)

At the American Council on Education we met with the new Research Director, Janice Petrovich, who discussed with us the opportunities for participation with ACE in its ongoing activities. The Council is an association of institutional members. In fact, the American Library Association is a member of ACE. It holds regular workshops and meetings throughout the country. We discussed the possibility of working jointly with ACE in developing workshops, and in using resources of ACE to enrich the learning experiences of academic librarians. We also identified two groups meeting in the Washington, D.C., area in the field of higher education research and have decided to make some overtures to those groups as well.

Subsequent to our meeting with Petrovich we were asked to prepare a proposal for ACRL participation in the ACE Annual Meeting in Florida in October. The theme of the meeting is Corpor- ate/Campus Cooperation. We have suggested a panel on the academic library, its potential role in providing information services to corporations, and its need for the financial support of those same corporations.

We will continue to follow up on the contacts made in Washington and will continue, under the coordination of the Professional Association Liaison Committee chaired by Joan Chambers, to make contacts with other higher education associations and to work cooperatively in bringing librarians into the mainstream of academia.

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