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Hot topics: demand-driven acquisitions -is selection dead?; deselection tool being developed; future of Midwinter conference; “reshaping” ALCTS. The last two topics occupied the majority of my time since this is my year as Chair of ALCTS Acquisitions Section, which makes me a member of the ALCTS Board and requires participation in several long, but interesting, meetings.

Excitement about demand-driven acquisitions (DDA) of e-books is prompting the question of whether or not librarians are needed to make selections. See the Library Journal write up for more details, but briefly, Rick Anderson expressed again that he’s spending his library’s dollars on meeting the needs of the students and faculty according to their choices rather than spending money on librarians’ best guesses when funds are limited. Big budget news broke before I left — California is facing a cut of one billion dollars in higher education spending. In one presentation I saw statistics that showed more dollars are spent on prisons than education in California already.

Regarding deselection, a pre-conference by R2 at Charleston in 2008, (see my post) was the genesis of their idea to develop a tool to streamline a deselection process. At Midwinter I attended a focus group to give R2 feedback on this tool as it is being developed. The idea is to create a record set (viewable as a list) of print copies of books that are low-use within the local library, and then confirm that those items are available in another trusted repository (HathiTrust, for example), thereby giving the library the info to decide about weeding or storage. R2 is ready to sign up a few customers to do some projects and refine their tool, so I will be talking with Lynn about whether this is something that could be useful to us or if it is something that could be done in-house when the need arises.

I heard many expressions of disappointment in the white paper on the future of Midwinter particularly since there was no financial data in it. When Camila Alire, Past President of ALA, visited with the ALCTS Board and asked for feedback, I asked Ms. Alire for a white paper on Annual, since perhaps all the “vibrancy” of Midwinter is indicative of a lack thereof at Annual. The ALA white paper does indicate that there is no requirement by ALA to attend Midwinter (p.7), and the ALCTS bylaws do not require it, although the expectation is there at the Chair/Board level in ALCTS. At the committee level within sections, several groups throughout the ALCTS Division have made the shift to conduct all work without any face-to-face meetings, so the ALCTS Board brainstormed some ways for leaders to only need to attend Annual. The topic will be explored more. The ALCTS Board also discussed whether or not to restructure (or reshape) the organization based on the report of the task force that analyzed results of an earlier survey to the membership, but no conclusion has been reached yet. The continuation of strategic planning, which the Board and relative committees will engage in via email in the next month, may better inform a decision.

I did manage to squeeze in two chats with vendors: I talked with representative Linda Russo at Latin American Book Store about reviewing our firm ordering history for both Spanish Peninsula titles and Latin American Literature for the past year to see if she can identify a pattern for creating a small auto-shipment plan. Our Spanish faculty and I keep hoping to do this, if we can define narrow enough parameters to stay in budget and still have money for some one-by-one selection. I also talked with EBL about our interest in print-on-demand (POD) and how I’d like to be able to do POD with with our EBL purchases if we should get the equipment at WFU. (Keep your fingers crossed for funding!) David Swords of EBL explained that EBL is interested, but cautioned me that it will take time (more than I’d like) because it requires agreements with publishers.