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Thanks to all of you for your good wishes as I chaired my first meeting as ASERL President on Nov. 19-20. It went really well. I arrived last Monday night as the city of Charlotte was getting ready for its first Monday Night Football in many years. The hotel was two blocks from the stadium and it was really crazy! The Panthers even managed to beat my boy Brady and the Patriots, so there was lots of excitement for the librarians gathering there.

Tuesday morning was an early Board meeting so we could get out in time to tour the UNC-Charlotte library. In nine years of living in North Carolina, I have never managed to get down there. They have lots of creative ideas for new spaces, same as we do, so it will bear watching. The meeting proper began with a discussion of Strategic Planning and Budget considerations, all of which were livened up by Hu Womack’s expert use of clickers. Thank you, Hu! The first program segment was a live webcast of the “Analysis of Oral Arguments in GSU e-Reserves Appeal,” which Molly’s sources say did not go so well for the good guys. We will see.

The panel I organized for the afternoon was “Financial Outlook for Higher Education and Impact for Research Libraries.” Invited speakers were Matthew Pellish from the Education Advisory Board (of which WFU is a member) and Jim Dunn, Wake’s Chief Investment Officer. They spoke about the industry’s negative outlook on financial stability for the higher education sector, both its causes and what might be done about it, followed by a very lively and thoughtful Q&A session. The member reception in the evening was a the Levine Museum of the New South, which was a real treat.

On Wednesday morning, the main program was a rather unusual topic planned by Executive Director John Burger, “The Impacts of New Retail Technologies and Services on Library Users.” Laura Van Tine, Global Business Advisor at IBM, and Brian Matthews, Associate Dean at Virginia Tech spoke about the similarities that the library and retail industries face. The dilemma of digital vs bricks & mortar presence, privacy vs personalization, co-creation, analytics, showrooming, and responsive design are all issues faced by both groups.

We got lots of good feedback for the meeting and programs, so onward to the Spring meeting in Tampa, April 23-24!