Last week I was able to spend several days in beautiful Miami for the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries fall meeting. The city is still recovering from hurricane damage, although things looked surprising good with most services in place. While I still consider myself a “new dean,” I co-hosted a dinner for new deans to help orient them to ASERL as part of the meeting. ASERL is seeing significant transition with 50% of the deans and directors for its member libraries having been appointed in the last three years. The transition has been similar for the Association of Research Libraries.
This was also my first meeting after being appointed to ASERL Board and I was able to help some with the planning of the meeting. While you can see the full agenda here, I will highlight two sessions that I found especially useful.
On the first full day of the meeting, Joan Lippincott of CNI gave a mini workshop on digital scholarship (digital scholarship for dummies, i.e., deans). After an overview by Joan, we broke into groups to discuss the ECAR/CNI publication, “Building Capacity for Digital Humanities.” I chose to be part of the group discussing governance models. Our discussion was free-ranging and we spent a good deal of time talking about the process of deciding when to commit to a project and creating “memorandums of understanding” to manage expectations. We also talked about what role ASERL can play in supporting digital scholarship. These ideas ranged from creating regional digital scholarship centers to appointing an ASERL Visiting Program Officer for Digital Scholarship. ASERL may also sponsor webinars and workshops on digital scholarship. Based on the discussions and engagement around this topic at the meeting, I expect to see this as something ASERL will continue to explore in future meetings.
The other item I will focus on is a project I helped develop as part of an ASERL Board task force — a draft Diversity & Inclusion statement for ASERL as well as a draft charge for an ASERL Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Again we had a thoughtful discussion about the proposed statement and good support from the ASERL deans and directors for moving forward. The new committee will look at things like sharing best practices and ASERL sponsored programming around D&I. Carrie Cooper of William & Mary, Anne Moore of UNC Charlotte, and I all shared examples of things we are doing to support diversity and inclusion at our libraries. Carrie, Anne, John Burger, and I were the task force that created the draft.
I continue to find ASERL to be among the best and most productive meetings I attend. We have great regional colleagues and I find the programming highly relevant. The spring meeting will be in Knoxville, TN next May.