Exploring Opportunities and Creating Partners

September 30, 2019

September 30, 2019

Last week, I attended the 175th Association of Research Libraries Members Representatives Meeting. The Association is an organization of 124 libraries and archives in research universities, federal government agencies, and large public institutions in Canada and the US. ARL advocates on issues of concern to research libraries convene research and higher education partners, keeps us informed on current issues and is working to develop the next generation of diverse library leaders. 

In addition to the Business Meeting, sessions included an overview and celebration of the Leadership and Career Development Program, ethical issues libraries face in leveraging information technologies, and strategies for decolonizing research collections and being allies for indigenous communities. Other sessions explored ways in which critical librarianship can be practiced to advance cultural change and how systems of power and privilege get applied in our assessment practices and uses of data. I attended a committee meeting on the ARL Academy, which is a suite of professional development programs available to the ARL membership. I also serve as a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee where we heard about the American Alliance of Museum’s Facing Change initiative, and it was announced that I would be serving as Vice Chair for 2020. 

I also attended the ARL-CNI Forum where Jaron Lanier presented an overview of the sweeping changes in information technology since the development of the personal computer and challenged libraries to embrace a leadership role in policy advocacy, ethics, and privacy issues in the Julia C. Blixrud Memorial Lecture. Other sessions explored the opportunities research libraries have to partner in interconnected and ever-evolving research and learning ecosystem, the challenges that artificial intelligence and emerging forms of knowledge creation present for information professions, and the skill development needed in our library organizations and library schools to embrace the dynamics of learning, discovery and research ecosystems.

All in all, it was a vibrant meeting schedule with a wide variety of intriguing insights and challenges to improve our practice to enhance our workplaces, services, and leadership. Frances and I took this opportunity to meet with some of our libraries donors living in the DC area, and thank them for their gifts, which enable us to rise to some of these challenges.