21:suppl (2006:summer) New Task Force Report: LSOTF

June 30, 2006 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Library School Outreach | Leave a comment

Sarah Sutton, Chair 

Committee members:  Linda Griffin (Louisiana State University, NASIG Membership Development Committee representative), Paoshan Yue (University of Nevada, Reno, NASIG Continuing Education Committee representative) and Kim Maxwell (Board Liaison). 

The Task Force formed in late February, 2006, made up of representatives from the Awards & Recognition, Continuing Education, and Membership Development committees.  A chair was selected (Sarah Sutton from A&R) in early March and the Task Force met by conference call on March 14, 2006 to begin work.  Items of discussion included: the role of Library School Outreach Ambassadors, the role of the publicist, and selection and oversight of the Ambassadors.  The Task Force agreed to seek the input of NASIG member library school faculty. NASIG member library school faculty input was solicited via email and Task Force Members each began drafting a section of the initial recommendations  To date, of ten NASIG member library school faculty contacted, three responses have been received, although a follow up, reminder email has just been recently sent (4/23/06). 

The Task Force held another meeting via phone on April 20, 2006 at which it was decided to send a reminder email to NASIG member library school faculty who had expressed interest in providing feedback to the Task Force.  Drafted sections of the report of initial recommendations were also revised and are included below. 

The Library School Outreach Task Force envisions the formation of a corps of NASIG member volunteers to act as Ambassadors to ALA accredited library schools across North America.  Each library school would be assigned a NASIG Library School Ambassador who would be charged with creating and maintaining a relationship with the faculty, students, and staff of that library school to the mutual benefit of both NASIG and the school. 

Ambassadors have a simple task: to share their pride in being a NASIG member. An ambassador will: 

  • Establish and maintain a strong relationship with his/her assigned library school by:
    • Fostering a collaborative relationship with a contact person at that school  (making contact once a month, receiving, supplementing, and reinforcing “official” NASIG communications from the Publicist (we recommend that Ambassadors be cc’d on the Publicist’s external communication that goes to library schools so that they know what is communicated to their contact persons at the library schools.)
    • Subscribing to appropriate discussion list(s) of the assigned school and participating in the discussion as appropriate, serving as a resource person for the serials profession and NASIG. 
  • Familiarize him or herself with the resources and services that NASIG has to offer as well as the interests and continuing education program of the library school in order to identify opportunities that would benefit both parties by:
    • Identifying and/or creating opportunities for on-site presentations about serials librarianship and NASIG, and, possibly, conducting these session(s).
    • Identifying and/or creating opportunities for other NASIG guest speakers to talk about current issues in serials librarianship, either in regular class settings or as part of the school’s continuing education program.
    • Promoting NASIG-CEC sponsored programs in the area where the school is located.
    • Promoting NASIG student awards.
    • Promoting NASIG membership among library school students, faculty, and staff.
  • Submit an ambassador activity report (to an oversight and administration committee) at the end of each school semester.      

The Library School Outreach Ambassadors would be administered by a standing, Board-appointed committee comprised of eight (8) members and a Board Liaison.  The membership should include one (1) member from each of the following groups – Awards and Recognition, Continuing Education, Membership Development, and PPRC. Committee members will serve staggered 2 and 3 year appointments upon the creation of the committee and then one half of the committee will rotate off each year after that as new members are appointed.  The chair would serve a 2 year appointment, the first year as junior co-chair under a senior and the second year as senior co-chair as the preceding senior co-chair rotates out of the position.  It will be very important for the Publicist to interact with this committee but the Task Force has not come to a consensus on his or her exact role. (We hope to continue a discussion of this issue with both the Board and the Publicist as one of our objectives for the upcoming year.) 

Committee members will be responsible for oversight of Ambassadors including:

  • selecting Ambassadors from a pool of Ambassador applicants.
  • providing an annual orientation for Ambassadors.
  • maintaining bundles of pre-packaged information about NASIG for the Ambassador’s use.  (The Task Force is discussing the possibility of creating pamphlets, flyers, and/or web pages that would include information about NASIG specifically geared toward library school faculty and students from among which Ambassadors would choose materials appropriate to their schools).
  • requesting and reviewing Ambassadors’ annual reports of their activities. 

Each committee member will be responsible for overseeing the activities of seven (7) schools. 


The benefits to NASIG are clearly described in the Task Force’s charge: 

  • increased recognition and visibility for the organization
  • extended marketing for NASIG awards
  • enhanced opportunity for recruiting members
  • additional opportunities for continuing education in partnership with library schools.

In order for the program to be successful, it will be necessary to create a program from which both NASIG and the library schools with which we hope to partner can reap benefits.  The benefits to the library school are equally important as the benefits to NASIG.  They include: 

  • additional opportunities for continuing education in partnership with NASIG for NASIG members, library school faculty, staff, and students as well as for members of the library community in which the library school is located
  • the potential to provide serialists with field experience as guest speakers in library school classes
  • an expanded network for student practical experiences in serials related work

We see a potential conflict between the enthusiasm with which we expect Ambassadors to embrace their assignments and the Board/Publicist’s valid concern over maintaining NASIG’s positive public image.  Traditionally, it is the role of the publicist to funnel information about NASIG to the public.  In order to accomplish the goals of this program, some of that control may need to be transferred to the Ambassadors (NASIG representatives to library schools).  We suggest several means of maintaining control of the quality of NASIG’s public image while allowing Ambassadors to create meaningful, personal relationships with their library school’s students and faculty:

  • including the Publicist as a full member or, perhaps a consultant to the Administrative Committee (we have not yet fully defined the role of the Publicist but hope to do so as one of our objectives for next year)
  • creating and maintaining bundles of pre-packaged information about NASIG (as described above in #2) for the Ambassador’s use
  • initiating an orientation/training program for new Ambassadors
  • implementing a formal, rigorous application process for members who wish to serve as Ambassadors


We request that the Board respond to the Task Force’s recommendations with a decision about allowing the continuation of the Task Force and make suggestions about how we can improve and elaborate on the ideas we’ve presented here. 


The preceding Overview of the Ambassadors Program represents the Task Forces’ preliminary thoughts and recommendations.   We are certain that the Board recognizes that this task is a big one and that it will take additional work by the Task Force to refine and provide more detail.   The Task Force realizes that the current report creates more questions than it answers.  With this in mind, we recommend that the Task Force be reappointed for 2006-2007 in order to accomplish the following tasks:

  • continue the discussion that we’ve started with NASIG member library school faculty and incorporate their responses into our planning
  • discuss further with the NASIG Publicist what his/her role would be
  • develop in more detail the logistics of how an 8 member committee should supervise the efforts of 54 volunteers including
    • collecting evidence that we would be able to recruit enough volunteers
    • a more detailed examination of the logistics of orienting 54 volunteers
  • further refine our ideas based on input from the Board into a more detailed plan for the program

We would like to request that Kim Maxwell remain our Board Liaison because she is one of the creators of the concept of a Library School Outreach program, because of the background (context) that she has from participating in Task Force discussions, and because of the tremendous guidance that she has provide for us so far. 

We would like to request that Steve Oberg be appointed as an additional member of the Task Force.  We feel that Steve’s experiences as a serials vendor, as a library school faculty member, and as a past president of NASIG would be invaluable to the Task Force as it develops the Ambassadors program. 

Finally, we would like to request that Mary Page be appointed as an additional member of the Task Force.  In her role as current Publicist and Past President, she will no doubt have a great deal to offer the, particularly in terms of the continuing discussion of the Publicists’ role in the program.


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