22:4 (2007:12) President’s Corner

December 4, 2007 at 4:01 pm | Posted in President's Corner | Leave a comment
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Char Simser, NASIG President

It’s November as I’m writing this column. Fall. Changing seasons. The leaves are turning shades of red, orange, gold, and brown and are starting to fall. My neighbors are outside raking. Temperatures are dropping and I’m thinking back just a few weeks when the board met in Phoenix, Arizona. 99 degrees. (It was a dry heat.) The board enjoyed two very productive days in our meetings and during breaks stepped outside to enjoy the sun and gorgeous scenery at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs resort where we will hold our annual conference next June.

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs

Mountain view at Tapatio Cliffs

It may be difficult to think about a meeting that is still months away, but Conference Planning and Program Planning committee members are hard at work to make NASIG’s 23rd annual conference a memorable one for you. Other NASIG committees are working equally as hard as the board read in their fall updates and reviewed on day one. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, some which is visible – the call for nominations, for membership renewals, and awards announcements – and some that takes place on committee lists and web space such as revisions to the membership brochure, setting up library school ambassadors, updating the Speakers and Consultants Directory, and so much more. Our committees don’t toot their own horns publicly often enough! Kudos to them all for the accomplishments that keep NASIG running.

Day two of the board meeting was spent on strategic planning. Under consultant Betty Kjellberg’s guidance, the board determined that our 2003 plan had not been placed on a shelf and ignored. We reviewed the six goals of the plan, identified our accomplishments, and asked which goals were still relevant. We have made great progress, including securing your support for the dues increase approved in spring 2005 in order to put NASIG on a more secure financial footing. Now it’s time to look at next steps, which we laid out by fine-tuning goals under five strategic directions and setting reachable short-term objectives. That documentation will be available on the NASIG website by early January.

Peter Whiting

NASIG treasurer Peter Whiting at the strategic planning session.

One of the short terms objectives the board identified is to expand venues for member networking. Networking at the annual conference has always been recognized as one of NASIG’s greatest strengths. Networking builds relationships, provides continuing education, fosters understanding, creates friendships, and allows for dialogue among our diverse constituencies. Over the coming year, we will find ways to provide networking opportunities through the Newsletter and through discussion forums. We will promote the benefits of networking not only to you, our members, but will purposefully reach out to under-represented segments of the serials community. Publicizing these opportunities may help increase our membership numbers, which remains a priority for us.

NASIG’s Membership Development Committee (MDC) charge includes identifying strategies to grow our membership across all our constituencies. This year, the board asked MDC to investigate institutional memberships. The committee’s recommendation, which is supported by the board, aptly stated, “Institutions that are asked to invest in a professional organization often take that organization more seriously, and are likely to send at least one person to attend an annual conference.” The board asks for your support in the creation of an institutional membership category because it strengthens our stance as a major player in the serials information community. It increases our stature in the profession as institutions recognize the benefits of increased participation through NASIG conference attendance – always touted as “the best” for those in the serials information chain – and other venues.

The board has asked the Bylaws Committee to provide language incorporating an institutional membership category in the NASIG Bylaws so the issue may be brought forward for a vote in the spring. This is an extremely important issue for NASIG. Please vote when you get that ballot. A “yea” will go a long way to provide a strong NASIG that will lead to increased benefits for the entire membership. (Have you renewed your membership yet?) To vote in next year’s election – for bylaws changes and to elect board members, you must renew as soon as possible to avoid deactivation! (Hmm… sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie!)

While I’m on the topic of voting, there is an excellent chance NASIG will move to online voting with our next election! I am thrilled to announce that approximately a year after the board began work on a technology RFP, NASIG signed a new technology contract in late October with ArcStone Information Services. A recommendation from Lisa Blackwell, chair of Database & Directory, sums up very nicely why the board supported engaging ArcStone:

“It sounded to me that they are already in the process of examining new technologies (like RSS and blogs) and fully intend to incorporate them. This speaks well of their ability to proactively incorporate new things and not just respond to client inquiries reactively.”

NASIG members will see the benefits of our new association management system and website redesign within the next few months. This is a huge and ambitious undertaking for an all volunteer crew! I have appointed Donnice Cochenour as project manager to coordinate the implementation. Donnice will serve as liaison to our ArcStone project manager and oversee the activities of numerous NASIG committees. They are already in the midst of migrating our existing membership database. This is the first step toward providing a more simplified and integrated approach to managing the business of NASIG.

I personally want to thank everyone who has been involved over the past year: past president Mary Page, who pulled together the RFP with feedback from 2006/07 board members; Gary Coker, Buddy Pennington, and Bob Persing, the task force who reviewed the first proposals and made recommendations to proceed with a trial of one company; the individuals who reviewed additional proposals received during the summer, participated in web demos, and provided recommendations: Abigail Bordeaux, Dalene Hawthorne, Jonathan Makepeace, Tonia Graves, and Beth Ashmore (Electronic Communications), Lisa Blackwell and Bob Persing (Database & Directory), Gail Julian (Nominations & Elections), Cory Tucker and Mary Bailey (Conference Planning), Sarah Wessel and Erika Ripley (Program Planning), Newsletter editor Kathryn Wesley, and board members Anna Creech, Peter Whiting, Denise Novak, and Jill Emery. (I know I have left someone out so please chime in on the blog comments if I haven’t recognized you for this valuable and critical task!)

We have a busy few months ahead. In addition to the “normal” activities that occur prior to the conference, we have a few other initiatives to get underway. I am seeking input from the board in the coming weeks with the intent of naming members to the Financial Development Committee, a group that will guide our investing toward a financially secure NASIG. Later in the winter, I’ll appoint an Administrative Support Task Force to identify responsibilities for NASIG’s first hired staff position. Site selection for 2009 and beyond is an ongoing process.

Like everything around us, NASIG is changing. Our founding principles remain a strong beacon. To sustain the momentum of the last 22 years, we need to continually review, refresh, and reinvent ourselves. Change is constant. Change can be disruptive. Change is good. Let’s embrace it, be patient with it, and explore ways to make NASIG a “10” in our 2.0 world.


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