President’s Column May 2022
As I was writing this message, I was horrified and deeply saddened by the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and the loss of innocent lives. My heart goes out to the parents, families, teachers, and friends who are left to process this grief for years to come. May they find solace. I continue my message below.
Greetings from Boston! The semester here ended last week for me, along with grading, end of semester meetings, and commencement activities. With a very brief perceived lull, it’s back to a long list of ToDos. Since the ToDos never end, I find moments to experience and capture nature, which seems overwhelmingly beautiful here since the start of spring leading into summer and higher temperatures. I have shared some pictures at the end of this message. I hope you’re taking time and space for self-care and to experience yourself and your emotions fully. That energises us to take care of the things that we need to, and to be in a state of ‘flow’ more often. When tasks becomes meditative, they don’t remain tasks. This summer, I hope to write to many of you individually, and perhaps, get to speak with or meet some of you. Thank you for attending the “Conversations with the ASIS&T Board” that we held at the end of March. The Board will be meeting again on June 6.
I wish to congratulate the 42 newly inducted ASIS&T Distinguished Members. This signature program recognizes members with a demonstrated commitment to mastering your profession through sustained educational pursuits and a proven track record of service to both your community and the information science and technology field. In many ways, you have shown why people choose to become long-term members, and why ASIS&T is an ideal place for new members to find their home.
I’m sure many new members will grow to be distinguished members in the years to come. We’re looking for volunteers so it’s a great time to think of ways to get engaged with ASIS&T during the coming year. You should have received an email on May 23 with the subject, “Call for Volunteers: ASIS&T Committees, Juries, SIGs & Chapters”. You can express your interest here until June 30, or email Lydia or any of the ASIS&T staff with your questions.
Thank you for making the first 24-hour Global Conference a success. With eight hours of programming each from the time-zones and regions of North/South America, Asia/Pacific, and Europe/Africa at the end of April, the conference showed the power of ASIS&T as an organization – how what we bring to the table locally can come together to create something that is collective and global. I would like to thank all attendees, the organizing committee, and the ASIS&T staff, who all put in a tremendous amount of work. A 24-hour conference was exciting but also tiring, especially for the ASIS&T staff and those attending all or most sessions. The committee met to debrief after the conference and gathered feedback from attendees. Some of the recommendations for the future include having a longer planning cycle of about a year, considering the meeting as a virtual mid-year meeting for those who are unable to make it to the annual meeting in person, and spreading the conference over a week and presented in four-hour blocks covering different time zones instead of a continuous 24-hour presentation.
I am excited about the upcoming Annual Meeting in October, which will be an in-person meeting in Pittsburgh. Thank you for your submissions and for the hard work of the organizing committee. Earlier this week, you all should have received decisions on your submissions of papers and proposals for workshops, panels, and alternative events. You still have time to submit posters which has a deadline of June 8. Doctoral students can submit proposals for the doctoral colloquium by June 15. More information is on the conference website, where you can also register for the conference.
As you know, for the first time, this year’s Annual Meeting is co-located with the ALISE Annual Meeting, which will be held prior to our annual meeting at the same venue. In between the two meetings will be the Information Science Summit, that is being co-organized by the iFederation, consisting of three associations, ASIS&T, ALISE, and iSchools. The Summit will be free for in-person attendees.
Earlier this month, we had a meeting of iFederation leaders, where I met with iSchools Chair Sanda Erdelez and ALISE President Lisa O’Connor. We talked about the commonalities and differences in the three associations, and came up with a plan of regular meetings during the year to streamline collaboration and to identify additional mechanisms for collaborating, including joint events like the Information Science Summit and joint panels at each other’s conferences.
Last week, I also participated in a panel of LIS Association Presidents, along with Barbara Lison, President of IFLA, Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada, President-elect of ALA, and Maria McCauley, President-elect of the Public Library Association as part of the International Conference on Design and Development of Public Library Services held at Shiraz, Iran. ASIS&T was one of the sponsors for the conference. Moderated by ASIS&T member Leili Seifi, we discussed the future of public libraries in a post-COVID world at the panel. This included the impact of COVID, ways to engage the community and to serve underserved populations, the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, focusing on user experience and universal design, and advocating for fighting disinformation and fake news. Many of these topics are also reflected in the theme of the ASIS&T Annual Meeting this year.
In our efforts towards making ASIS&T more international, we have been seeking volunteers to translate the About ASIS&T page to languages other than English. We have received translations in Bengali, Dhivehi, German, Hawaiian, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Nepali, Sinhala, Spanish, and Urdu. Some more translations are on the way. To volunteer to translate this page in the languages you speak, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org You might need 2-4 hours to do the translation. We are especially looking for translators for French, Russian, Portuguese, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Tibetan, Bhutanese, Pashto, along with any other languages. You will make an important contribution towards deepening the international character of ASIS&T, and also receive a certificate from ASIS&T.
The mentorship task force met earlier this month. Thank you for filling out the survey where you expressed support for a mentorship program, which is also part of our Strategic Plan. We already have various forms of mentorship such as the New Leaders Program, Doctoral Colloquium, the mentoring initiative of the Africa chapter, and the early-career mentorship proposal by the Professional Development Committee. A mentor-mentee relationship puts you in touch with people who help you succeed. The mentorship task-force discussed ways to make the program both feasible and effective, and ways to match members.
If you have not yet signed up for the ASIS&T consulting service but are interested, you can register here. Do take care, and feel free to email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, Lydia at email@example.com, or connect with any of the Board members or SIG/Chapter/Committee Chairs to let us know how we can help you.
Nature’s blessings in my neighborhood and around in Massachusetts, April-May, 2022
With Jossel Franco at the Simmons University Commencement, Boston, May 20, 2022. Jossel actively contributed to the ASIS&T Simmons Student Chapter in 2020-2021 and participated in activities of the ASIS&T Northeast Chapter. In a reflection of our hybrid worlds, she did her Masters in Library and Information Science completely online and traveled from California to Boston for the first time for her graduation.