ASSOCIATES (2004, November, v. 11, no. 2) - associates.ucr.edu
*COLT - A Short History*
COLT, Council on Library/Media Technicians, is an international organization which has as its goal the recognition and acceptance of library support staff as full members of the library team. COLT was founded in 1967 by librarians and educators who recognized the evolving roles library support staff would be providing to libraries in the future. The organizationís focus started out and continues to be the ongoing educational needs for paraprofessionals.
A little history of COLT: By the mid-seventies COLT was well established as a national organization. In 1976, COLT became an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA) and also held its first conference. Over the next ten to fifteen years through the 1980ís, COLTís growth included establishing Regional Directors, discussing the issue of national certification for library support staff, developing a directory of library technology programs, and producing its own newspaper for members that ran until Library Mosaics was introduced in 1988. A subscription to Library Mosaics is included in the COLT membership. FYI - The upcoming conference in June 2005 to be held in Chicago will be COLTís 38th annual conference.
The 1990ís proved just as busy for COLT. The organization became incorporated, established chapters, readdressed the issue of national certification for library support staff, joined with Library Mosaics to establish the first national annual award to recognize outstanding library support staff and supporter of support staff, established an affiliation with OALT/ABO, the Ontario Association of Library Technicians, bringing us into the international venue, and created an Internet home page. COLTís Executive Board participated in the first meeting of ALAís library support staff interest Membership Initiative Group (MIG) and later with MIG worked to create a purpose statement and petition for a support staff round table status to be submitted to ALA, resulting in the formation of LSSIRT (Library Support Staff Interest Round Table). COLT was also represented in ALAís focus group SCOLE (Standing Committee on Library Education), the ALCTS (Association for Library Collections & Technical Services) Task Force on Meeting the Continuing Education Need of Library Paraprofessionals, to name a few. Many COLT members have gone on to establish local support staff organizations in their state.
Even though the organizationís name says "Library/Media Technicians", COLT is for all library support staff. In fact, an item before the Board is a name change that will identify support staff. My area of responsibility at my job is circulation, technical services (book processing and data entry), and acquisitions. Please do not ask me to do anything media or technically related. Even though a skill I have perfected when having computer problems is turning the computer off and back on. But no matter what department you work in, we are all library support staff, supporting our libraries so they can best serve their clientele.
I have worked in the library field for 18 years. During my early library years, I achieved my LTA certification. That certification and my day-to-day experience learned on the job has earned me a position as Department Head of Circulation Services at the Lemont Public Library District in Lemont, IL. To advance any further, I would need to get an MLS. I am very comfortable where I am, and proud of the job I do. I joined COLT in 1991, and being a member of COLT and getting the opportunity to meet, network, and learn with peers has been instrumental in achieving that comfort zone. A fact of life: sometimes the only validation we get comes from ourselves. COLT validates support staffís contributions to the library field. Please visit us at our home page: http://colt.ucr.edu.