ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 1, July 1998) -


June 24-27, 1998
Washington, DC

Notes on the annual conference


Joyce Nielsen
COLT Public Relations Chair

We wish that every reader of ASSOCIATES had the opportunity to attend the 1998 Council on Library/Media Technicians (COLT) Annual Conference in Washington, DC, June 24-27. But since that did not happen, I'd like to give you one member's overview of the Conference and its programs. The theme of this year's conference was "Support Staff Building for the Future." More complete reports of the programs are presented in the COLT homepage: [This link no longer works, 11/19/2004].

During the day on Wednesday, June 24, the Executive Board met and included the recently elected new members of the Board in the discussions. That evening conference goers enjoyed a pre-conference reception at the Washington Marriott, the conference hotel. This was a great time to meet people from all kinds of libraries.

Thursday morning, Ann Symons, the new president of the American Library Association, gave the keynote speech, "Assuring Rights-Enriching Lives." Much of her talk centered on current concerns about Internet access policies in our libraries, particularly by minor children. The local political decisions on filtering access are very difficult choices for any library. Symons suggests that the ALA position takes the high road of the first amendment: ALA supports content-neutral library rules concerning the time, place, and manner of Internet access. She concluded her talk by asking three members of the audience to respond. Barry Harvey, Gene Kinnaly, and Linda Owen gave their personal reactions. All stressed the need for strong personal values that parents must pass on to their children.

For the rest of the morning, conferees were able to choose from a variety of interesting topics. Two librarians with support staff backgrounds, Scottie Cochrane and Starr Smith, discussed "The Changing Roles of Professional and Paraprofessional Librarians." Human Resource Specialist, Bryan Rawlings, helped improve job interviewing skills with his presentation "Behavioral Interviewing." A panel of COLT members led a lively discussion, "Cultural Diversity in the Library Workplace."

Thursday afternoon program included these presentations. Elizabeth Brown and Barbara Tillett, both from the Library of Congress, presented information about the National Digital Library and on the Library of Congress' new Integrated Library System. Linda Davis, Head of Cataloging at the Georgetown University Law Library, discussed "Cataloging: the Emergence of Paraprofessional in the New Millennium." Deborah Smith-Cohen encouraged everyone to "Help Management Make the Most of Your Internet Reference Training."

The last programs of the day also presented wide choices. Marda Johnson from OCLC talked about "Two OCLC Initiatives for Cataloging and Resource Sharing." Dorothy Morgan who has worked on both state and national certification programs for library support staff lead a "Dialog on Certification." Linda Owen and Cynthia Rollerson from University of California at Riverside showed slides and described their 1997 trip to Australia where they presented papers at the National Library Technicians Conference.

Friday morning began with Kent Slade, president of COLT, presiding over the General Membership and Business Meeting. In addition to the usual reports from members of the Executive Board, the meeting included several special presentations. ALA Spectrum Initiative representatives announced their $5000 scholarships for under-represented minority members who are accepted to graduate library school programs. They urge library support staff to visit their website to print an application:

Slade announced the affiliation of COLT and our sister organization from Canada, Ontario Association of Library Technicians/Association des Bibliotechniciens de l'Ontario. Pam Casey, vice-president of OALT/ABO, responded on behalf of her organization.

Slade also introduced another international visitor, Marian Boyd, from the National Library Technicians of Australia. Boyd met three COLT members when they presented papers at the 1997 Conference in Australia. She and Linda Owen, leader of the COLT Australian tour, invited everyone to consider attending the next Conference near Perth in September, 1999.

The morning presentations included "Harmony in the Workplace" by Frank Howe of Longwood College, "TB: Catch It-Team Building in Today's Library" by Meralyn Meadows of Stanly County (NC) Public Library, and "Special Clients=Special Libraries" by Linda Owen and Cynthia Rollerson of University of California in Riverside.

Following lunch the program choices were also varied. Kitty Boyd of TeleSec, where she trains and recruits library personnel, talked about "Tools for Developing Your Career." Ramona Johnson and Yvonne Davis, both long time Library of Congress employees and members of Toastmasters International, talked about "Getting Over the Fear of Public Speaking: A Toastmaster's View." Martin Kalfatovic and Suzanne Pilsk of Smithsonian Institution Libraries talked about how their Libraries are "Serving the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge." The afternoon ended with regional and committee meetings for COLT members.

Friday evening was the Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony. Raymond Roney of El Camino and publisher and founder of Library Mosaics gave the banquet speech, "You Can Make It Happen." Out-going President Kent Slade welcomed our international visitors, recognized his Executive Board members, and presented our new President Diane Welch, the conference chair, to the members.

The big awards of the evening were, of course, for the 1999 "Outstanding Support Staff" and the "Outstanding Supporter of Support Staff." Linda Owen, library assistant in cataloging at University of California at Riverside, out-going Immediate Past President of COLT, and COLT Webmaster, accepted the "Outstanding Support Staff" award. Annamarie Erickson, now Sales Manager for Ameritec Library Systems, out-going COLT Education Chair, and new COLT Central Regional Director, accepted the "Outstanding Supporter of Support Staff."

The conference was more than just the presentations listed in the official program. Many members bought special blue T-shirts with the conference title and the capitol dome. Donuts and coffee were breakfast both mornings. The lunches were also very good, though many members were a bit puzzled by the steamed radishes garnishing their plates Thursday noon. The banquet buffet was especially delicious with a wide selection of Chesapeake Bay specialties. Two dozen of the conference goers enjoyed the dinner cruise Thursday night which combined a nice meal with a cruise up and down the Potomac as the lights came on in DC. Others made their own plans for meals and seeing the many sights in the capitol city. On Saturday an interested group followed our special guide through the recently restored Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Many spent time on Saturday or Sunday exploring the ALA exhibits in the Washington Convention Center where COLT information was a major feature of the ALA affiliates' booth.

Start making plans now for the 1999 COLT Conference! It will be in Detroit, MI, April 7-10, right after Easter. Just across the river is Windsor, Ontario, so you can plan on some international shopping time. The Association of College and Research Libraries will be meeting at about the same time; you'll be able to see their exhibits. Registration will be $125 for COLT members. Rooms in the Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain will be $105 for doubles, $115 for triples or quads. Contact Barry Harvey:

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