ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 2, November 1998) -

"Miles To Go…"


Paulette Feld
Technician 2
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Associates has turned a corner in its history with this issue. In August, I resigned from the Editorial Board. There were several reasons, including my serving as President of the ALA Support Staff Interests Roundtable, and my desire to give that my greater attention at this point in time. I also thought it would be a good time for someone else in the Library Support Staff community to have the opportunity to get involved in this adventure that became "Associates" 5 short years ago.

I remember, sitting at my old IBM XT "talking" to the rest of the folks who volunteered to be part of something, we weren't quite sure what. It was a snowy, winter day and we were putting together our ideas for what would become Associates. What would we include, what did we want to accomplish, would anyone read this once we put it out? We all got our answer when we heard from Kendall that she was inundated by over 2000 subscribers! I can still feel the foam of that virtual beer we shared going down! And now, Associates is over five years old, and obviously we have been providing our subscribers with something worthwhile.

Five "short" years ago….a lot has happened in that time period. In my position here at UW Oshkosh, I have added work at the Reference Desk in addition to my work with the libraries computer system. We work with fewer and fewer CD-ROM products and more and more web based products. Five years ago, we were just starting to "relax" after implementation of our NOTIS system…now, we're getting ready for the next one. In those five years, I've had the wonderful opportunity, thanks to many of you, to meet support staff around the country, either virtually, or attending conferences.

As a group, Library Support Staff have made great strides in becoming recognized as a valuable and professional part of every library. We've celebrated Support Staff Day in many libraries. In the United States, almost every state has a support staff group, offering growth opportunities through workshops and conferences, and just plan old fashioned networking. We have two excellent publications to help us communicate as well as LIBSUP-L. We have accomplished a lot, as individuals and a group. But, like Robert Frost wrote, we have "miles to go before I sleep".

What about the next five years? There are many things I hope will happen for Library Support Staff. As I write this, a group of SSIRT members are embarking on a mission. That mission is in the form of three task forces charged to look at the top issue identified in the survey completed by many of us in 1997. The three areas are, Access to Continuing Education, Formation of Career Ladders and Compensation levels to match our level of responsibilty. The Task Forces will identify the issue more fully, and make recommendations to the SSIRT Board on projects that we can take on to address and possibly solve some of these issues. This is indeed an important start. Other projects that SSIRT continues work on is a web page and a list serve for leadership of the state organizations. There is also SSIRT's ongoing mission to keep Support Staff issues alive within the world of ALA.

When it comes to keeping Support Staff issues a part of the discussion, we all have to continue to include this on our agendas, at work, in our local and state library associations and with our political leaders. With all this work ahead of us, it is good to know that Associates will be there, helping us communicate our successes and plan for our future.

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