I was intrigued by the recent ACRLog post wondering why there are separate CLS and ULS sections within ACRL, and it got me thinking. How do we explain who we are as a section? What is unique about ULS? How do we convey what we have to offer and interest librarians new to the profession and/or new to ACRL?
There is a misconception that ULS is a section for library administrators, but did you know that many of the people who are members of or chair committees in ULS are not administrators, but are middle management and frontline librarians? In fact, the current Past-Chair, Chair, and I (Vice-Chair, Chair-elect) are not library administrators. I became involved in ULS years ago because my mentor was active in the section, but had I not had that connection, I’m not sure that I would have thought to become involved in the work of this particular section. I hear from many of my new colleagues that they want to be involved in sections, divisions, and organizations that directly pertain to their jobs. For some of them, this is a requirement for travel funding for conferences. They don’t immediately see a place where they “fit in” with ULS, or one where they feel that they can make a significant contribution. How do we change this, whether it’s merely a perception or whether it’s truth?
ULS is a large section with many members who have diverse interests, but what is our common thread? Yes, most of us work for universities, but what else? As I begin to plan for my tenure as Chair of ULS, I’d like to hear your thoughts about the section, what we should be focusing on, who we are, and what we’re about.