Letter From the Executive Director (June 2019)

Letter from the Executive Director

Bringing families together for a special event can be an exhilarating experience. While navigating the overall tensions of “the big day,” one has to be attentive to a range of family concerns, including anything from one’s mother’s demands, to the peculiarities of your uncle, to the potential political disagreements that may erupt. Meanwhile, all of the little details from the menu, to the photographer, to the design of the cake also need to be managed. Juggling each of these details while also being mindful of the real goal and the purpose can be a challenge. It is little wonder why there are so many movies and stories about the process of planning such an event.

Like a marriage, executing a merger with NFAIS has been similar in many regards. There is an excitement around the coming together and the goals, visions, and the possibilities surrounding the venture. There has also been a little nervous tension by some about how this will all work out. Mostly, the community of friends and supporters in both communities have expressed their enthusiasm and even excitement for the prospects.

Now, all of the main pieces are almost in place. Most of the big decisions have been made. Yet as the June 30th deadline approaches when the merger will be finalized, there are dozens of details that need to be addressed. The little details that go unnoticed in running an organization, because they are routine, each need a new home, a new approach, or at least a second thought because the other side might have handled that detail better or more efficiently. And then there are those tasks that we’ve forgotten that we do, because they are irregular, but still sufficiently important that one needs to be sure that they aren’t forgotten. It has been a learning experience for all involved, particularly since non-profit mergers aren’t a regular occurrence.

We have begun the planning process for a variety of the exciting goals that were the rationale for this merger. We’ll be announcing various changes later this month as we undertake a reorganization and expansion of our activities. Teams are exploring topics and themes for future thought leadership events. Instead of purely educational programs, moving forward, the in-person events we host will be more interactive and goal-oriented, with the expectation that they will produce actionable outcomes supported by staff resources after the meeting. Finally, and most excitingly, we’ve begun planning for a re-envisioned and enlarged annual conference in early 2020, where we can bring together the NFAIS community along with the other constituencies of NISO. We will focus on bringing together technological implementers from the publishing, A&I, technology support, and library communities. As one who attends a significant number of events each year, I look forward to a forum where product teams, new implementers, service providers, and the library community that support the end-users of these services can gather to discuss interoperability, trends, and the implications of our changing ecosystem. We are aiming to create an event unlike others in our community that we hope will be well received. Be on the lookout for a “save the date” soon.

We will be describing much of this during the NISO Annual meeting, which will be part of the NISO Update at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC on June 22nd. If you aren’t able to join us, we will record the event and make available that recording after the event. It will be an opportunity for members and non-members to find out more about our plans, ask questions, and provide feedback on where we are headed. There might even be a cake!


Todd Carpenter
Executive Director