10:00 a.m., August 1, 2018
Present: Virginia Dearborn (Communications Committee chair), Bob McInnis (secretary), Patrick Milas (treasurer), Elizabeth Miller (president), Bethany O’Shea (Research Services Interest Group chair), Chris Schwartz (Cataloging & Metadata Interest Group chair), Myka Kennedy Stephens (past president)
Not present: Mark Draper (Resource Sharing Task Force chair), a Continuing Education Committee representative
Elizabeth called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.
- Patrick announced that he will be the new director of the Gardner Sage Library at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. All the SEPTLA treasurer documents will be transferring there with him.
- Myka announced that Hannah Bingman-Forshey resigned as circulation manager of Schaff Library. Lancaster Theological Seminary is currently seeking a Community Engagement Librarian.
- Bob shared that he is planning to attend the Society of American Archivists meeting. The International Congress on Calvin Research will convene at Westminster Theological Seminary in late August.
Approval of the Agenda
- No changes were made to the agenda.
- Bob moved to approve the agenda as is; Virginia seconded.
Approval of the Minutes from March 2, 2018
- No changes were made to the minutes.
- Elizabeth moved to approve the minutes as is; Bob seconded.
Change in Executive Committee meeting dates
- The meeting previously scheduled on September 19, 2018 has been canceled.
- An additional meeting is added to the schedule for Tuesday, August 21 at 1:00 p.m.
- A meeting in September will be held Tuesday, September 25 at 2:30 p.m.
- Meetings will be held for 90 minutes and cut off even if there are items remaining on the agenda.
- Patrick shared that the only account activity since the last meeting was a disbursement for web hosting.
- The checking account balance is $4,132.54.
- The money market account balance is $6,726.61.
- Accounts total $10,859.15.
Continuing Education Committee Report
- Ondrea Murphy is no longer at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She took a position at a library in Delaware that is not a SEPTLA member library.
- Elizabeth will reach out to the Continuing Education Committee members to begin work on the Fall meeting plans and to solicit nominations for a new chair.
- The Executive Committee will revisit Continuing Education Committee membership at our next meeting and hope to make appointments for vacancies at that time.
Resource Sharing Task Force Report
- Mark Draper was not in attendance.
- Discussion postponed until next meeting.
Spring Meeting Survey Results
- Overall the feedback on the meeting was very positive.
- Ideas for topics to cover at future meetings included:
- A fuller presentation on creating instructional videos
- The possible development of a theological librarianship course at a nearby MSLIS school. The committee discussed that this is something we might need to refer to ATLA.
- Assessment and preparation for ATS accreditation
- Library and archives tours
- User experience and needs assessments
- Collection analysis and shared collection development among SEPTLA libraries
- Respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of webinars co-sponsored with ATLA as well as facilitated virtual conferencing meetings on specific topics. Elizabeth suggested the next survey will ask which topics people would be most interested in engaging in a webinar or virtual conference format.
- The only possible new member suggested was Eastern Mennonite University, which has a campus in Lancaster. Myka shared what she knows about EMU’s Lancaster campus based on Lancaster Theological Seminary’s agreement with them for library access. When their new community engagement librarian is hired, Lancaster Theological Seminary will renew their relationship with EMU’s Lancaster campus and provide SEPTLA with an update.
- Most respondents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the format of Teamwork’s spring issue.
- When asked about a dues increase, 10 respondents thought it would be fine and 4 were against. Those who spoke against it were strongly against it. Myka suggested that perhaps the Executive Committee should go ahead and move forward with new initiatives that may have a financial cost and revisit the topic of a dues increase once we know the full financial impact of the initiatives and how much of an increase is needed to keep SEPTLA’s accounts healthy.
- The bookmark option that got the most top choice results is a 2.5″ x 8″ bookmark with the SEPTLA logo and general information about reciprocal borrowing on front, and a list of SEPTLA member libraries with city and state on the back (color front, b&w back). Virginia offered to make a design attempt before the fall meeting.
Communications Committee Report
- Virginia demonstrated a new format for the electronic newsletter on the SEPTLA website. Discussion followed about how to populate the format with text from posts so that text does not have to be entered twice.
- Elizabeth has tried reaching out to three different libraries to find a newsletter editor and has not been successful in recruiting a nomination.
- Virginia mentioned that she does not wish to be reappointed to website manager and co-chair of the Communications Committee at the end of her term.
Cataloging and Metadata Interest Group Report
- Chris shared that attendance at the spring meeting was smaller than usual, but they had a good discussion.
- An observation: there are several newer catalogers and those who catalog in addition to other responsibilities who may benefit from a more collaborative teaching/training opportunity at SEPTLA meetings.
- At the fall meeting, the interest group will be continuing a discussion of the RDA Toolkit.
- Chris will be stepping down as chair and the group will elect a new chair at the fall meeting.
Research Services Interest Group Report
- Bethany shared the following that she intends to forward to the interest group: At the Spring meeting, many of the attendees mentioned wanting to further pursue the topic of creating instructional videos. I think a group-wide discussion might work as one of this years meeting programs. We could brainstorm resources that we own and talents each member possesses as a way to think about how each library/group of libraries could work to make videos. I would be interested in showing clips of the video creation process from other librarians and could re-show my example video from the Spring meeting.
SEPTLA Updates for the ATLA Newsletter
- Myka provided some background information: Roger Morales at ATLA would like to help regional groups connect with the larger ATLA membership through the ATLA Newsletter. In the past, SEPTLA has only submitted articles to the ATLA Newsletter when we’ve received a grant for one of our biennial meetings. Do we want to submit articles to the ATLA Newsletter more often? Who should be responsible for this?
- Elizabeth suggested that it would be good to submit an article to the ATLA Newsletter at least once a year.
- Chris suggested that we might repurpose some of our own blog posts instead of generating new content. Discussion followed that most of our blog posts are reports and minutes that wouldn’t necessarily be of interest or appropriate for the ATLA Newsletter.
- This could be part of the responsibilities of an administrative assistant, if this is a direction we’d like to pursue.
- The Communications Committee would also be a good home for something like this.
- Patrick suggested that the past-president might be an appropriate person to submit a SEPTLA annual report for the ATLA Newsletter. Since the past-president does not currently generate an annual report for SEPTLA, this would be a new responsibility and could have value for the organization.
- The Executive Committee will revisit this in the spring.
Potential New Member Library
- Elizabeth shared that Duquesne University in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh is interested in joining SEPTLA. One major difficulty is that we would not be able to make a site visit as stipulated in our bylaws, and the staff members would not be likely to attend any SEPTLA meetings. Bethany shared that Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a member of the Ohio Theological Library Association. Elizabeth will suggest DU look into membership there.
- One possibility is to offer individual membership in addition to institutional membership. This would also help librarians in other non-ATLA libraries who have an interest in theological librarianship become involved in an professional organization.
- Chris remembers a time when individual memberships were discussed before, and one former SEPTLA member felt very strongly that individual memberships would help people feel more invested in the organization, but nothing ever came of the discussion. Jim Humble might be able to find something in the SEPTLA archives.
Membership Drive or New Leadership Model?
- Invitations to the spring meeting were sent out to the libraries identified by the Membership Task Force as possible potential member institutions. There was a very low response rate. A membership drive for institutional members is not likely to be fruitful or very feasible.
- A new leadership model for the elected one-year term offices may be very helpful to keep us moving forward. These offices are secretary, president, and past-president.
- Elizabeth proposed an alphabetical rotation based on institution name. Another regional library organization uses this model. This would mean a three-year commitment for an institutional representative to cycle through the three offices.
- Additional rotation cycles might also be helpful for committee membership and committee chairs.
- The possibility of individual memberships was brought up again and how this could also potentially help with leadership.
Changes to the Bylaws
- Elizabeth is in the process of reviewing the Bylaws and making suggested changes so that they more accurately reflect the current responsibilities and expectations of the offices.
- Language for updating the Treasurer’s section was discussed.
- A more thorough consideration of Bylaws revisions will be given at the next meeting.
SEPTLA Administrative Assistant
- This discussion was postponed until the next meeting
- The Fall meeting is not settled. Potential dates to suggest to the Continuing Education Committee were discussed. The best possible dates for those present and their institutions included November 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, or 15.
Elizabeth adjourned the meeting at 11:32 a.m.