Here’s an introduction to Bernadette Lear, our new LHRT Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect! Find out about her take on LHRT’s challenges and opportunities below:
It’s a great honor and privilege to serve as LHRT Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect. I know this from personal, hands-on experience, because the upcoming term will be my third time in that role!
Each time I have served, LHRT has faced different challenges and opportunities. In 2008-2010, LHRT was coping with several financial and organizational issues. We made the difficult decision to stop printing the LHRT Newsletter, we created a Membership and Outreach Committee to recruit new members to the round table, and we developed an manual to clarify officers’ roles and procedures. In 2013-2015, we noted declining venues for library history scholars to publish their work, particularly with the evolution of Libraries & the Cultural Record to Information History. In response, we developed Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, a publication that is wholly controlled by LHRT and has been a springboard for experienced and new authors. Past and present, many LHRT members have come forward to offer advice and sweat-equity during challenging times. The grassroots collegiality and derring-do of our community is what motivated me to throw my hat into the ring once again — to step up as so many of you have over the years.
In 2020-2022 (and possibly beyond), I believe LHRT’s major challenge will be to make our case to ALA leaders and members that small round tables continue to have an important place, and to cultivate allies both within and outside of ALA. To LHRT members, it may go without saying that history is a timely and relevant professional concern, and that library history is very much part of other studies in the humanities; however, these points may not be as obvious to others. Furthermore, given ALA’s current financial and organizational challenges, we must document and present how LHRT contributes to the association’s budget, membership recruitment/retention, and other bottom-line concerns. If ALA decides to implement every “Forward Together” recommendation and LHRT is unable to meet its expectation of membership numbers, it means that ALA is not moving forward with us, and we need to prepare for a future where we carry on our programs, LCHS, and other activities outside the association. One silver lining of COVID-19 is that many of us are all the more comfortable using telemeeting software. During my upcoming year as Vice-Chair, I will be highly interested in using it as a platform for LHRT events.
In all these efforts, I appreciate your advice, concerns, or other input. Feel free to contact me anytime (BAL19@psu.edu). Thank you for your support, and thank you for being a member of LHRT!
Bernadette A. Lear (she/her/hers/Ms.)
Behavioral Sciences and Education Librarian
Coordinator of Library Instruction
Co-Editor of Libraries: Culture, History, and Society
Penn State Harrisburg Library
351 Olmsted Dr., Middletown, PA 17057
BAL19@psu.edu – 717-948-6360