Quarterly Update

Carol Schuetz, editor



The History Section had several meetings and events during ALA Midwinter in Seattle, including the RUSA Genealogy Institute (sponsored by ProQuest), the History Librarians and Local History & Genealogy Discussion Groups, and an All-Section meeting.

At the RUSA History Section Local History/Genealogy Discussion Group, over 50 people came together to discuss questions related to local history and genealogy work. We talked about how to deal with sensitive issues and what to do when people don’t accept historical fact because it doesn’t fit in with their idea of their family or area.

Best Historical Materials List
The annual list of Best Historical materials was announced during the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Book and Media Awards Ceremony at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. The list includes both print and digital resources and recognizes effectiveness in coverage of historical resources in all fields of history, and it promotes enhanced availability of historical works and information. Look for the list online or in Reference and User Services Quarterly (RUSQ), and congratulations to the Historical Materials Committee for their great work this year!

Updating Guidelines
The Genealogy and Local History Committees have been revisiting the “Guidelines for Developing a Core Genealogy Collection” and “Guidelines for Developing a Core Local History Collection,” with the goal of creating a unified, modern set of guidelines. Their work is nearly complete, and the proposed guidelines will then go through an approval process. They plan for the new “Guidelines for Establishing, Developing, and Maintaining Genealogy and Local History Collections” to be unveiled before ALA Annual in June 2019.

Updating Bylaws
The Executive Committee is currently working on revising the History Section’s bylaws, which have not been amended or revised in over 30 years. Among the big changes are:

  • Modernizing and simplifying language
  • Making language inclusive
  • Adding a statement about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Clarifying issues like extended committee membership and special/ad hoc committees
  • Making the bylaws match with long-standing practice within the Section, including membership of the Nominating Committee and titles of elected members of the Executive Committee
  • Removing the requirement of holding an in-person Executive Committee Meeting at Midwinter
  • Adding a section on Discussion Groups
  • Adding a requirement that the bylaws are reviewed at least every 5 years

The new, updated bylaws are a vast improvement over the current version (and there are no more antiquated references to “mail-in ballots”!). Approving the revisions will be on this year’s ALA ballot for all members of the History Section. In addition, we will be sending out the text of the new version via the History-L listserv and History Section’s social media accounts. Please be sure to check out the changes and to vote during the election!

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