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Guest Editorial: Organizational Structure--Yesterday Informs the Present

Library Information Technology Association
Publication Date
  • Law


GUEST EDITORIAL | HIRST 179 Organization structure and reorganization are never exciting topics. The world rarely pauses to take a deep breath or offer a round of applause when an organization adds a new committee or decides to split into subgroups. However, organizations frequently inform the patterns and processes of change—as well as no change. Recently, the Ex Libris Users of North America (ELUNA) group reorganized. Processes and outcomes were similar to those I observed many years before when the Library Information and Technology Association (LITA) restructured, and I labeled the process LITAish. John Webb subsequently asked me to elaborate through an Information Technologies and Libraries (ITAL) editorial. ■ LITA—An organizational recap In 1981, LITA launched a bold reorganization. Sections and committees were abolished and a new structure, the inter- est group, was created with the hope of significant benefits to the organization. The final report of the Long-Range Plan Implementation Committee of May 29, 1984, stated: The main thrust of the reorganization . . . was the estab- lishment and encouragement of interest groups, which were intended to reflect topics of current interest to members and to have a structure which allows for easy creation and easy elimination as interests and technology change. Interest groups could be formed . . . from as few as ten LITA members and were empowered to plan and present programs, institutes, and preconferences . . . Linda Knutson, who became executive director of LITA in February 1987, “has . . . been impressed by the increase in the level of participation and by the tremendous energy that the players have; they want to contribute, and they plunge in with both feet.” These comments are from conversations with Linda Knutson quoted in “LITA’s First Twenty-Five Years: A Brief History,” by Stephen R. Salmon in the March 1993 silver anniversary issue of ITAL. Twenty years later, the LITA organization and, specifi

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