January/February has been an unusually busy conference season for me, leading much of my work time to be focused on catching up in the office. I’m just now getting a chance to process some of my experiences and blog them. Look for posts this week about LITA, Horizon, and Lilly South!
I’m going in chronological order, so this is an ALA post on the LITA Board meetings and midwinter thoughts in general. I posted on Council a few weeks ago.
As for LITA, we had a few board meetings, held the traditional Midwinter Town Hall in which the general membership can contribute to strategic planning, and I attended the Web Coordinating Committee meeting as the liaison to the board.
We talked about various issues, and sent some issues to ALAConnect, and planned this year to start having monthly meetings to make sure we’re making progress on the goals and issues between conferences. I’m very excited about this. I think ALA Connect has been an ideal place to do ALA work between conferences, but it’s hard to check in when faced with the day-to-day duties and face-to-face meetings of our regular jobs. Having a monthly check-in meeting will give LITA tasks deadlines and a way to be held accountable. In fact, our first one is this Friday via WebEx!
Many of our conversations focused around issues of how to increase membership, if we should start focusing on advancement for the organization (and how), and the budget for the association. Exciting stuff, if you’re interested in the technology association of ALA. 😉
This Midwinter, as I’ve found in the past, was as much about connecting to others in the field as it was about learning or contributing to the association’s business. I love having a big-picture understanding of the field, and talking with librarians in all types of positions, and in all types of libraries, helps me keep a better understanding of the field-as-a-whole than I would otherwise be able to do. It’s good to to know what other academic librarians are doing as well to have a good sense of how we’re doing in relation to other libraries.
Many of my connections with others were in impromptu meetings, where we talked about everything from faculty vs. staff status and what it looks like at a variety of institutions, the situation at Harvard, conversations about motivations for the work we do, discussions about what ALA Council should be doing, how to get things done within the large association, and some scholarship that I was unfamiliar with that might be useful for some of the research I enjoy doing.
This Midwinter was the smallest I remember. We didn’t actually break 10,000 participants as we have every year in recent memory. The people who were there were enthusiastic and making the most of it, but overall you couldn’t help but question the future of the second ALA conference each year if numbers are so small. Here’s hoping we’re able to come up with some answers in Council and on division boards!