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I love ALA and governance work. I love LITA and my colleagues in that organization. I love conferences. And I love Seattle (more than any other city). I spent last Thursday through this Tuesday at the conference, getting only the smallest amount of time to see anything beyond the ALA campus, and still it was the best conference experience I can remember.

It takes a while to get used to ALA Council. I’m in my last year of my term, and I’m just now feeling like I really get it. I also just now understand my role in the group. It’s largely to talk to people behind the scenes and try to work with people individually to get to a productive place-not unlike some of my work in my day-to-day job! I do speak up at the mic, but largely when the issue is something about members that seems to disenfranchise library school students or non-ALA members. Otherwise, I am spending my time physically sitting in the meetingtweeting about the events of the body.

This time we took up a few issues of interest. Most notably:

  • Discussion of a dues increase. This isn’t to say that dues will increase. It’s just a proposal to put forth to membership for a vote. After a lot of discussion and debate, the final version is to recommend tying dues increases to the CPI for the next five years, and then to evaluate next steps at that point. ALA has only increased dues twice in the last sixteen years, and I can say from my perspective it’s absolutely amazing that they can do what they do with the limited funds they have. I’m glad the measure will be up for a vote, and I will be voting as a personal member for it.
  • We also passed a resolution affirming the first sale doctrine. The field depends on this so much that, as you might guess, there was no debate and only support voiced by council.
  • Finally, we passed a number of memorials. I want to particularly draw attention to one that I felt moved enough by to become a signatory on, recognizing the work of Aaron Swartz.
  • If you want more detail, you can find it written up from AL’s Inside Scoop: Council I, Council II, and Council III

LITA Board was very good as well. We heard from the presidential and treasurer candidates, reports from various offices that are dealing with issues relevant to libraries and technology, and reports from all of the LITA committees. Our incoming president always hosts a Town Hall meeting to inform their presidential year, and it would have felt fairly familiar to most ZSR employees: it was based in appreciative inquiry! In my role with the board I’m also liaising to the Web Coordinating Committee, the mentor for the new LITA Emerging Leader project, will soon be liaising to half the Interest Groups, and am a member of the Executive Committee for the Board. As you might guess: all very time intensive, but also very exciting work.

I haven’t talked about it here, but the final responsibility that took me to Midwinter was to participate in incoming President Barbara Stripling’s advisory committee. That group is amazing, and I’m humbled to be part of it. We discussed more about the theme of year presidential year and what initiatives she would like to make sure to do. I’m very excited to work with her, the committee, and to see the good work that she’ll do as president!

Finally, conferences are also about the people. As we live in a profession where we have colleagues around the country doing similar work and where we might connect with them through Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or some other network, it’s always reenergizing to reconnect in person. As much fun as I had at my meetings (and I am not joking at all-I really like governance work!) the lunch and dinners with colleagues and friends, drinks with friends and mentors, and a very late night talking with my roommate are what really made the conference for me. I’m sorry I won’t be part of the ZSR traveling crew at ACRL or Annual, but I look forward to connecting with those of you who make it to those and adding you to the list of people that I try to track down at each of these events.

Now: to finish those last few projects!