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John Chrastka's picture

2011 ALA Virtual Town Hall

When: 
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm, US/Central

The first ALA Virtual Town Hall will be held on Wednesday, June 1st from 3:00 - 4:30pm CDT on the ALA ILINC webinar platform.  All members are invited to participate in this online-only event featuring a discussion about e-books and the future of electronic access in libraries, a presentation by President Roberta Stevens on advocacy initiatives during the past year, and Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels presenting on the "State of the Association" and progress implementing the ALA 2015 Strategic Plan.  A special "Open Forum" time will allow participants to ask questions about any Association topics. 

Please pre-register for this event at https://ala.ilinc.com/register/tzvwtkr.  The Virtual Town Hall is designed to solicit ideas, comments and questions about the Association from members.  Reports from the Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content (EQUACC) co-chairs Michael Porter and Linda Crowe, and the OITP e-books Subcommittee Chair Bonnie Tijerina will also be posted in advance of their presentations for review and comment.  Time will be reserved during each segment of the Town Hall for questions, comments and reactions to these reports and presentations by participants. 

Questions and comments will be taken in advance via the Connect group at http://connect.ala.org/members and during the Town Hall by either voice or chat.  The i-Linc platform supports participation by voice, but specific system requirements need to be met by participants.  Information about system requirements will be provided when registration opens on April 27.  Please note that all participants will have access to live chat for the Q&A sessions. I-Linc also supports a polling function that will allow participants to immediately respond to proposals and presentation.  The Town Hall will be simultaneously captioned for participants on an open access website.  An archive of the event will be available for streaming via the ALA website and Connect group within 2 days after the event.

Richard Dougherty's picture

I recently perused the new 2015 Strategic Plan.  I was delighted to see that advocacy has taken a very prominent position.  Many (at least I hope so) will have read my article  in the latest issue of American Libraries.  It is titled “Library Advocacy: One Message, One Voice.”  While it is a story of times past, the lessons Pat Schuman and I learned planning and executing the Rallies are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago.

The fact that advocacy may become an Association-wide priority means to me that future advocacy efforts shouldn’t be limited to presidential initiatives.  Roberta has done a remarkable job, but how much more effective could she have been had additional resources been available and members of Council and the Executive Board had been actively involved?

To my mind preservation of our profession must take precedence over almost any other activity.  We can make a strong case, but it won’t be easy in today’s political and economic climate.  The magnitude of the challenge will require an “alls hands” in which everyone works together. 

Assuming that others agree with my sense of urgency,  I like to hear what others think and what is being planned.  I have already shared some of my ideas  with Roberta, Keith, Roberta, and Maureen, but I’m  confident as others join into the discussion lots of innovative and creative ideas will emerge. 

I’d appreciate an update of what is being planned at this point in time.

Richard (Dick) Dougherty

Michael McCulley's picture

Can't login from my link in Firefox. Instead of running, it's trying to DOWNLOAD something called session.exe ??? what the heck? there should not be any exe file involved in a session like this.

Oh well, hope it was a good meeting,

Michael aka
DrWeb

Michael aka DrWeb | San Diego Public Library / San Diego, CA drweb2@gmail.com

Michael McCulley's picture

Finally got in on IE. It's got to be easier to setup a virtual meeting than this.

Why pre-register?
Why have to install new software and add-ins just for this?

And  so on...

Use standard technology, standard web conference software, make sure it works with all standard and high-use browsers. What's wrong with this picture? :)

Best,

DrWeb
(grumbling)

Michael aka DrWeb | San Diego Public Library / San Diego, CA drweb2@gmail.com

Patricia Wand's picture

I downloaded the plug in earlier today and began trying to enter the ALA Virtual Town Hall 5 minutes before the hour.   Each time, after downloading the last item, the connection got hung up and I received the message "Unable to launch the session."  I called the iLinc helpdesk and, after a long wait, talked with a very nice technician.  We ran through everything, he did some research.  My theory that there were over a thousand people on and the system was maxed out was wrong because there were between 400 and 500 attendees.  Then he learned that another Mac user was also unable to link in.  So we have concluded that there is some problem for Mac users.  I tried my best and wish I could have attended!

Pat Wand (disappointed)

Patricia A. Wand

4859 Bayard Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20816

phone 301-229-5609   cell 202-375-8349

patwand@mac.com

Gail Kennedy's picture

I tried both firefox and IE and couldn't get in either way.  In LLAMA we use GoToWebinar and can host up to 1,000. We have not had a problem like this yet.

Donald Roalkvam's picture

I had no trouble getting into the VTH meeting via Windows 7 and IE 9.

Peter Murray's picture

...and on the Windows side it violates many rules of thumb to allow an unsigned .exe file to run.

[Edited to add:] Kudos to ALA for trying this experiment.  I think it went well and would like to see it again.  (After addressing these technical problems.)

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I don't think Mac users should have had problems because they're on Macs, but we'll follow up on that.

The .exe issue is related to the webinar software we use (iLINC), so there isn't much we can do about that. We'll let them know about the concerns, though.

And the number of users shouldn't have been a problem since we weren't near the 1,000 cap. I've heard several reports of folks who couldn't get the software to run, so we'll try to figure out if there's a pattern to a problem we can resolve for next time.

The pre-registration was to make sure the first 1,000 people to sign up could get in. We had a webinar last year where there were more than 1,000 registrants, and it crashed the system, so we were trying to make sure that didn't happen this time.

I hope this helps, but keep the questions and feedback coming.

Thanks,
Jenny

Mary Ghikas (staff)'s picture

Yes, we're continuing to look at various web meeting and webinar platforms.  Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.  We'll keep working on improving the current platform and on exploring alternatives.  mg

Nancy Faget's picture

Bravo on holding the 1st National ALA web event! There are clever, interesting ways that the scope of future online events can be narrowed to best serve the membership.

There were a couple of things that struck me during the event.

Did I read this correctly? ALA incurred a 13.8% increase in operating expenses this fiscal year according to the BARC report? Wow! Can that be better explained?

And secondly, the most important topic for discussion as voted during the session was emerging and new technologies for libraries. Is it ALA's policy that e-learning will be made available, for a price? It concerns me that we're creating a divide in our community to separate out the "have nots". It concerns me that an ALA conference will begin to look just like an SLA conference where so many activities are available at a cost.

Nancy Faget, Federal Librarian, Careers in Federal Libraries

Clara Bohrer's picture

I think you our referring to the slide which compares the upcoming FY12 to the current FY11 budget. To operate the Association, there is projected to be a 6.7% increase in expenses in FY12 vs. FY11--which includes expenses for the payroll & related, outside services, travel & related, meetings & conferences, publication related and operating categories The operating category is increasing by 13.8%. Some of the increase is related to inflation. There is an increase in supplies, postage, telephone, utilities, etc. There is an increase in amoritization and depreciation expense as well, which is making a difference. On the revenue side, there is projected to be a 10.1% increase in revenue in FY 12 v.s FY11 across all the categories except dues, which is expected to decline by 4.6%.

Mary Ghikas (staff)'s picture

Nancy, in the case of fees for e-learning, I think it is likely that ALA will continue generally along its present course:  offer a variety of e-learning formats at a range of prices.  Some webinars are offered free to participants now.  Some webinars and courses are offered for a fee, and those fees will vary based on the extent/length/nature of the course.  There are real costs associated with producing courses.  At the same time, we recognize the pressures on members.  Our strategy then has been to provide a range of choices  -- at a range of prices, including zero. 

The other point I'd make is that ALA, like other associations (including SLA), provides some services for which it is neither possible nor desirable to charge back the service "cost."  So, when someone calls the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, for instance, or the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, with a problem, we don't start a meter running.   Those are critical services and the cost of supporting such services goes beyond dues. 

So, again, we balance.  We offer a range of options -- including some e-learning opportunities that are free to members.  Let me know if you need more information.

 

mg

 

 

 

 

Mary Jo Venetis's picture

I agree with others who commented that they had problems connecting.

I was disappointed that I was not able to participate due to technical issues. It did not recognize my email address, and I tried both IE and Firefox.

Richard Dougherty's picture

It took me 40 minutes to join the Meeting. I too use a MAC and even with the assistance of the iLINK support person we couldn't connect. Fortunately I was able to try my wife's PC and eventually I was connected. My guess is that I encountered the same problem that others have cited. This problem should be resolved before the next program.

rmdougherty