Dear Valued Board Members,
As you know, we had a lively discussion about the Membership Meeting (MM) during our Community Forum on Wednesday, and some feedback on Connect after. We have a window of opportunity to make significant changes for this summer’s MM, and the window closes on Wednesday (March 1). Therefore, we need a discussion and some direction on this issue.
Here’s the situation, and our parameters:
1. Everyone agrees that the MM needs a change. We’ve asked the membership for ideas about improving the MM, and they have generously given many. We need to introduce some change to June’s MM rather than waiting 16 months for any real result of our discussion.
2. The changes we make for AC 12 will be interim changes. We’re already limited by timing on some changes (see below) and others need deeper discussion than we can have in the next four days. So let’s try a thing or two this year without being concerned about making things perfect, knowing that we’ll keep improving the MM.
3. Wednesday’s deadline is the last day to change room setup in our requested meeting room. Here is what to know: whatever setup we request is what we live with. We can't change the room ourselves at all or we get charged a lot, and it’s cost prohibitive for the hotel to change it. (The details: conference services assigns rooms based on setup, so that the room is set up in the morning and that setup is used by various groups the entire day.) Whatever room arrangement we ask for, we have for the entire time. So if we have theater style for the presidents program and award presentation, we have theater style for the MM. And if we want tables for the MM, then we’ll have them for the president’s program and the award ceremony.
One possibility is an arrangement called Crescent Rounds – round tables with chairs on just one side so audience is facing the podium. That is a possibility if we want to have some sort of table interactions at the MM yet have a setup that works for the earlier events. What we lose in this is any intimacy – we will have to be in a huge room.
4. For this summer (AC 12), we can't change the schedule and move the MM to a different time slot. It's too late. The MM is on Monday from 12:00 – 1:00, following the awards ceremony which follows the President's program. We have one hour for our MM.
5. If we make any changes for this summer, we will need a working group to implement them. I would see two board members comprising the working group. They would have responsibility for total implementation of any changes, determining how much of the old format to keep, what questions (if we go that route), selecting who’s facilitating, determining the exact timing and flow, creating scripts (with the ALSC staff doing the Distinguished Service Award part only), and most importantly, communicating with members about this new and improved MM. The working group will work with Aimee.
6. We must always keep in mind our resources - and in this case, a big one is the time of our staff who have many, many responsibilities already Monday morning and can't take on much - if anything - else.
7. We can’t rely on the room where we have the MM to have Wi-Fi (cost-prohibitive for ALA). My understanding is that someone with a mobile hotspot could have Internet access in such a room, but it would be slower than Wi-Fi because it would be cellular access.
I would like us to agree on some guidelines for the Board to give the proposed Membership Meeting Working Group. Then I would like two Board members to volunteer to be the Working Group. A change can only happen this year if we can muster a working group.
Here, again is the current agenda for the MM:
Membership meeting, Monday 12:00 - 1:00
Overview of ALSC initiatives
Presentation of the Distinguished Service Award
Distinguished Service Award winner remarks
Recognition of professional award winners
Floor opens to member comments, questions, and concerns
So here are some questions for us to consider:
Do we want member discussion to be a larger part of the MM?
If yes, do we want small group discussion? If we do, then we will need the room set up with crescent rounds for the entire morning. If we want one large group discussion, then we will order theater setup.
If yes, what do we want from the discussion? Examples: discussion on ALSC initiatives to provide feedback for strategic plan activities, discussion on a mega issue concerning the profession or association to engage members and provide general background for association decision-making, discussion using questions submitted that morning or beforehand to be responsive to member information needs.
If yes, is the information gathered from the discussion captured? How? How is it shared with the membership?
If yes, how will we change the agenda to allow time for discussion?
If yes, who volunteers to be the Working Team? (Remember: you will be It! You’ll have the power, the glory – and the decisions, the scheduling, the arranging for facilitators and discussion leaders, and the thorough marketing . . . did I mention the power and the glory?!
In advance, thanks so much for your ideas and thoughtful consideration. I’ll review our discussion on Tuesday afternoon and make a decision about changes for this year then. I’ll let you know what those will be!
Let the discussion begin . . .