ALA Conference Committee Committee
On behalf of Walter Betts, chair of the ALA Conference Committee, I am posting a DRAFT response to the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC).
For those who are new to this committee and/or were unable to participate at Annual:
-- At MW2014 Council received a resolution to eliminate from the policy on Midwinter Meetings the language that prohibits educational programming. That resolution was referred to BARC. Council asked for a BARC response by Annual 2014.
-- BARC reviewed the resolution, discussed financial impact with staff, and decided they couldn't make a real determination without more information (e.g., how much programming). BARC referred the resolution on to the ALA Conference Committee, which is charged -- by Council -- with recommending policy changes related to conferences. BARC asked CONF CTE to get back to them at Annual 2014, but BARC met before Conference Cte.
-- Conference Committee had an extensive discussion, in which the Councilor who crafted the resolution participated, and sent a message to BARC that they would get a response to them in advance of BARC's Fall meeting (which is October 6-7).
Based on the Conference Committee's discussion at Annual Conference -- and to facilitate further discussion -- a DRAFT response to BARC is attached. This is a "public" post -- since there is nothing inherent in this discussion at this point that would require a closed discussion.
I have also attached the background documents that the Conference Committee was working from at Annual, for your convenience and for new members of the committee.
Please continue the discussion in this space. We need to complete our discussion by September 18, so that we can get a final document ready to send BARC by September 26-29. Thank you.
Here is the current schedule of future sites, for your information. We are showing you both ALA MW and AC and Division Conference sites. Let me know if you have questions.
For those new to the ALA Conference Committee, sites for MW and AC are approved by the ALA Executive Board. ALA Conference Services will bring proposed sites to the ALA Conference Committee, as well as the Exhibits Round Table board, for recommendation (or not) to the ALA Executive Board.
We are often asked why we select so far in advance. It has to do with the size and complexity of the site the ALA requires. We are (still) utilizing about 350 *concurrent* meeting rooms for AC. That means we require not only a large convention center but hotels with significant "conference" facilities (meeting rooms) at a reasonable distance from the convention center. We have historically had very minimal flexibility on dates -- looking at holidays, school schedules, other conferences in the library space, etc. All in all, it's a tricky package to put together -- and the closer we get to the year of a conference, the more likely that one or more critical piece of the package will no longer be available. So we, like other large conference sponsors, book far in advance and then let other, smaller, conferences, work around us, instead of vice versa.
One piece of explanation, since you are all coming from different places in ALA: The ACRL and PLA conferences are spring conferences; the AASL conferences are in the fall. So the ACRL conference in 2015 will come between ALA MW and ALA AC; the 2015 AASL conference will come between the 2015 ALA AC and the 2016 ALA MW.
Let me know if you have questions.
On behalf of ALA Conference Committee Chair Jan Sanders, here is the agenda for our upcoming meeting. We have a very full agenda and work will continue following our Annual Conference meeting. Both current and incoming members are strongly urged to participate.
WHEN: Saturday, June 29, 1-2:30pm
WHERE: LVCC N225
(2) AC2014 Report (Paul Graller and others)
(3) MW Programs Discussion/Next Steps [see connect.ala.org/node/223970]
(4) Kitchen Table Conversation: Annual Conference: Discussion/Next Steps [see connect.ala.org/node/223974 -- and if you have time, you might also want to review the documents posted earlier at connect.ala.org/node/217967]
(5) Other Business
All documents referenced are posted in this committee's space -- so you find these and more if you scroll down.
Thanks, all. See you soon.
I have attached feedback from the 2012 and 2013 annual conferences. These were responses to open-ended (text) questions. We typically ask people (a) what they would tell a friend or colleague about ALA conferences, (b) what they think the 3 best things about ALA annual were, (c) what single session got their "best" designation, and (d) what recommendations they have. Staff spend some significant time going through this.
Over the coming months, this committee, along with the CPCT and staff, will be spending time developing frameworks for future annual conferences. I think taking a look at recent feedback is a good place to start.
I'll have more for you over the coming weeks.
At the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting, a resolution was proposed in ALA Council related to programming at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. That resolution was referred to the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), assuming that there would be a financial impact to increased programming. When BARC reviewed the issue this spring, they referred it on to the ALA Conference Committee, which is charged with reviewing policies relating to ALA conferences, including the Midwinter Meeting.
Following consultation with Conference Committee Chair Jan Sanders, I am attaching a background briefing document and several supporting documents, including the Council resolution. This will be on the agenda at our meeting in Las Vegas, Saturday, 1-2:30, LVCC N225.
Let me know if you have other questions.
I have posted the narrative summary statements from the 2014 Midwinter Meeting Kitchen Table Conversations in ALA Connect -- in the Kitchen Table Conversation group. It is an open group and the post is tagged "public." I have given you the specific address above. The lengthier consolidated notes from three days of discussion are attached to that post.
As you know, we have been holding this conversations over the past year -- at both the 2013 Annual and 2014 Midwinter, asking participants about their aspirations for and concerns about ALA as their professional community.
Based on the discussion at Annual (2013), we focused a significant portion of our discussion at Midwinter specifically on Annual Conference. I believe you will find much to consider and discuss in the narrative summary and the consolidated notes.
The draft report is pasted in below. Please use the comment function for changes/additions. mg
ALA COMMITTEE REPORT
COMMITTEE: ALA Conference Committee (standing)
TIME PERIOD: 2013-2014 – through Midwinter 2014
REPORT SUBMITTED BY: Jan Sanders, Chair
ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMITTEE: (including the 2014 Conference Program Coordinating Team)
This report covers activities in the ALA Conference Committee group on ALA Connect and at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting:
- On review of documents from ALA Conference Services, recommended two future sites for approval by the ALA Executive Board at their Fall 2013 meeting: San Antonio (Midwinter, 2022) and New Orleans (Midwinter 2023 and Annual 2027).
- Reviewed the draft Statement on Conference Conduct, proposed for use beginning Midwinter 2014.
- Received and reviewed survey results from the 2012 and 2013 ALA Annual Conference.
- Received and reviewed ALA Annual Conference – Background for Discussion (2013-2014 EBD #12.8), for subsequent committee discussion.
- Reviewed the proposed skeleton schedule for the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting and 2015 ALA Annual Conference, for approval by the ALA Executive Board during the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
- Received updates from ALA staff on the 2014 Midwinter Meeting and 2014 ALA Annual Conference.
- Received an update from ALA staff on the (aborted) attempt to implement an integrated proposal-to-final-program system to eliminate costly and error-prone repetitive data entry at different stages. Use of “off-the-shelf” software is proposed; the initial implementation crashed ALA’s process complexity. Over the next six months, that process complexity will be addressed and a new RFP developed, with plans for implementation in time to support the 2016 Annual Conference program, beginning with initial proposals for jury selection in 2015.
- Reviewed a list of potential Auditorium Series speakers and recommended preferred speakers to ALA Conference Services (2014 CPCT).
- Based on 2012 and 2013 survey results and other data, discussed future directions for ALA conferences. (ALA Conference Committee and 2014 CPCT)
- Based on data reviewed, there was consensus that focus, simplification and increased clarity were desirable.
- Considered limiting the number of programs to be presented at AC; considered whether every subgroup must present a program (which may sometimes be their only reason for being).
- Considered holding some program slots for joint or collaborative programs, with 2 or more groups involved in planning and presentation.
- Based on data reviewed, there was consensus that focus, simplification and increased clarity were desirable.
- Based on feedback, there must be attention to session times, session formats, session quality, alignment and timeliness.
- A key objective should be an integrated conference experience.
- ALA’s distinctive position is the “big tent,” crossing type-of-library, type-of-activity and special interest boundaries. There was extensive discussion on issues relating to both unified identify (“big ALA”) and individual group identity (division, round table, other group).
- Specifically address the time-contention issue. One possibility would be to considered repeating high-demand sessions. (2014 CPCT)
- Encourage collaboration in programming. (2014 CPCT)
- Consider making video clips available in advance to encourage attendance and session participation. (2014 CPCT)
- Require subject headings and tags. (2014 CPCT)
- Build a “tag cloud” for each conference, as a way to illustrate focus. (2014 CPCT)
- Work will continue in ALA Connect (both ALA Conference Committee and the 2014 Conference Program Coordinating Team).
- The next scheduled face-to-face meetings will be at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference:
- ALA Conference Committee: Saturday, June 28, 1:00-2:30pm
- 2014 Conference Program Coordinating Team with 2015 Conference Program Coordinating Team: Saturday, June 29, 10:30-11:30pm
Face-to-face meeting participants:
ALA Conference Committee: Jan Sanders (chair), Walter Betts (Chapter Councilor), Sara Kelly Johns (Executive Board), Kawanna Bright (Round Table Coordinating Assembly), Therese Bigelow (At-Large), Mary Ghikas (staff), Marissa Kossakowski (staff), Jenny Levine (staff).
Barry Trott (CPCT, RUSA), Jeffrey Bowen (CPCT, LLAMA), Mary Hastler (CPCT, PLA and YALSA), Julie Kane (CPCT, ALCTS), Jason Kucsma (CPCT, ASCLA), Delora Shapiro (CPCT, LITA), Charles Kratz (CPCT, Round Tables), Jan Sanders (ALA Conference Committee), Mary Ghikas (staff), Marissa Kossakowski (staff).