The LITA Town Meeting

Well, first of all, if you were at the conference and not at the Town Meeting, you missed a great food spread. There was real food, folks — breakfast tacos, yogurt, fruit, bagels, pastries, AND a variety of juices.

While we ate, we got to view a photo montage of past involved LITA members who hadn’t ponied up when the LITA Office offered to destroy all negatives.

Pat Mullin, LITA President, addressed a filled room (we know the value of free food) to note the launch of the LITA 40th Anniversary Celebration and to present a plaque to Pat Harris in recognition of her long stint of excellent service at NISO. She’s retiring after 20 years, and those of us who have worked with her can hardly imagine information standards work without her. I bet she has no trouble imagining it at all.

Bonnie Postlethwaite, President-Elect, took over to provide a brief history of LITA’s educational program, in preparation for a facilitated discussion of how LITA can better meet members’ educational needs in future. This is the part of the strategic plan the Board chose to focus on in the regular Midwinter Town Meeting.

Aaron Cohen and his son Alex Cohen of Aaron Cohen Associates facilitated the discussion. Each table formed a de facto small group for discussion — we were asked to discuss what the current situation is and what the opportunities are for LITA in the next few years as far as education is concerned.

Some of the ideas that came up:
A LITA Wiki — to share expertise, what people are working on, what they’re familiar with, share the knowledge of LITA members, what products they work with.
It was noted that attendance at regional institutes had dropped. One idea was to plan some around other organizations’ conferences.
Webcasting seems like a good way to go — the kind of thing where someone can pay to receive a feed and have other people view/listen to it. This would be especially good for hot topics where quickly-produced, timely coverage is needed.
Tap into the educational needs of public library people. If someone started a Public Library Technology IG, they could have a focus for programming, education, liaison, etc. As a follow-up note, Mary Anne Van Cura is now working on this; contact her if you’re interested.
Use the blog as a vehicle to make LITA-L conversations, announcements more permanent. (BIGWIG is already working on this.)
LITA programming at conferences should have clearer audience indicators — maybe distinctive logos.
LITA needs to identify programming gaps from the top down. Our programming comes from the grass roots, which is great, but it means some important topics don’t get covered.
LITA does well at serving the library tech world, but we need to become more nimble and effective at reaching out to the tech world — those working in library technology who are not librarians. It was noted that maybe LITA should be LEAD-A. (Get it? Get it? Aw, c’mon, it’s cute.)
LITA needs to use many forms of communication to find out what people need in the way of educational topics.
LITA needs to educate technology beginners as well as advanced people.
LITA should be providing feedback to library schools about what new librarians should know about technology.

More will appear on the blog and elsewhere about this, but if you want to add an idea, feel free to comment!