LITA Town Meeting Summary and Action Items

The following are the suggestions that came out of the LITA Town Meeting which focused on the education goal. (Thanks to Pat Ensor and Michelle Boule for their summaries on the LITA Blog.) The following is my summary along with action items discussed at the Spring meeting of the LITA Executive Committee. Many action items are already underway.

1. 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.
2. It was noted that attendance at regional institutes had dropped. One idea was to plan some around other organizations’ conferences.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Use the blog as a vehicle to make LITA-L conversations, announcements more permanent.
6. LITA programming at conferences should have clearer audience indicators — maybe distinctive logos.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. LITA needs to use many forms of communication to find out what people need in the way of educational topics and programming.
10. LITA needs to educate technology beginners as well as advanced people.
11. LITA has 2 audiences (Techies and Money Folks/Administrators) and we have to figure out how to best reach them with our resources. Within ALA, LITA is seen as being for the techies only, ALA membership includes users of technology.
12. LITA should be providing feedback to library schools about what new librarians should know about technology.
13. LITA often has a silo effect with other groups in ALA who explore technology.
14. Members have time and travel fund limitations, we need to use podcasting and online services more for people who cannot attend conferences or relevant sessions at conferences.
15. LITA can teach on the novice level. We need more training type of programming and knowledge tools.
16. More face-to-face events like Happy Hour.
17. LITA is often the membrane that transfers technology to libraries. We should act as a larger buffer that pulls more technology into the library.
18. More plugs. At conferences and National Forum—more electrical outlets and wireless.
19. Communities. LITA should form partnerships with other groups interested in technology.
20. We need ALA to give us the ability to utilize more/better online tools.

Proposed Actions

1) Assessment and Research Task Force. The Board has voted to create an Assessment & Research Task Force to systematically gather member input and data to inform strategic direction and decisions. Members of the task force are currently being appointed.
2) Education Task Force. Create a working group of the 3 committee chairs that deal most with education programming (PPC, Regional Institutes, Education) that would investigate and propose new collaborations/partnerships and models for delivery of programs and identify improvements to current programming. Susan Logue, Regional Institutes Committee Chair, will lead this working group.
a. Investigate possible collaborations with other ALA divisions, EDUCAUSE, etc.
b. Propose online delivery of education programs. (podcasting, webcasting, ALA’s WebCT)
c. Evaluate status of Regional Institutes
3) BIGWIG. Ask BIGWIG to investigate launching a LITA Wiki. The LITA Blog has been great for reporting, but not effective, yet, as a means of collecting feedback.
4) Membership Development Committee. LITA has several membership recruiting and retention opportunities. Audiences we address need to feel that we are delivering programs that meet their needs that make the membership worthwhile.
a. We are losing many members who are moving up into administrative positions to EDUCAUSE. The Assessment and Research TF could help address this issue.
b. How do we attract the non-librarian library technologists or library systems staff?
c. People who attend conferences love the informal face-to-face networking like Happy Hour.
5) PLIG. Mary Taylor has been working on encouraging the creation of a Public Library Interest Group.
6) PPC. Program Planning Committee should look at clearer articulation of the targeted audience for programs and ensuring that programs are filling gaps wherever appropriate.
7) Discussions with ALA. Several items above probably need to be addressed with discussions with ALA units to improve LITA’s voice in these areas and offer LITA’s expertise on initiatives.
a. Discuss how LITA can partner in the technology direction of the organization.
b. Emphasize the importance of technology at conferences, especially wireless.