LITA Membership Development Committee Meeting

Sunday, June 25th, 2006 8-10am
Hilton New Orleans Riverside – Burgundy

Introductions – Attending: Pat Ensor, Mike Bolam, Kate Montgomery, Richard Kim, James Longwell-Stevens, Jennifer Weintraub, Kari Swanson, Howard Spivak, Christina Biles, Bonnie Postlethwaite. Howard Spivak was the only member present who was outgoing, so pat gave him his certificate of recognition for his service to the committee and thanked him.

Approval of minutes – see http://tinyurl.com/n3vpf; minutes were approved. Membership Report: 2006 membership is 4056, down 3.05% from 2005 (at Midwinter, it was down 7.21% year over year)

Items of interest from ALA Membership Committee (pat attended part of their Saturday meeting) – They and BARC are going to be occupied with following a Council directive to project the resources that would be needed to do a study of changing to a graduated dues structure based on salary. Then there will be a decision on whether or not to do the actual study. Keith Fiels mentioned that he is talking with people about the idea of focusing on library school students in the next membership push, and people seemed receptive to this idea. An ongoing representative is needed to ALA Membership, which has a couple of meetings – not sure if they’re always the same times, but this time they were Saturday and Monday mornings. Mike Bolam volunteered for this.

The Open House went well – there were many experienced LITA participants as well as many “newbies” and prospects. The current format seems to achieve its objectives to be informal and allow people to talk with others who can help them get more involved or tell them about LITA. Kate Montgomery will coordinate the Open Houses for Midwinter and Annual – this consists primarily of publicity – providing copy for a flyer, spreading the word to LITA members who can represent committees and IGs, and spreading word to potential and new LITA members. Pat will make sure the Open House is already in the programming schedule and request a room.

Happy Hour also seemed lively; it helped that it was near the Open House in location and time, although some complaints were received because it was opposite the big opening session with Madeline Albright. There was some discussion of putting the Happy Hour back on Friday night. However, many points seem to be in favor of keeping it on Saturday:

• People may not come to conference till Saturday, or they may experience travel delays that mean they can’t make a Friday evening thing.
• At Midwinter the Friday time conflicts with the opening conference reception, something which provides food. It would be confusing to keep switching the Happy Hour back and forth.
• Having it on Saturday and near the Open House means that potential and new LITA members who might not be tuned in to the usual LITA happenings can have time to hear about the Happy Hour and plan to attend. This seems to have happened this time.
• There are potential ways to deal better with the Saturday conflict – the Happy Hour could start a little later, or have a “declared” time that goes later, so that people would know they could go to the conference session then come to Happy Hour. Also, there’s nothing to stop us from having a get-together on Friday, too, for people who want to gather where they know other LITA members are.

Conclusion: Stick with Saturday for now, but consider posting the hours as 5:30 to 8, or 6 to 8 (we need to be careful we don’t lose the connection with the Open House, though.) Richard Kim will organize the Happy Hours for Midwinter and Annual. We have to see where the Open Houses will be first.

Pat thanked Jennifer for scheduling the LITA Booth. It was noted that in future, it would be good for all the MDC members to do at least an hour. We had lots of nice things to give away at the booth this year; the only drawback was that all the division booths were located at the very end of the convention center, where not that many people needed to go. Mary was going to talk with Conference Services about this, and undoubtedly other divisions will say something, too.

NMRT – pat attending NMRT’s student recruitment reception and has been appointed NMRT/LITA MDC liaison by NMRT. Another recruiting opportunity was the Spectrum Scholars Leadership Development Institute Professional Options Fair, attended by pat. This went very well.

Follow-up on other items from MW 2006 – pat and Christina are meeting with the 2006 Forum Committee to talk about having more of a LITA membership “presence” at Forum. As noted in the notes of the Board membership discussion, Bonnie is working to connect with EDUCAUSE. A public library IG (which should give a clearly stated incentive for public library people to join) is being organized by Paul Keith; the petition is being brought forth this conference.

It was concluded that this committee’s meetings should stay at the same time, 8am to 10am, Sunday morning, at both Midwinter and Annual. Other “committee functioning” business – after Annual, members will be subscribed to an MDC listserv. We are being encouraged to use the new online community function ALA has provided; pat will take the administrator training, then we will see what is necessary for the other committee members. LITA now has a section of an ALA-provided Wiki function, so we should see if there is anything that would be suitable for us to do using that.

The Board discussion on Saturday about member recruitment yielded two target groups for special emphasis in the near future: library/information science school students, and non-MLS IT professionals working in library settings. The group agreed that this was a good direction to go.

Putting the student recruitment focus into action: it was pointed out that there are many online-only students who may be great candidates for LITA membership. We need a consistent electronic “package” of links and information that can be sent to students. Howard agreed to find the previous draft of the membership “kit,” and send it to pat who will update/repurpose it. The group agreed that the personal approach by a LITA member to a library school would be a great thing to try. James, a current Rutgers online student, will see what can be done with their program to send out LITA information and find out about face-to-face contact opportunities. Kari will contact Southern Connecticut State, Mike will contact Pitt, and also try to get list of schools with online programs. Bonnie will work with Emporia and University of Missouri, pat with UNT and TWU in Houston. Pat will also put the word out to find more LITA members who would be willing to do this.

IT Professionals: we are unclear what would be involved with contacting all directors, with the concept of urging them to send their appropriate staff to Forum and have them join LITA. Pat will talk with the LITA office about this. Pat will also work on ways of identifying more people in LITA who are already in this category and find out what they like about LITA.

What about the “development” part of our function? – It is within the purview of this committee to do activities that help develop leadership within LITA. Discussion will go forward online and at Midwinter.