LITA Board Meeting, Saturday

This was a loooooong meeting with a lot of content. I tried to condense it has much as I could. There are three main sections to the meeting and I have bolded them for easier skimming.

Present at the meeting: Bonnie Postlethwaite, Mary Taylor, Mark Beatty, Jonathan Rothman, Andrew Pace, Karen Starr, Barbara Higginbotham, David Bretthauer, Valerie Edmonds, Melissa Prentice, Debra Shapiro, Michelle Frisque, Amira Aaron, and Maribeth Manhoff

Consent Agenda –Motion to accept the Consent Agenda is passed.

Budget Report is Accepted.

LITA Assessment and Research Task Force is here to report of their findings.

Assessment is not something that LITA has been very good at doing in the past. The task force used the strategic plan to inform the report and decided that future assessments should be done consistently throughout the program. It should also be given a home so that the assessment can be carried out and continued over time; it should be a formal process and done on a regular schedule.

The Board had many questions and concerns for the Task Force. To keep this post at a reasonable length, I will summarize.

The kind of data that the Task Force envisioned LITA collecting were program assessments, members’ needs, demographics of membership, membership growth, and finding ways to collect data and encourage people who are not normally members of LITA. The Task Force also wants to identifying what LITA already collects and finding ways to use that data over time. The last member-wide assessment was done at least five years ago. Assessing people who are not currently LITA members was a topic that the Board and the Task Force strongly felt was imperative to understanding directions that LITA should take in the future.

It was reiterated by many that the instruments we used should be simple and that we should not over survey our members. The Task Force proposes using a combination of many different tools, like focus groups. The Board was adamant that there be a variety of tools employed in the assessment.

There was some discussion on who should head this endeavor, someone on the board or a committee. The Board wants to be sure that this project does not get disconnected from the work of LITA as a whole. It was decided that this could be worked out at a later date. Part of this discussion revolved around the need to have this project have good succession planning. There could be some large overlap between assessment leaders so that there would not be a gap in assessment over the years.

The task force recommended that an outside group be hired to do some initial assessment for LITA.

Motion to approve the recommendation is passed.

Mary Taylor reported on Forum which was successful. There was better attendance in Nashville then in previous years. Program evaluations were good overall. Andrew Pace’s program was one of the most popular.

Report from ALA ITTS: Rob Carlson, Sherry Vanyek, and Jenny Levine
Part of the LITA’s strategic plan is to work with ALA ITTS. Their presence at this meeting is to open up the dialog and begin a good relationship and conversation with ITTS.

Update of ITTS: They are currently in the middle of a new CMS implementation for the web site; American Libraries went first and LITA is next. They have new blogging software, b2evolution, and Media WIki software. Unofficially, there are about 30-40 blogs and wikis currently on the ALA server. You can view a list of all the different collaborative web stuff going on at ALA on the Read/Write/Connect Wiki.

They are currently working on some best practices so that people will make good decisions about technology use and creation. ALA ITTS recently finished usability testing on the website and had a web planning retreat in December. They are currently working on a web redesign based on the usability assessment results. They should have some prototypes available at Annual for us to look at.

Jenny: Online communities –The current software we have does not allow for true social networking so they have been focusing on trying to make it a viable working tool for ALA committees. All content will be migrated from the old system to the new. The hope is that we can enhance the tool we already have to be better and more usable.

Mark Beaty brought up the fact that committees want some interoperability between tools because many people have different prefences to tools and thus use different things. Chairs want to be able to write a message once and then replicate it elsewhere. Jenny responded that there are RSS and aggregation tools that can accomplish this.

There will not be a limit on the number of blogs and wikis a group, like LITA, could have.

What educational online resources are available? Like instructional design etc.?
ALA has WebCT but no instructional design support. They are currently testing Moodle to consider instead of WebCT.

Report from Education Working Group

Primary recommendation of the committee is the merger of the Regional Institutes Committee and the Education Committee and includes a charge for the new committee. The draft is accepted in principle – the merger is approved but refinements are needed on the charge and the number of people needed for the new committee will have to be defined.

The other part of the discussion centered around the impact Forum and online learning opportunities are having on the Regional Institutes. Online learning is very worthwhile, but there was some concern among the people assembled about what people are willing to pay for online learning. The Board believes that people are willing to pay a larger sum of money for online learning if there is a certificate or credit hours attached to the class. It is also possible that we could charge per broadcast, like a library could pay X amount and they could have their whole staff watch a webcast at the same time.

The board did recognize that LITA is competing with many other groups in the kinds of online training that we offer. They want to be able to identify unique things that LITA can offer its members.

There was more of the meeting but I had to leave about 30 minutes early.