Assessment and Research Meeting on Friday, Jan 11

The recently formed LITA Assessment and Research Committee hosted a session on Friday morning about establishing a research strategy for LITA. Approximately 20 people from the Assessment and Research Committee, the Membership Committee, Committee and Interest Groups Chairs, LITA Emerging Leaders and the LITA Board participated in the session. Robin Wedewer, from Tecker Consulting, facilitated the session.

While the session took place at Midwinter the work began in December via email. Participants were asked to answer a series of questions. Those questions included:

  • Please think about the environment in which you live and work and what is happening in those areas that could have the potential to impact you and your business.
  • As you look to the future, what are the issues and trends that you think could have some effect, either positive or negative, on you and your workplace? In other words, what is going on in the environment that you will need to respond to or plan for—today AND in the future?
  • In order to track trends in library information technology that impacts professionals in the field, what data should be gathered and analyzed on a regular basis for benchmarking and trend tracking purposes?
  • In order to track trends as well as the health and welfare of LITA as an association, what data should be gathered and analyzed on a regular basis for benchmarking and trend tracking purposes?

The email discussion and meeting helped us to clarify the range of potential issues that LITA and its members are likely to face in the foreseeable future. As Robin stated “by carefully identifying ALL of the issues, we can establish priorities for information gathering that will help LITA be better prepared to respond with information and knowledge rather than with the opinion and anecdotes from individuals.”

Based on the email discussion, Robin created a list of the top issues in field for our members:
1. Re-invention of library’s traditional space
2. New and increasing funding requirements
3. Increased need for training
4. Changing role of the “librarian”/impeding leadership crisis
5. Changing expectations about access to information
6. Information glut
7. Changes in the nature of social interaction
8. Increased privacy concerns
9. Need for new tools, customization and user-friendly interfaces.

We split out into 3 groups, and each group was assigned several topics to discuss. Each group brainstormed and shared their results. The results of the brainstorming session were photographed.

Here is what was identified as priorities for LITA:

Re-invention of library’s space: (issue 1)

  • What is the value of our space both traditional and virtual; is it a success?
  • Where are members going beyond LITA?

Money/Budget (issue 2)

  • How do we (LITA) share our value/worth?
  • How do we optimize staff and volunteers
  • How much to put into new stuff such as research and development?
  • When do we decide to stop doing something?

Increased need for training (issue 3)

  • Value of training
  • Preferred models of training? f2f, online, webcast, etc
  • Why do people participate in training i.e. to learn, network, required, etc.

Changing role of the librarian …. (issue 4)

  • Focus on membership like what are the true demographics
  • What is role / expectation in say 5 years

Social Interaction (issue 7):

  • How are they used by members
  • what are their preferences
  • where do they use them (this related to both social tools as well as portable devices)

Increased privacy concerns issue 8 – included both LITA members as well as those we serve at our home institutions

  • What concerns do our users really have?
  • What do our users think is private; what do they want/expect to be private

Need for new tools….. (issue 9)

  • What are people using, how do they keep current, why they stop using a particular tool
  • Vendor relations – what is the role of LITA in working with vendors; more vendors used to be members, why is this membership group declining?

The session was also covered in Cognotes, Saturday, January 12, 2008, page 20.

While much was accomplished there is still more to do. Work will continue via email. Look for more updates via the blog in the near future.