What changes do we need to keep the annual conference as a vibrant, well attended event? Question 2 for Division Cabinet Chair Candidates – Pam Enrici

This is from Pam Enrici, running for Division Cabinet Chair.  I’ve done division programming three times and these are my observations from over the years.

Programming

In my estimation programming needs to go four – not three days.  Programming would start on early Saturday afternoon and end mid-Tuesday afternoon.  Many people don’t come to the pre-conference or post-conference programs so this could be the way the number of work days people miss could be lessened.  Those that want to be a tourist can still do that.

Types of programs

I have long felt that the programs have been too homogenized – that is much less Division/Caucus or subject specific.  We need more programs and more of them targeted to very specific audiences. Although Divisions and Chapters are adding webinars, this doesn’t fill all the needs.   This also means that we should not say a Division can only do x number of programs and can be the lead on only x number of programs.  Sometimes that really doesn’t work for a Division.  Yes, Divisions should be encouraged (and should) to do cooperative programming but not to the extent that they are now.

Length of programs

Programs should be scheduled for the amount of time needed – some programs lend themselves to a one hour format – others will work best with longer times.  This will make scheduling a bit harder but I think it would be worth it in the end.

No-conflict time

Cut down on the no-conflict time. I really do recognize that the vendors want people to come to their booths but not everyone needs to talk to every vendor.  For example, I don’t make the choice of which library catalog software we use (this decision is made far up the “food chain”).  I’m wasting the vendor time when I do talk to them about it. Other people have different areas that they don’t deal with.  The number of vendors is down, so the amount of time, we need to meet with them is less.  When (not if) we get more vendors, the amount of time given to vendors can be adjusted.  I know people also use this as networking time with one another, there will still be a lot of time left for this, I believe.  I know we’ve experimented in the past on the number of days the vendors are here – I’m not sure what is really right.

Programming on the last day

This really is tricky.  I would make sure there are strong – if not the strongest programs before the closing session (although many people will at that point) (also see my note on opening/closing sessions).  Geography also plays a role.  If the conference is held on the East Coast, people from the West Coast and middle-America/Canada, can leave later and still get home that evening.  If the conference is held on the West Coast, people will have to stay an extra night, if the conference runs too late on the last day.

Division Board Meetings

These are difficult to schedule and either doing it on Saturday morning and/or a late Tuesday afternoon/early evening would be do-able.

SLA Opening/Closing Sessions

Keep as they are but make the closing session shorter.

Continuing Education Classes/Tours

Can be structured as they are now – but two options would be to have them all at the end of the conference or some before and some after the conference.

Pam Enrici
Univ. of MN., Duluth (on the shores of Lake Superior)
penrici@d.umn.edu

 

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