I make a habit of trying at least one LITA Interest Group at each ALA Midwinter Meeting that I’ve either never attended or haven’t been to in two or three years. That’s partly a matter of wanting to broaden my horizons, partly a matter of “playing new member”–seeing LITA the way someone new to the division, or who hasn’t yet joined, might see it.
After all, I always advise people that Midwinter is the perfect time to find out about new IGs, new committees, etc.–you don’t have all those programs to compete with, and you get more of the nitty-gritty of a group.
So, this time around, I attended three LITA IGs.
And if I’d been a new member, I’d have been pretty discouraged by the time I got to the third one.
First Interest Group: Ejournals and Epublishing. A live topic, to be sure. Half a dozen people were there by the announced starting time. Only one problem: none of them was from the Interest Group: no chair, no vice-chair/chair-elect, no one who would admit to being a member. So the six of us (I believe one or two more came in “late”) had an interesting conversation, which probably wasn’t reported because, well, there was no Official Meeting.
A note to IG chairs out there: It is vitally important that someone from the IG be there during the Midwinter meeting slot that’s in the program (the same is true for Annual, to be sure). If you can’t make it, make sure someone else does.
Second Interest Group: Personal Computers. OK, so that’s a tricky one–at this point, other than “How to lock them down,” PCs almost rank as equivalent to the Electricity Interest Group, and LITA doesn’t have one of those. I wondered what the group would talk about. Turns out the “group” was the chair and me. And one item on the agenda was whether the group should file a renewal for the next three years. I asked how many people had been at recent meetings; “up to four” was the reply. I suggested that this might answer the agenda question. I believe this group will sunset, and that’s probably appropriate.
So it’s now halfway through Midwinter. There’s really only one more meeting slot with IGs.
Third Interest Group: Emerging Technologies. I’ve been there within the past two or three years, and this was as well-attended and lively as other meetings. I counted at least 50 people; there were officers; there was an agenda; a sign-up sheet was passed around; discussion took place. OK; this was all good.
One out of three. I suppose it could be worse.
Of course, for $60, the highest dues in ALA, it could also be better. I renewed my LITA membership because I’m a former president (and wore the Former President ribbon right above my ALA Editions Author ribbon). Otherwise…well, I’m not sure.