LITA Farewell

I was a member of LITA, the Library and Information Technology Association, before there was a LITA–back when it was ALA’s Information Science and Automation Division (ISAD), with JOLA, the Journal of Library Automation, as its journal. I joined ISAD in 1975.

I was fairly active in the division for some time. Here’s what I find in my vita, in reverse chronological order:

LITA Publications Committee: Chair, 2008-2009.

LITA Top Technology Trends: “Trendspotter,” 1999-2005, 2007

LITA/Library Hi Tech Award Committee: chair, 1997-1998

LITA Nominations Committee: chair, 1995-1996; member, 1999-2000

LITA Vice-President/President-Elect, 1991-1992; President, 1992-1993; Past President, 1993-1994

LITA Executive Committee: member, 1990-1994

Task Force to Appoint Chair of LITA 1992 National Conference: chair, 1990

LITA Board of Directors: director-at-large, 1988-1991

Information Technology and Libraries: informal LITA Newsletter liaison to Editorial Board, 1986-1987; ex officio member of Editorial Board, 1988-1994; member, Editorial Board, 1994-1995, 1999-2002

LITA Newsletter: editor, 1985-1994

LITA/Gaylord Awards Committee: member, 1984-1985 and 1988-1989

Programmer/Analysts Discussion Group: founded, 1981; chair, 1981-1983

RTSD/LITA/RASD Machine-Readable Bibliographic Information Committee [MARBI]: RLG liaison, 1980-1987; LITA appointee to committee, 1985-1987

Technical Standards for Library Automation Committee (TESLA): Observer/participant, 1975-1978; member, 1978-1982; chair, 1980-1981

And now I’m done. In 2011, I won’t be a LITA member. It seems highly unlikely that I’ll rejoin. Chances are, I would have left by now if I wasn’t a former LITA president.

I suspect the “first straw” toward my leaving was when the LITA Board enacted a substantial dues increase, to $65, the highest divisional dues at the time, without a membership vote (every previous dues increase had involved a membership vote).

But I stayed around a little longer–even after my working status was such that LITA cost me more than ALA did.

This fall, I graduated to ALA’s special category for continuing members who were ALA members for at least 25 continuous years and no longer earn livings in librarianship. The dues are really tough to beat. That encouraged me to look at LITA again… and, well, I’m out.

Sorry, but I really don’t get much out of Information Technology and Libraries. My attempts to nudge them toward Gold OA status (one reason I agreed to be PubCom chair 2008-2010, and my failures were one reason I resigned after one year) had no impact whatsoever, as far as I can tell.

Sorry, but I’m not thrilled about the publishing program with Neal-Schuman, particularly not the ten-short-books-at-a-time-for-high-prices “set” thing going on now.

It was a good 30 years or so, and the last five weren’t all that bad. But it just doesn’t speak to me any longer.

And, given the role of technology in contemporary libraries, maybe I wasn’t entirely kidding when I noted that ALA doesn’t have a Library Electricity Association.


I am not at all suggesting that anybody else should leave LITA. If you find the programs or the publications or the interest groups or the committees or the national meeting or the journal worthwhile, by all means, make the most of them.

It’s not LITA, it’s me. I’ll miss the LITA Happy Hour (if and when I go to ALA at all, and that’s pretty clearly unlikely to be a regular 2x/year occurrence), since the overpriced drinks (LITA arranges it–it doesn’t and shouldn’t pay for it) were balanced with one of few chances to touch base with a lot of colleagues at once, but that’s the way it goes.

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