If you’re just tuning in, please check out my initial Madame Chair post.

We’re closing the LITA Program Proposal Form on Friday* and as of 5 p.m. Thursday, we were nearly to sixty proposals.  SIXTY.  That’s double what we’ve had the last two years (I checked our spreadsheets).  I’m somewhere between shock, awe, and OMGWTFBBQ-crazy. I know the Redoubtable Warmaiden and I have been blasting listservs and I’ve been yelling, begging, reminding and irritating people for four very short weeks.  Thank you for putting up with the multiple emails, tweets, blog posts and everything else. And to everyone who submitted: Thank you for sending us your proposal. You’ve given us a wealth of options to choose from and I’m grateful that you took the time, made the effort and put your ideas forward.

A skim through the spreadsheet has me already thinking about things I’d like to attend.  Obviously I can’t tell you much, but words like Mobile, E-, i-, Cloud, Data, Migration, Web Design and Training are certainly liberally sprinkled about.

With proposal numbers like that, the committee’s job just got much harder. Frankly, we can’t accept everything. Even if we wanted to, we only have about 16-19 time slots to work with (depending on how you count it, not scheduling on top of the LITA President’s Program, etc).  We’ll lose a couple of those time slots to the vendors** and we really shouldn’t try to schedule 6 LITA programs per time slot.

So what happens now?

Tomorrow I spend the day clicking over to the spreadsheet every twenty minutes to see just how many more people have submitted a proposal. After we close it, my committee members will each read, rank (1-5) and comment on what we’ve received.  We do this individually and I’ll be asking them to make a top ten list. I’ll compile their rankings and give each program an average score, to help us see any particular outliers that we want to immediately accept or turn down.

Then we have a two hour meeting scheduled to hash out what, exactly, we’re accepting. That is going to be exhausting. Ideally, I’m hoping that a few programs might be combined, so the number we have to turn down can be reduced.

Following that meeting, we should have the following

  1. A list of programs that we are definitely accepting, with PPC members assigned.
  2. A (short) list of programs where we need more information from or we’re asking if they’ll consider combining. (Please say yes!)
  3. A list of programs that we are turning down.
That short list will need to be worked through quickly so if you hear from us, please don’t sit on it. By mid-September we’ve got to be plotting things on a scheduling chart and sending out notifications of acceptance or rejection.
Interestingly, those who have expressed interest in working with the Learning Round Table on their proposal is right about 50%. I have no idea how that will translate once we get through the shuffling above, hopefully one of the accepted program proposers and/or a member of the LearnRT will give us more insight once that’s rolling along.
Good news for me! The Conference Program Coordinating Team, which does calendar tetris after the PPC does it, but on a much larger scale, will be meeting electronically! In the past they’ve met for a weekend in October and I’ve heard interesting stories about people being locked in rooms and not being allowed out until we’ve come to a consensus on the next Pope, pantones for next year, and exactly which flavor of ice cream is the best. Last year, they tried doing it electronically and that worked so well, they’re doing it again.  This makes it much easier for me, as I have travel plans in October and plane tickets to buy in the near future.
Sixty Proposals. Wow.

*Read= Or when I get up on Saturday, for those in California working til the last minute on their proposals

**Vendors are guaranteed a two hour window every day that isn’t booked with programs, only committee meetings.  Unfortunately we can’t make them always at 8:30 a.m.