If you saw me at conference or have any dealings with me in a LITA capacity, most of this is old news.  But if not, buckle in, ALA’s Annual Conference is changing.

The week before conference, as I was dealing with an eleventh hour program cancellation and the prospect of the broadest selection of programs that LITA has hosted, I got an email from the ever hard working Melissa Prentice, who minds all of our programs from the LITA Office in downtown Chicago.

Melissa was pointing me to a newly released document that had come out from the ALA Conference Committee. If you’d like to read the entire thing, it’s available here.  The short version and how it affects yours truly is as follows:

  • Each division is limited to 20 programs.
  • LITA has two programs that we are required to do: Top Tech Trends and the President’s Program

As you can imagine, this was a topic of lively conversation on Saturday morning, when I had to inform the rest of the Joint Chairs of the upcoming changes.

Overall response has been positive. The move to all programs being held at the convention center and being recorded will be, for the vast majority of conference attendees, a huge bonus. A limit to the number of programs being sponsored will hopefully allow for coordination rather than frustration at all of the simultaneous offerings.

Change is not easy.  The discussion and evaluation that my committee will do in a very short couple of weeks here will have to be more rigorous for our limited slots.  In 2012, we accepted over 30 programs. In 2013, we’ll have 20 and two of those are already set.   But there’s no going back though and based on last year’s proposals, I’m sure we’ll get some outstanding ones.

It will actually make life a little easier for the committee once we get through the acceptance process in that instead of all of us trying to wrangle 3 programs, we’re only tied to one or two each. I’d like to be able to offer better support to the presenters and not being spread so thin allows us to do that.

The next couple of years, as the program planning process for ALA is wrapping the collective head around the changes, will be pretty exciting.  I’ll be rotating off of the Program Planning Committee next summer. I’ve accepted appointment to the Education Committee this year and I’ll be with that through summer 2014.

Here goes Year 2!