Thursday, April 13, 2006

ALA Blogger Round Table - Part 2 (and revised & corrected)

I received a surprising response to my original post (probably because people like the "Stephens'" [Jack and Michael] and Karen Schneider linked to it). Most were overwhelmingly supportive.

Not all were, and that's OK. Jack Stephens criticized my not posting the section from the Bylaws, although I did link to them. His criticism that perhaps this activity should be part of LITA was echoed (and supported) in an email to me from Walt Crawford. Walt gave me permission to quote:
I don't see that blogging represents an aspect of librarianship sufficient to warrant ALA round table status. I do see that blogging represents a use of library technology sufficient to warrant a LITA Interest Group, if anyone wanted to start one.
As a Pastformer President of LITA, Walt has probably forgotten much more about that group than I will ever know. As part of a later exchange, I learned that:

LITA interest groups are open to all ALA members; only the officer[s] need to be LITA members. (And, to the extent that they still use petitions to start LITA IGs, 8 of 10 signatories need to be LITA members.)

IGs, unique to LITA and implemented way back when when we got rid of sections, are more potent than Discussion Groups (they can request budgets and organize programs, and are in fact LITA's primary program-generation source), but they're also self-forming, self-governing, and in every case I've seen run on the principle that "whoever's here is part of the IG, whether LITA member or not."

I trust Walt.

At the same time, it is not just new librarians who can get lost in the complexity of ALA and the divisions...look what just happened to me! I am learning.

I am still collecting information on how to form a Round Table and what a budget would go to, and how it would be constructed. Part of the budget would be needed to pay for conference activities (meeting room support like projectors for a conference program).

I am going to take the long weekend to continue to consider responses. Are there eight to a dozen current LITA members who are willing to take on the leadership of an Interest Group if that is the way to go?

[Addition, 5 minutes after posting] Karen Schneider offers a great post: What a RT Could Do. This captures, eloquently, much of my thinking. Particularly her third paragraph which is what got me started to think about the idea. The comments on this post are worth reading also, with a grain of truth. I'll admit it freely, Karen is a better writer than I. Thanks for the additional thoughts Karen. And as you admit, is this the most important thing? No. Is it a good thing? I'd like to think so.

[Correction 4/14/2006 -- my friend Walt Crawford is not the Past President of LITA, but a former President of LITA.]

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