Thursday, January 20, 2011


Back on January 11, I posted my first comments about the flap over web-casting the LITA Board meeting. That included links to a couple other posts.

A week later, I posted mostly in support of the eloquent thoughts of my friend Karen Schneider.

I've had a number of other communications since then, on Twitter (some private messages), and via "good old-fashioned" email.

Yesterday, the LITA Blog had an official response to what happened. (I counted six [6] tweets which refer to that response. More may have happened I only searched "LITA Board.")

I found the LITA board letter interesting, and the charge to the committee (oops, task force) which includes "monetizing" events very interesting. My personal take (as a non-LITA member) is that if you want to monetize events, the events to try that with are programs -- not Board meetings. It will be rare to find someone willing to *PAY* for a stream of a Board meeting. For a program, many people may pay a modest fee. If the cost to produce, send, and collect the money is low enough, it could be a source of revenue for the organization. I am guessing that there would be lots of youth services folks who would pay a small fee to watch the Monday morning book awards ceremony at Midwinter every year. The key question (and I served on the ALA EB, including on Finance and Audit, and have been on divisional Finance Committees) is whether the cost to recover the cost of collecting is enough. (There *is* a cost to collect registration fees.)

Somehow or other, I had missed this very good post from Bohyun Kim which raises some of the very same issues that I mention above about the likelihood of programs being a better revenue generator.

I am going to go back to several things that Karen Schneider points out more eloquently than I could:
  1. the Open Meeting policy has obviously been OBT (Overcome By Technology);
  2. it is happening any way [links at the bottom of Meredith Farkas' post];
  3. OBT lawbreaking appears to be key to fiduciary health;
  4. allowing for the impact of a very bad economy, the “streamers” are doing better overall than the “meetwares;”
  5. however counterintuitive to the people who count nickels, the more you open your proceedings, the healthier your organization;
  6. as as rule, ALA committees tend to get focused on the idea that something needs to be made available to the entire association, BY the association, in a uniform manner.
As ALA Policy/Governance wonk, let me say that it is the last item which has me most worried. It is what keeps ALA moving so glacially at times. Let's move on!


  1. "The key question... is whether the cost to recover the cost of collecting is enough. (There *is* a cost to collect registration fees.)"

    This is exactly the key question. The other question is whether there are revenue opportunities from open streaming that further diminish the cost opportunities.

    Finally, one thing I've noticed as the comments start flowing is that many of the comments became highly personalized; words such as "trust" and "betrayal" have been tossed around. The conversation has even been compared to the heated political rhetoric some have ascribed to the events in Tucson, which to me indicates some people need to take a time-out. Meanwhile, the actual strategic opportunity has been overlooked.

  2. I've steered myself away from the trust/betrayal conversation and focused on ALA policy and giving members what they want expect.

    However, you are right about some of the tone.

    Thanks also for commenting here!