Archive for the ‘economy’ Category.

And on the theme of speaking and conferences again…

Not to pick on again, but I’m catching up on reading my Friday newsletters. And hurrah! I’m on today’s, which talks more about the impact of budget cuts. (That’s not a hurrah for budget cuts, but for whittling down my email.) They explain:

There are several things we have done or plan to do in order to offset the budget cuts, including not giving any staff raises this year. We will also be cutting down on food provided at staff, board, and other meetings, travel, institutional dues, public relations, paper mailings, and supplies. We’re also looking for a more economic way to handle our phone system; more calls may be forwarded to voice mail. Unfortunately, the search for our vacant Member Liaison position has been put on hold. In the area of professional development, program fees will increase and the number of “big name” presenters brought in for programs will be reduced.

I guess I’m semi- “big name” — I do have three of them, after all! But I’m thinking we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this, and am wondering what the impact on conferences, professional development funds, travel, and association membership will be as new fiscal years and budgets roll around.

On speaking and libraries and conferences redux

I was on the Internet Librarian conference site today and saw this under a new “Why I must go to Monterey” section.

Need help justifying your trip to IL-09?
Sometimes all it takes to get permission is using the right words.  Tell your boss why you MUST come to Monterey.  Here’s a draft memo to get your started . . .

Now, that’s interesting. Think it would work with your administrator? But I’m also wondering if this is a preemptive move, or a sign that registrations are probably down at this point — although it’s a little early yet to tell (this being an end-Oct. conference).

And on a personal note (and yes, full disclosure, I’m still affiliated with the ITI books division) — Internet Librarian is my absolute. favorite. conference. So if you think the memo would help, go for it, and I’ll see you there!

Associations with associations

I just read on the ALA Inside Scoop blog that ALA’s membership numbers are dropping because of the recession. (Yup, this was posted 3 weeks ago — I have a lot of blogs to read, people!) :)

With ALA Publishing Department revenue already in decline, membership dues revenue at $4.3 million is under budget by $127,000 or 2.8%. The number of new and renewing members has declined from 67,827 to 65,437, or -3.52%.

On the plus side, ALA continues to see growth in student membership; May numbers were up by 2.3%. Year-to-date statistics show a flat renewal rate overall for personal members and new membership enrolments are down 6.33%. The YTD statistics also show movement from regular and other classes of membership to the “continuous member” category, which is up 8.7% and no doubt reflects the retirement trend within the profession.

Of ALA’s 11 divisions, only the Young Adult Library Services division has seen growth of 1.04% over FY2008. Not surprisingly, the Public Library Association has born the severest drop at (12.67%), followed by the Reference and User Services Association (8.24%), the Library and Information Technology Association (8.18%), the Library Leadership and Management Association (7.25%), the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (6.05%), and the American Association of School Librarians (5.17%).

YALSA makes sense to me, since they seem to be the rockingest division of all. I’m trying to wrap my head around this decrease in numbers, though, in conjunction with reports of the very strong conference attendance in Chicago. And am wondering if the decrease in memberships is a temporary fluke or signs of an ongoing trend. Are people going to re-up when the economic situation gets better, or will they find that they don’t miss the membership?

Then I went a-reading further and saw Nicole Engard over on What I Learned Today posting about library association memberships. Her reason for not joining more associations?

I was recently asked to participate in an interest group for an association. I said, ‘heck yeah, but I’m not a member do I have to be?’ Apparently I can participate for a period of time without being a member – but why not join the association?? It’s simple. I do a lot of speaking and I have only one rule when it comes to speaking – I will not pay to speak for an association (local libraries – sure – but big associations – fat chance). I will accept a reimbursement of my expenses (without honorarium) in most cases, but I will not pay out of pocket to speak for an association when I can educate librarians at no cost to me via several other venues.

Today I filled out forms to speak at 3 conferences. Two of them require that members speak without any compensation and I just can’t live with that – so I don’t join. I spoke at a state conference last year and had to fight to get my mileage reimbursed because they insisted that association members and librarians who work in the state don’t get paid to speak. Why?

I want to belong to more associations, I want to help the library profession and share my knowledge, but I do not want to – and will not – go bankrupt doing so.

This has always been a mystery to me, and is one reason why I let my own state association membership drop lo these many years ago.

Anyway. Sorry for the post-o-quotes, but I’ve been up with some (hopefully 24-hour) flu since 3AM and am too fuzzy to think about this further — I just wanted to throw the topic out there and see what you all thought. Even comment on Facebook, if you must. ;)

On speaking and libraries

I’ve been thinking lately about speaking and libraries and the effects of the economic crunch on library conferences. By this point in the summer, I’m usually confirmed for at least 3-4 presentations or workshops for the fall — and right now, I’m scheduled for a big, fat, zero. Now, it could be that I’m just not so interesting to hear anymore, but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with the craptacular economy than anything else. Invited speakers are a logical place to cut back.

Then, I just read in LJ that the Ohio Library Council has cut its entire convention this year — largely because people just can’t afford to go:

OLC made its decision in the wake of a survey of library directors that showed that very few could afford to send their staff to the event. “In light of the recent developments in the state’s public library funding and the drastic adjustments that all libraries have been making to their operations, the OLC made the most fiscally-responsible route for both members and the organization,” OLC said in a news release.

Ohio of course is an extreme case (and if you want to help, check out some of the links over at Pop Goes the Library). I presented there a few years ago and remember the conference organizers as committed and energetic people, so it’s disturbing to read this.

Then again, ALA attendance appeared to be great, although the number of vendors was down. Are smaller conferences going to be more heavily affected? Have those of you who do the conference circuit noticed huge drops in attendance, or a decline in speaking invitations?

Getting a job in a tough economy

I’ve been doing some talks lately on career building in a down economy, so was interested to see ALA’s new Getting a Job in a Tough Economy Toolkit. It’s obviously a work in progress, and kind of weirdly organized, but I’m cheered to see any association movement toward helping librarians instead of solely focusing on libraries.

Dear ALA: Here’s a shamelessly self-promoting suggestion — why not link up to :P Just a thought.

Anyway. What do you all think of it?

Spend, Baby, Spend!

It fascinates me that after years of doom-and-gloom articles about how bad Americans are at saving, now we see articles like “Hard-Hit Families Finally Start Saving, Aggravating Nation’s Economic Woes.”

Ah. It’s the savers’ fault. That clarifies things…

Yes, I read the whole article; I get it — and think “the paradox of thrift” is one of my new favorite phrases… So, perhaps this can be my excuse to go buy something extravagant. “I’m just helping the economy, honest!”