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?


  1. Libology Blog » OLC Cancels Conference:

    [...] found via Save Ohio Libraries and The Limnal Librarian [...]

  2. Work-at-home Saturday: Economy edition | Mashup Mom:

    [...] I posted on my other blog yesterday about how I think the economy is affecting one of the things I do: presentations and workshops for librarians. I’ve seen a drop-off in the number of people inquiring about presentations, and don’t currently have any library-related speaking gigs lined up for the fall — when usually at this point in the summer I have at least 3-4 confirmed. [...]

  3. Cari:

    It is quite depressing… I was going to speak at OLC. :-(

  4. OLC Cancels Conference « CodeEdoc – Technology And Programming News:

    [...] found via Save Ohio Libraries and The Limnal Librarian [...]

  5. jessamyn:

    I was going to speak at OLC too until a scheduling snafu meant I was going to have to cancel. It’s a slow season for me too; not dead, but slow. I think, I hope, more places are going local and doing more modest but equally great conferences. I worry that maybe they aren’t.

  6. Roy Tennant:

    You’re by no means the only one…my speaking engagements have fallen off a cliff. It’s a sign of the times.

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