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?