TO: All Participants - "Options" Meeting of March 7, 1999

FROM: Mary W. Ghikas, Senior Associate Executive Director, ALA

RE: Meeting Outcomes

DATE: 25 March 1999


Division Presidents or Representatives: M. Ellen Jay (AASL), Ruth Newell-Minor (ALTA), Sheila S. Intner (ALCTS), Leslie Edmonds Holt (ALSC), Maureen Sullivan (ACRL), John M. Day (ASCLA), Thomas L. Wilding (LAMA), Pat Ensor (LITA), Christine L. Hage (PLA), Jo Bell Whitlatch (RUSA) and Joel Shoemaker (YALSA).

Division Executive Directors: Cathleen Bourdon (ASCLA/RUSA), Althea Jenkins (ACRL), Karen Muller (ALCTS/LAMA), Jacqueline Mundell (LITA), Susan Roman (ALSC/ALTA), Greta Southard (PLA) and Julie Walker (AASL/YALSA).

ALA Conference Committee: Mary Ann Rupert (Chair), Carol Chamberlain (Divisions Representative), Robert Newlen (ALA Executive Board Representative), Andrea Sevetson (Round Tables Representative). [Weather casualty - Linda Mielke, Divisions Representative]

Facilitator: James Neal (ALA Executive Board) Convenor: Mary Ghikas (ALA Senior Associate Executive Director) The meeting was convened to (a) address issues and concerns raised by division/round table leaders and program planners, (b) find a way to move forward together with "Options for Change."

(1) Expectations

  • Consensus
  • Identification of key Issues/Concerns
  • Forward Movement & Improvement; a higher level of trust
  • Resolution of Division/Round Tables Concerns
  • Process for Experimentation
  • Recognition of division/round tables role
  • Preservation of unique voices - particularly small specialist groups - in conference programming
  • Preservation of program quality
  • Affirmation of need for new approaches
  • Operational definitions
  • Agreement on appropriate processes; clarity in program planning processes and roles
  • Exposure to wider experience/expertise

+Keep individual conference attendees in mind.

(2) Measures of Success

  • Increased/improved marketing
  • Greater satisfaction for attendees
  • "Works" for the leadership/program planners

In order to measure success, we must....

  • Develop benchmarks
  • Survey more systematically
  • Assess both program and conference performance
  • Assess exhibitor satisfaction
  • Assess "how it works" for leadership/program planners

+ Keep strongly focused on feedback from individual attendees

    (3) Communication Issues

    • Need conference program planning website/discussion list
    • Communicate often, openly
    • Aim at inclusiveness
    • Establish links - Conference Services, program planners, elected leadership, division staff/round table liaisons
    • Establish links to presidential program planners
    • Cyclical vs. one-time communication -- once won't do it

    + Remember we're learning as we go! Keep communicating. Keep trying.

    (4) Key Decisions*****

    • Preserve the integrity of division program planning work.
    • Define "tracks" bottom up -as a "byproduct" of the programs that divisions and round tables are developing.
    • The 2xxx Conference Program Coordinating Team will create connections, communicate and coordinate (no "program czar")
    • Flexibility in program lengths - 1.5/2/3; consistent start times to facilitate attendee choice
    • Experiment with enhanced Tuesday morning programming, including "plenary" sessions
    • Team composition: 1 person from each division (division selects), 2 from Round Tables (RTCC selects), 2 from ALA Conference Committee (ALACC selects). Team elects own chair. Organizationally this is a subcommittee of ALA Conference Committee. Each conference is a new team. Teams will "debrief" each other - transfer knowledge, experience, learning.

    + Move forward together

    (5) Next Steps

    • Summary of decisions prepared for affirmation by participants (Ghikas)
    • Appoint the 2001 Conference Program Coordinating Team by May 15 (Division Boards, RTCC)
    • Work with ALA ORS to develop benchmarks (Ghikas)
    • Communicate with division leadership (Hage)
    • Develop agenda for first Coordinating Team meeting (Conference Committee)
    • Prepare report for Council list, Member list, American Libraries (Rupert)
    • Do a "general briefing" in New Orleans (Conference Committee)
    • Divisions/round tables examine internal processes (Division/round tables leadership)
    • Work with Conference Services to develop marketing survey (Ghikas)
    • Send "thank you" for Ann Symons for suggesting meeting (Wilding)

    (6) Timeline (working backwards)

    June 2001 - Showtime! Implement. Debrief. January 2001 - Finalize program. June 2000 - Early alert: major programs (including presidential programs), trends/themes/issues 12-6 months prior to conference - key period for space allocation & marketing - communicate! 18-12 months prior to conference - key period for program planning & communication & coordinating June 1999 - First meeting of 2001 Conference Program Coordinating Team

    Challenges & strategies: Need to bring formal/informal processes together Look at incentives Preserve continuity from conference to conference - build on experience. Start with what we can do & go from there. (e.g. here's what I know about this program now....) Keep communicating