Changes to ALA 2006 Conference Schedule Explained

At Midwinter 2005 in Boston, the ALA Executive Board approved a fairly radical change in the ALA conference schedules for the 2006 conference year. These changes apply to the 2006 Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio and the Annual Conference in New Orleans.

The change that was approved alters the beginning times of meetings from a current practice of a potentially infinite number of start times to a much more structured set of predetermined start times. These start times are coupled with a preset meeting time length. So the schedule looks like this:
  • 8 a.m.–10 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m.–12 or 12:30 p.m.
     (depending on conference and meeting day)
  • 1:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
  • 4 p.m.–5:30 or 6 p.m.
    (depending on conference and meeting day)

This structure applies to committee or other meetings (task force, subcommittee, award jury), discussion groups, and interest groups. This does not apply to programs, preconferences or special events, such as the ALCTS member reception.

The main purpose of this new structure is to help contain the expenses associated with the ALA conferences. ALA has already taken the step to greatly restrict the use of audio-visual and technology equipment for non-programmatic sessions. The new meeting schedule will help control the cost of meeting rooms and more effectively use the meeting space we have available. If you have ever noticed at any given time or day, there is a good amount of meeting space that goes unused. Part of the reason for this is the diverse start times and lengths of meetings.

What does this mean for ALCTS meetings, DGs, and IGs?

It means that each group, including the ALCTS Board, will have to look carefully at their current meeting times and choose a time slot that would best accommodate their meeting. In the case of the ALCTS Board, our new meeting time would actually span two of the new time slots (which is permissible). So instead of meeting from 2:00–5:00 p.m. on Saturday at Conference, the Board would meet from 1:30–3:30 and then reserve the 4:00–6:00 time slot. The 30 minute break is intended to changeover the rooms or encourage people to go the exhibits or eat or whatever.

One of the issues this does bring up for ALCTS maybe more than other divisions even, is the sequencing of meetings that in some sections and at the division level is crucial to executing ALCTS or section business. Some of the rescheduling decisions cannot be made in isolation by one group. An example might be this: Suppose that the ALCTS Planning Committee and the Budget & Finance Committee historically meet together or close by for one of their meetings, say the Sunday 2:00–5:00 meeting time. In the new structure, it is possible that Planning might choose the 1:30–3:30 time slot and B&F the 4:00–6:00 time slot if the chairs didn’t bother to talk with one another about the schedule changes.

You will also notice that on Friday and Tuesday for Annual, there are no designated meeting times. This does not mean you cannot meet on those days. The reason is that are so few meetings, the times were not included. You will however have to abide by the new meeting time schedule if you do want a meeting on those days. You will also notice Low/No Conflict time. Again, there is no prohibition on meeting during those times.

If you are a chair of any ALCTS group, you need to discuss the new schedule at your meeting at Annual Conference in Chicago. The meeting requests for Midwinter 2006 will be out in September and the Annual requests will be out in October. There really is no time to consult after this Annual before you request your meeting times. Variations in the start times will not be allowed, so choose your time slots carefully. And know coming out of Annual what time slot is your preferred time slot so when you request your meeting space for next year, you can schedule it promptly and correctly.

As an aside, audio-visual and technology requests for meetings, discussion and interest groups will be very carefully monitored again next year. In general, don't expect to get any equipment if you request it. I will again try to preserve what I can but like Midwinter I had to cut more into requests people made, this time cutting even microphone requests.

As always, the ALCTS office staff will help you through this change as you make your plans for 2006. Do not hesitate to ask.

ALA 2006 Conference Schedules

Midwinter Meeting, January 20–25, 2006 at San Antonio, TX
printable spreadsheet version

skeleton schedule for midwinter '06

Annual Conference June 22–28, 2006 at New Orleans, LA
printable spreadsheet version

  skeleton schedule for annual conference '06