Two weeks ago I posted some “thoughtful questions” about library conferences and accountability. Nothing wrong with that. But then I went to a library conference.
Went with a dozen or so graduate students to discuss professional socialization and trend-spotting. Invited association leaders to speak to them about leadership life in our field. Oh dear.
First up. The conference chair.
Called my “thoughtful questions” mere “grumpy musings”. Now that is a show stopper. Wonder if labeling ideas with demeaning comment is how one engenders dialogue back at the ranch. Nothing addressed except the good news below…
Seems the conference is sold out. Turns out that that means the dining room at the resort hotel can’t accommodate anyone else. Forget the kids, partners, grandkids, siblings, parents running around because it is after all a resort hotel. But sold out.
Seems they pride themselves on not making money. Great. Keep costs low for the mainly senior leaders who attend with their families. They even sit in the same chairs year after year. Then raise money for the association in other ways off the backs of the less well off.
The executive director? (I did suggest accountability here.) School people no longer attend. Technicians no longer attend. We asked about enticing technicians. Seems they feel excluded. Now there is a surprise. What about a day of programs for them? Well, it is apparently not like they have 50 staff! (Give me an hour. It is not rocket science.)
The association president discussed her career and the two year project integrating a circulation desk and a reference desk. Interesting, but I had to explain to the students why yes, in any other field this would take two days, but we are sensitive, and vulnerable, and victims and… so two years to put two desks together.
One of the three major employers in the state does not fund anyone to attend. Why not? They don’t know. They never asked. “Their” problem.
While my table was discussing the interesting but somewhat irrelevant message of the keynoter the conference committee tweeted that it was excellent and everyone loved it. (Why bother filling in evaluation forms later?)
The students had to assess sessions for use of evidence. Not. For generalizability. Not. For better than “how I run my library good”. Not. But the social events were terrific!
Attended an honouring ceremony for a colleague. All listed on the conference app so very current. Information changed but no one thought to change the app. Postponed. Fingers pointing at everyone else.
Thanks – but No Thanks
I was actually a conference sponsor (money on the table). More fool me. Thanked by the person who asked me for the money… but not by the president, the executive director, the conference chair, no reception or event for sponsors. Last time giving money away here. No ROI or even graciousness. (And my comparison is only to other conferences where I donate and the good manners they exhibit.)
But it was all summed up when a couple of my critical students tweeted that it was just great and they looked forward to next year
Gotta love it – even if I am now no doubt crossed off the conference list.
Grumpy musings indeed.