This year there are ten volunteer bloggers, and I think it's great -
- great that NELA is supporting a blog
- great that people volunteer to contribute
- great that the notes we take during sessions are available for all attendees, people who couldn't come, trustees who need to see these things, and anyone else who is interested
There are lots of worthwhile conferences and workshops every year, and I go to very few of them. I think it's important for these conferences to extend beyond the conference dates and facility to reach the people who can't come. Considerations for "virtual attendance" seems to be getting more common, in fits and starts, but I think it'll happen.
Along these lines, RUSA has recently asked a small group of librarians to look at this very issue. The goal of this task force is to recommend
a suite of technology-based approaches to virtual membership, virtual attendance at conference, podcasting or videocasting conference programs, the creation of webinars to be hosted by RUSA, and a range of other approaches that would provide resources to our members – both those that attend conference and those for whom conference attendance is a barrier to participation.
Now this is an organization moving in the direction of its members. Thank you, RUSA. I'm not sure what the end result of the task force will be, but just the fact that a large, member-based organization like this is paying attention to the needs of its members is a step in the right direction.
And hopefully, once RUSA develops and implements a good model, it will spread to the rest of the ALA.
But for the time being, don't be afraid to let your consortia, library associations, or other conference groups know what works and doesn't work for you, and where your needs are and aren't being met. That's the best way to get the resources tailored to our needs.