LITA Town Hall Meeting

Interesting questions and answers from the LITA Town Hall. A few dissenting opinions, and that always makes a discussion lively.

Twitter – #litath09

What makes LITA unique inside ALA and the greater library community?

The ability to get actively involved very quickly.
The structure if interest groups is more flexible than other divisions.
We get a lot of practical information that we can apply in our workplace unlike other organizations.
LITA gives us a chance to connect with others doing similar work.
LITA is profoundly affected by what’s happening in the outside world. We have to interpret and apply information on behalf of our organizations.
We tend to generate good, imaginative ideas that get adopted by others.
LITA has a flat and flexible organizational structure.
We tend to be doers and not pontificators.
We tend to be entrepreneurs within ALA.
Many members have an opportunity to get involved.
We are focused on applications/practice rather than theory.
We take delight on not requiring an MLS for everything that we do.

Who else is filling the same role as LITA?

The role – keep people aware of the latest technology and how to use it. Best practices. Provides a community for a wide spectrum of librarians with a technology interest.
Digital Humanities
State Library groups – technology section
Technology vendors and user groups
Smaller groups – Distance learning section – ACRL – DLIG
Technology sections in other ALA divisions
Blogs and websites
OCLC regional institutes and affiliates
There is a lot of overlap between ALA divisions. How does this affect us? How are we reaching out to these other groups?
People come to LITA for mentoring. What are we doing to provide support to people who are new to the IT world?
Moderator question – Going forward, do you think there will be more or fewer groups doing the same thing as LITA? Audience response was unanimously more.

What areas of IT are not being addressed in the library community?

Digital preservations
Creating reusable educational objects
Change/adaptation of traditional tech types
Dealing wit front-end users
Mentoring newer IT people, giving project advice.
Assessment, stewardship of open source projects.
Model and push virtual options for the rest of ALA.
Set skill standards for ILS students.
The library IT department should be providing good project management for other departments.
Where are other libraries in terms of infrastructure? Publics? Rural libraries?
What technologies should we skip at this time?
Green technology initiatives

How do other organizations see LITA?

WebJunction – There is a perception that LITA is more cutting edge.
Opposing view: LITA is stodgy and behind the curve.
Overlapping interests.
LITA is more nimble – can focus on immediacy in programming.
Opposing view – LITA is hampered by ALA rules and can’t always present timely programming.
DLF thinks of LITA as informally allied.
At what point to distinctions between all of these organizations no longer make sense?
Leaders to other ALA divisions.
Some people find LITA a good place to learn things directly related to their jobs.
Others are turning to other organizations like Code4Lib, ASIS&T, and DLF for their training needs.
Other divisions look to LITA members as leaders, but there is a sense that LITA doesn’t always share what they know.
Some people feel that LITA presentations are above the heads of audience members and don’t necessarily give them the nuts-and-bolts tools they need to perform better in their jobs.

How can LITA work with other organizations?

Seek out similar groups within ALA and outside ALA to form partnerships.
LITA should serve as consultants to other divisions.
The economic model of membership encourages competition with other organizations.
Leverage division overlaps.
We live in an age where we like to tell people what we’re doing every minute of the day.

What can LITA learn from peer organizations?

Other organization have do more to encourage virtual participation and learning outside the meeting structure.
Other make better use of virtual committee members.
More virtual outreach to people who can’t attend every meeting.
ACRL has an initiative to reach out to nontraditional members.
Other organizations provide better opportunities for student involvement.
Cooperation across organizations.
Improve and expand marketing. More targeted advertising.
Learn from other organizations how to “work” ALA.
There is a perception that LITA knows all the cool stuff but doesn’t share well with others.
Encourage more transparency of what all divisions do, and point members to the resources that they need.
Divisions should never be in competition with each other.
LITA is often seen as an agent of change.

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