[Guest Blogger Mark Gediman]

Since my post last week (A modest proposal), I’ve discovered that I’ve hit a nerve.  I’ve received several off-the-record responses as well as a few blogged ones, the most recent of which was from Caren Biberman this morning.  I have to say that several things have become apparent to me:

  1. I’m not as “connected” as I thought I was.
    I was unaware of the reports and decisions referenced by Caren in today’s post.
  2. There are quite a few PLLers who feel disenfranchised by the current programming at the Annual Meeting
  3. I have trouble seeing how a registration rate of less than 7% of the PLL membership in the pre-meeting Summit can be pointed to as a positive.
  4. Out the 100 people register for the summit, how many are attending the meeting? This to me would be a telling statistic.
  5. Over 1000 viewings of the post, but only 6 comments.  Hmm…

So, to address each of these:

  1. Why isn’t there better communication between AALL and the membership? Every posssible avenue should be used:
    AALL email list.  
    If it works for the President’s Letter, it can work for these kind of hot topics.
    SIS and Chapter listservs
    My experience with blogging has shown me that only when you let the widest possible audience know do you truly have a meaningful dialog.
    SIS & Chapter Leadership
    These are the people who are more closely connected to the membership, whether geographically or through their library.  Shouldn’t they be utilized more effectively?
  2. This is truly disheartening and should be a major concern for AALL.  The membership of the single largest segment of the association should be made to feel a part of the group.  The consequences of not being inclusive would result in a splintering of AALL, an eventuality no one would like to see.  I have made lasting friendships at the Annual Meeting with people from across the country and across disciplines.  
  3. I’m happy that over 100 people have registered for the Summit, but that means that about 1400 people didn’t.  The question we should be asking ourselves is “What can we do to bring more people to the Annual meeting?”
  4. Relating to 3, how many of the 100+ are sticking around?
  5. This appears to be the “Third Rail” of AALL politics.  Everyone wants to change but very few are willing to speak up.

My suggestion is just one possible solution.  Tracks are not by their nature exclusive.  People will remain free to choose to attend programs that match their interests, regardless of SIS affiliation.  The purpose of tracks is to ensure that needs of each group are being met.

Perhaps the AALL Business meeting in Denver is the proper venue to bring this discussion into the open.  I think that any discussion that has the success of the Annual Meeting and, above all, the Association as its goal is inherently good for the organization.