August 30, 2011
Why must AALL annual meeting program proposals be submitted a whooping 10 months ahead of the event?
I think if one checked other associations, you will find AALL probably has one of the earliest deadlines for program proposal submissions for ass'n annual meeting planning. One doesn't need earthquakes and hurricanes to pose this question: Why must annual meeting program proposals be due a whooping 10 months ahead of the event? So while some of us await for what we can only hope will be a retraction of AALL's official "NO" response to Caren Biberman's justified request for a mere five day submission extension because of an act of god, chew on the whole 10 months thing. A later deadline would also allow for submission of proposals that may be more relevant to events that had occurred ahead of our annual meeting.
I think the response from AALL would be that AMPC has a lot of work on its hands reviewing 300 or so proposals and must meet in late October to get started. That's easily rectified by going to a peer group track scheduling model. Academic, Public and Private sector groups could be given slots to fill in the program schedule. Under the direction of each group's elected officials, separate peer group mini-AMPCs would review and select proposals for scheduling their slots and a general AMPC would do the same for slots allocated for all other programs. Conflicts in programming? Now, how hard would it be to avoid that... . If there is so much work, dividing it up would also allow for pushing the September 15th deadline back.
Our profession is living in interesting times, times where important events happen after September 15th of each year. I'm assuming our AALL officials are living in these times, too. Perhaps that's a wrong assumption. However, in this age of modern communications there is no good reason for having a deadline 10 months before our annual meeting even if AALL doesn't want to follow up on the above-mentioned suggestion for dividing the labor for reviewing program proposals. AMPC doesn't have to meet in October and can work together in a virtual environment if AALL is too worried about losing it grip on our annual meeting. Unless, of course, AALL's official policy is that nothing significant happens in our profession after September 15th.
We all should have, to quote Caren, "zero patience" with how our annual meeting programming is administered. Kudos to last year's AMPC members for the hard work they did but that was the result of individual efforts. We need to institutionalize this to gain momentum so that it is not utterly dependent on who AALL officials select to be on the Committee. Unlike Caren, we should not need an act of god for having zero patience with the current state of affairs. Well, we may need an act of god to get reforms made.
AALL's Knee-jerk "No" Responses. Is "yes" to membership requests even in AALL's official vocabulary? Being a born and bred Chicago native, I think the next time Chicago experiences a severe snowstorm we all should call AALL HQ. When the phones aren't answered because of that act of god, perhaps we need to email our AALL officials because our AALL staff were scheduled to be at work. [JH]
Joe makes very good points. With the nature of information today, major changes often occur in less than 9 months. Picking one hot topic does not necessarily address this concern. There are reasons why SLA is viewed as being more hip than AALL. Is this one of them?
Posted by: Mariann Storck | Aug 30, 2011 7:23:58 AM