The popular comic strip Dilbert has given the work meeting a bad rap. I have had corporate friends tell me that Dilbert depicts the spirit of their meetings very well, but I have never felt librarians' meetings to be absurd and pointless contests between the power hungry and the drones. I have been to a few unproductive meetings, but even then librarians are usually well behaved. Most meetings that I attend are informative and help us organize our work and support our causes. That is good, for in some seasons, I attend many meetings. It seems to happen every fall and spring.
On Wednesday, March 9, I attended three meetings and was invited to a fourth. Two of these were within my library and one was outside.
The second meeting I attended was the Metropolitan Library System Zones 1-4 Reference Librarians meeting at the North Riverside Public Library. I was a bit late because of my first meeting and arrived to find a room filled with librarians discussing the Harper Collins ebook limitation issue. A report on census data workshops had just ended, so heard most of the discussion on how libraries can adjust to the new reality and serve the public in developing digital materials service. In the room were 24 professionals representing libraries in two Overdrive contracting consortia as well as from libraries still grappling with how to offer downloadable books. Of course, we were unable to chart a clear course at this meeting, but many of us left better understanding the challenges and more resolved to proceed. We also discussed the use and management of volunteers in our libraries and the services that we provide to job seekers.
The topic that I missed at the beginning of the meeting was the latest news about our library system. The library systems in Illinois are merging in an effort to keep them alive. They have already cut most of their services and laid off most of their employees. Our group may soon be librarians from zones that have lost their definition. We need to discover new ways to network in support of each other, which will be a topic for future meetings.
Now I must get ready to attend the next meeting of the library's board of trustees to demonstrate the new downloadable books service.