GenlocSuggestions

Pre-Conference 11-12 August in Fort Wayne, hosted by: Allen County Public Library –
Suggestions from Genloc 

    1. The first day looks solid and interesting. It is based on invited speakers who present things from a US perspective, rather than submitted papers from several countries.  It is OK to do one day of this, I feel, since the United States can provide lots of interesting examples. But you might balance the situation by picking some engaged and lively participants from outside the US as discussants (starting the discussion through brief prepared comments).
      One of my colleagues strongly suggests that day one also include European speakers/institutions. There is a lot of work being done by non-American libraries/archives regarding genealogy that the vast majority of US librarians are not aware of. Genealogists may be aware of them, but this conference is aimed at librarians, and they are the ones who will benefit from knowledge about these resources. 
    2. I would also suggest that the second day (“unconference”) be more oriented towards colleagues from developing countries. That means a bit of pre-planning, emphasizing brief and informal presentations, mostly in smaller groups, and with lots of time for discussion.
    3. About the conference fee, I think that the best way may be to have a differentiated fee, like Ifla does. Could we (from western countries) pay 60 USD, while colleagues from developing countries pay 20? If you can get some sponsors from the local shops, that might help with food costs … See also the Note on low-cost options (below).
    4. We have to publish a short description of the program in Fort Wayne on our section webpage on IFLA. This will have a link to the official site for IFLA 2016 Congress Programme in Columbus, Ohio, where satellite meetings are listed. Please write a complete program for your conference which I can send to IFLA. Their webmasters will re-write the text and publish it on the site for IFLA 2016. In this text you should include link/s to your own conference web site.
    5. In addition we, ourselves have to spread the information to institutions, organizations, and individuals who may be interested in the program.
      We have to send it also to the 
      members of our Genealogy and Local History Section and ask them to disseminate the information as well (our Standing Committee will do it).

Our best chance of getting participants from the South probably lies in Latin America. It would be good if the central documentation about the satellite conference were also available in Spanish. In our experience that is rather easy to realize by running the documents through Google Translate and then ask a Spanish speaker to edit the Spanish version. The E to S translation is surprisingly good (my husband says) and thus not hard to correct.


 

NOTE: Low-cost options

I am in general very concerned about helping colleagues from developing countries (and small institutions) to get access to our conferences. The budget for one person from Africa, Asia or South America to attend WLIC in Columbus could easily run to USD 3000 for travel-living-  and conference fee expenses… That is half a year’s salary for an experienced librarian in many countries for example in Africa.

Going to a satellite conference would normally add a few hundred dollars to the total cost. To reduce the additional cost, I think it would be useful if you could assign a person on your planning team office to work on this, and also to be in contact with me. We have some ideas and relevant experiences on this topic.

  1. Couch-surfing has become a widespread form of free accommodation, particularly for younger people. Could you ask staff at your library to offer “library couch-surfing” for one or two nights in connection with the conference…They can “have guest for a night” a colleague librarian, this is a chance to get known colleagues from other countries, make friends, maybe visit them in return later on… This is a chance to share, to help our colleagues to experience your place…In this way we could get more people to come to the pre-conference, especially those from developing countries…
  2. Another accommodation angle: In Cape Town my husband and I rented a three bedroom apartment through airbnb rather than a hotel room. The price was about the the same, and we were able to offer the extra bedrooms (for free) to our African colleagues. Participants from the global North could be informed about this possibility to support participation from the South.
  3. IFLA’s New Professional SIG has also, in the past, organized low cost accommodation at youth hostels and similar places in connection with their satellite events (called IFLA camps) …
  4. I note that air fares from Oslo to Columbus or to Fort Wayne in August are substantially higher than from Oslo to Detroit. Bus transport (Greyhound, etc.) is quite cheap, however, whether Detroit-Fort Wayne or Fort Wayne-Columbus. Our colleagues in the South may not be aware of the bus possibility, or confident that it is safe and convenient. Getting trustworthy information from the conference organizers could help them make an informed choice. 

Bozena Rasmussen 15th of January 2016.

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