IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: I3

Regional Users Group Forum

Coordinator/Presenter:
John Culshaw, University of Colorado


Attendees of the session represented Regional Users Groups from around the country.

John passed around a sign up sheet for the listserv for regional planners. This listserv has minimal activity.

The purpose of this forum is to share ideas about what we are doing with our regional users groups.

After introductions, John solicited agenda items from the group.

Iowa expressed interest in starting a group—possibly with neighboring states.

Sharing advice about starting a group became the first agenda item. John Culshaw recommended the session program Training on a Shoestring.

Other topics and questions included: What kind of structures are the various groups? Dues Organization.

Websites. How do you keep enthusiasm for the groups going?

What types of programs are offered at group meetings? Who does them? How do you get people involved?

Carolina Group issued a call for members, created bylaws, meets twice a year, invited III, has a website and listserv. Asks for input on what type of programs users would like to see presented. Aims programs at support staff that don't get to attend National conference. Attendance is 40-45. 30-40 sites as members in two Carolinas. Invites new sites to join.

Rocky Mountain Group has no dues or bylaws. Got bogged down and threw it all out. They have a planning committee of about 10. Group is multitype and all types are represented on the planning committee. The assess charges to cover cost of food when provided. Now they prefer half-day sessions or locations with several restaurants in walking distance to avoid providing lunch.

For some distance is an issue. Full day or two-day meetings work better. RM uses website to deal with distance. Cool Stuff section on their website for example—developing regional experts within Colorado. Millennium Issues was a highly successful program. The meet 3 times per year, not in winter. They solicit ideas from the members. Planning committee meets in person although most work is done by email. Attendance is dictated by size of the available room space and it is sometimes necessary to turn people away. Biggest problem is meeting space. They usually repeat Colorado presentations from IUG.

How do you get folks to visit website? Through the listserv. How do you add new sites to group? Informal networking. Presentation at Colorado Library Association. Colorado has history of cooperation, so in general people look for these kinds of groups. Some groups have contacted III to identify new sites in their geographical area.

Do committee members volunteer or are they elected? Rocky Mtn. dealt with the longevity issue recently. They recruited new members who were appointed by Planning Committee.

Another site held Birds of a Feather meeting to organize themselves.

Socal began 10 years ago They are very informal, as one would expect from laid back California. They have consistently mustered an annual meeting. They used to do two, but one works better. They must also consider traffic issues and facilities. There is difficulty in finding free locations.

Iowa is interested in videoconferencing. That can save tires and gas, although some face-to-face meetings are needed. Distance is an issue and the need to spend night in hotel might deter attendance. Also, there may be some resistance to using technology so it may not be the ideal for large meetings. It could work better for planning group. They might possibly hold annual meeting in conjunction with Iowa Library Association.

MidAtlantic charges dues because of cost of meeting space. They hold a 2-day conference so that those who had to travel will have better chance of getting funding. They have website. 120 people attended their conference at GAO.

Socal sends labeled announcements to IUG listserv. They use IUG list for initial solicitation of members. Ask III for regional contact list.

Advised to contact directors in the Region to let them know you exist and that you may need help in future.

Carolina uses inexpensive campus facilities. Cafeteria, campus housing.

It was emphasized by Mark Braden of Southern California that practical details are important, such as accessibility to public transportation.

Programming:

Rocky Mountain uses website for Distance Ed.

Websites are maintained and hosted by volunteers. One place bought its own domain name.

Socal uses meetings to exchange best practices among staff. They find this as valuable as show and tell programs.
Norcal also has formal program topics plus breakout sessions with facilitators.
It is recommended to get III staff to come if you can.

Leslie Straus offered that III generally sends customer sales staff to the meetings but needs lead-time.

Interest in training from III was expressed. For that both money and lead-time are involved.

Some training can be used as continuing education credit.

Rocky Mountain uses their organization. for training rather than as conference meeting. They are called workshops.

Some libraries looking into III have asked to attend user group meetings. III would like to know who has asked.

RM has had visitors, but once a vendor attempted to register. This was not allowed. Argument was made that vendor was also librarian. Nevertheless, access was denied.

Folks wanted to know about sharing information after the meeting. If it is posted to web, who has access? III would prefer access be limited to users. IUG has enhancements passworded. III's CSDirect was recently compromised, so III would like to advocate privacy.


Reporter:
Karen Johnson, University of San Francisco