The 2016 conference of the Cross Timbers Library Collaborative offered a good opportunity for the current, former and potential members of the North Texas Library Assessment group to meet and discuss its future. Prior to the meeting, a survey was posted and announced via the Listserv and the NTLA blog; however, only nine people responded. There was enough feedback, though, to initiate the conversation.
The desires, interests and concerns of those who attended generally reflected those revealed by the survey. People want a way to share ideas, learn from others, and collaborate on projects related to assessment of libraries’ collections, facilities and services.
Regarding structure, those who attended generally preferred the very loose and informal nature of the group. We agreed that becoming an Affinity Group of the larger CTLC would be more beneficial than remaining totally independent. There are no guidelines or rules bounding AG’s and we can use the structure to share news, hold meetings, and gain more “members”.
There was much talk on ways for people to physically interact. We had historically met once a year, and had even attempted to semi-annual meetings. But these were time-consuming to arrange, and there was no firm schedule to adhere to. There was consensus among those who attended to:
- hold business meetings and round table discussions at the annual CTLC conferences
- hold one annual conference of its own, preferably around early January.
These mid-winter meetings would:
- focus on training and sharing methods and techniques,
- be simple in format, to make it easier on the hosts
- would start later, thus allowing more travel time for those at distant locations,
- be broadcast online and/or recorded for those who cannot attend.
- be scheduled in advance, say rolling 5 years.
The members are also encouraged to meet amongst themselves informally, perhaps for lunches, to encourage collaborations and stimulate discussions on methods and tools.
Finally, we briefly discussed online tools to enable greater sharing and communication. We will send invitations to all members of the NTXLIBASSESS Listserv to join the WordPress community so that they my post on the blog. We will also investigate online file-sharing, such as GitHub and even Sharepoint/Office 365, given that all of our institutions use MS Outlook.
While Karen Harker agreed serve on a steering committee, a call for group leadership was made. Several who attended expressed a desire to serve and a formal steering committee will be named by August 5th, 2016.