Still here in Atlanta, enjoying the weather (today is something of an exception: thunderstorms and rain). My first meeting of the conference was on Friday–the FRBR Interest Group discussion–and although I rarely attend, it seemed to have a lot of potential. I was especially interested in finding out what other folks were thinking and asking about the IFLA Library Reference Model, the successor to FRBR, now being widely discussed.

There were probably 25 people there, actively chatting with colleagues and friends, waiting for the session to begin. But it didn’t. There was a table set up with microphones and bottled water, a podium, a projection screen in the corner and the usual aging Dell laptop for presenters next to the podium. Nobody behind the table, nobody putting a stop to the conversations to start the meeting.

Although there was a past leader of the IG present, she wasn’t interested in taking over. It will surprise none of you that I ended up leading the meeting. We went around the group and everyone introduced themselves and spoke about why there were there. As part of that we discovered that there were at least three people in the group for whom Atlanta was their first ALA conference, and not only that: the FRBR IG meeting was their first ever ALA meeting. The old hands apologized to them, told them it wasn’t usually like this, and suggested some other meetings where they could learn about the subject.

But this situation was appalling, and though none of us had any idea who should have been there or why they weren’t, there was a meeting on the schedule and somebody paid for the microphones, room and A/V setup. We all know about the things that can go wrong on the way to a presentation: travel/weather hassles, illness, etc., none of which can be avoided entirely. But why wasn’t a substitute in place? There are certainly others from the IG who could have stepped in, and we all know how to send slides through the ether for a substitute to present.

This IG is an ALCTS group ( and I’d suggest that ALCTS needS to look into this and perhaps add something to their instructions for IG chairs. #ALAMW17

By Diane Hillmann, January 22, 2017, 9:56 am (UTC-5)

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