Tuesday, April 28, 2009

NY Librarian's Meetup : An end-of-the-year perspective

NY Librarian's Meetup : An end-of-the-year perspective

I came to the NY Librarian's Meetup via the "unconference" held at Baruch College in August 2007. LibCampNYC was a resounding success by every account. Hundreds attended this "new age" kind of "happening" for librarians and library students. Most were quite amazed at how this impromptu mélange of sharing and think-tanking succeeded. I had met Ellyssa Kroski at a previous presentation of Web2.0 at a Beta Phi Mu/Theta chapter meeting. Ellyssa was the founder of NY Librarians Meetup and encouraged me to join. The group met once monthly at Chipotle's or Bryant Park, weather permitting. However, as time went by, and Ellyssa slipped away to other professional endeavors, the group began to dwindle. I decided to volunteer as Organizer, in light of the fact that it was that or have the group fold. To my advantage were years of program planning for various professional and social organizations. Although my proverbial Rolodex was quite limited, I set to learning the ropes in order to increase my membership. We began with listservs, messageboards, and the like. Word of mouth of our events helped as well. In order to accommodate both students and working parents, events were scheduled both weekends and weeknights. Library tours were scheduled with networking components before and after the tours. The Meetup website is extremely user-friendly. I decided to milk it for all its worth, i.e. polling members, posting non-NYLMU events on the Calendar, promoting the Meetup with tabbed flyers, postcards, and business cards. The group now has a presence on the major social networking sites, e.g. Facebook, mySpace, Delicious, Twitter and LinkedIn. I have joined other Meetups in order to benchmark myself against groups as well as learn from their wisdom and experience. Our membership is just 2 people shy of 300, which is more than double what I had when I assumed the position of Organizer. To help me with the colossal task of programming, I've enlisted the aid of a handful of Assistant Organizers. We collaborate with at least 4 other groups so that our membership is shared rather than owned by one association alone. This is what our members want, and this is what our members get. I'm currently running an informal membership drive in order to enrich the knowledge/experience base of our active members . Hopefully, this will facilitate landing library posts and internships by our recent graduates and SILS students. Please visit our online site for first-class offline social networking for librarians (and students). In the spirit of these financial times, there is no annual membership fee. Most events are free or very inexpensive. Our group is as rich as the wealth of sharing and good-will that our members bring with them. Many are second-career people, many in-between jobs. Many are still library students. Whatever their background, I have truly enjoyed giving this most-appreciative group my all.



Stephanie L. Gross, MLS


NY Librarians Meetup