Should I Pay To Present @ LITA?

This is one of those good news / bad news posts.
Good news:

On behalf of the LITA Forum Planning Committee, I am pleased to notify you that your proposal for a program at the 2005 LITA National Forum in San Jose, CA, "LISNews: Collaborative Open Source Librarian News", has been accepted as a concurrent session. Please reply to this message

Bad news:

LITA can't pay travel or lodging for concurrent session presenters. Presenters are also expected to register for the forum, albeit at a discounted rate.

Worse news:
Work won't pay for me to go. So that means I'll need to spend (I'm guessing) $800 to present at LITA.

So my question, for those who are wise in the ways of conferences.... If you were me, would you do it? Money is an issue, but this won't send me into bankruptcy or anything close.


That reminds me, I need to start the LISNews spring fund drive to pay for the server! I'm not sure I'd feel right about asking for ya'll to spit up more money to send me to CA as well.

note: I don't know how prestigious the LITA forum is

However, I'd say that unless you combine this with a vacation, pass. It's a lot of money, far away and I just think, in a general sense, that having people who are resenting also pay for the conference is wrong. Every single time I've spoken at a non-ALA event, I've gotten at least my registration fee paid for and more often than not an honorarium. Usually it's travel + a small honorarium plus meals. I know ALA, and by association LITA does things differently, but IMHO I volunteer enough for that organization in the first place [as do you I think] to want to do more unpaid work, especially if you are not looking for a new job or fresh out of library school.


Well...I wonder. My guess is that this would fall into the "miscellaneous expense" category where you can only claim if all misc. expenses are greater than 2% or 3% (or whatever) of your AGI (you know, medical expenses, tax preparation expenses). Unless Blake has a schedule-C business and can claim that this constitutes business travel, and deduct as a business expense. Which works fine IFF (not a mistake) you still earn a net profit on the business three out of five years. (Otherwise, IRS says "Hobbyist!" and disallows all the expenses.)

But I'm no tax or legal professional either.

You're not the first to suggest the LISNews schwag. If I have some time some day I'll see if I can make anything worthwhile.

Hey don't feel bad, you provide a lot of stuff here with LISNews. Time after time this place scoops the major library news organs, plus the posters here are kind of like a family. (Dysfunctional and screaming at each other 24/7?)

All kidding aside LISNews is a Good Thing. My thought is, if you are looking for help, why not add a library shop of LISNews swag? Tee shirts, buttons, tote bags, mouse pads and coffee cups are all items that might sell in a shop.

Most online shops are free to setup, so it’s a pretty low maintenance revenue stream. Besides, what better way to get the word of LISNews out there, then to have shirts and stuff show up at the conferences? Blake might not be able to appear at ALA 2005, but a few of his tee shirts or buttons might, and that results in more exposure for LISNews.

Just an idea.

You can tell yourself that it'll come out to less than that $800, once you figure in your tax deduction.

(At least, I think it's a deductible expense. But I'm not a tax or legal professional, despite what many of my library users think, so don't take my word for it.)

I work for an nonprofit organization whose biggest activity for the year is organizing and staging a conference for engineers to present their papers. All of our presenting authors are expected to pay to attend the conference (at the discounted "Member" rate, whether they are members or not). If the presenters did not pay, there would be no conference, as these folks make up the bulk of our attendance. As one other commenter put it, yes, in fact, the content does have to pay for itself. The authors want to publish and present, and they also want to see/hear what everybody else is up to ... and SOMEBODY has to help cover the overhead of running the big event, with all the rooms, the AV, the catering, etc., etc. I assure you that it is an expensive proposition, pulling off a conference of any size.

Again with my dimly remembered experience of planning a program for ALA, I think my speakers did not have to pay to register at all.

I'd like to hear from someone who has more experience than I do on that one. My guess is it's common, but I don't know if it's considered the norm.

That was the part that suprised me as well. I did get asked to pay for one other conference once when I did present, but I don't know if that's common or not.

The LITA Forum is a fairly high-profile event. (I've never been, but...) I've heard it's worthwhile. A speech there may look good on your vita. I would say "...and might spread the word on LISNews," but that word seems pretty well spread already.

I wouldn't, at this stage of my career--but it's quite possible that I would have 20 years ago, if I could afford it.

I always assumed that whenever you propose speeches or conference sessions, you're setting yourself up for an unpaid gig. But what do I know? I haven't proposed a speech or conference session in...well, a long time. (Not that I'm in such high demand: Zero outstanding commitments. Just that I wouldn't be willing to pay my own way, and I don't feel the need to be out there speaking.)

I held off assuming that people more aware of the proposed-session environment would answer. Maybe they will...

Wow! Well, if this conference was in AK I'd be more excited, that's one state I can't wait to visit.

heh, I can too! I tend to think of this as more of an investment than anything else though.

Seriously. This reminds me of when I worked in the music biz. Our bands would often be asked to "pay to play" at festivals.

Is this a pretty standard thing?

I can see Flight and Room costs, but

"LITA can't pay travel or lodging for concurrent session presenters. Presenters are also expected to register for the forum, albeit at a discounted rate"

This just seems WRONG to me, they want the content to pay for itself? LOL, There should be no fee for presenters.

I would definitely go anyway. I'm at a stage in my career where I am trying to present and publish things that interest me as much as I can. And, unfortunately, paying for conferences is just one of those things that you have to suck up and pay for out of pocket sometimes in order to advance your career/vita.

Weird. I planned a program for ALA a long time ago, and while I don't think we were given enough money to totally cover everything, I think we were able to defray some of the speakers' expenses. And we also took them out for something to eat and gave them a present.

$800 sounds steep to me, especially because I think of your work at LISNews as being fairly high profile, but maybe that's just because I'm on this site all the time. If the presentation will look spectacular on your vita and you are up for tenure/promotion/whatever soon, you might want to do it, but I can sure think of a bunch of stuff I'd rather spend $800 on :)

I don't have near Walt's experience, but I wouldn't pay hundreds to present at a conference.

My library doesn't have much travel money, but they will pay for in-state trips if you are presenting at least one session.

Hence, I will take a plane on Thursday to Barrow,> to present two sessions at the Alaska Library Association 2005>

I'm a little daunted by weather this time of year, but it is probably the only chance I'll have to visit the shores of the Arctic Ocean. I'm grateful for the opportunity. But if I had to pay for it on my own, I probably wouldn't have gone.

Paying to present is a nasty thing. It's come up on some physics teacher lists that I try to read. It's not uncommon, sadly, but it seems unfair to ask full price from a presenter.

I suggest you ask LISNewsters for some money to offset the cost, or, better yet, ask the conference for a big discount, explaining that you're already paying plenty of $$ to keep this place running. I'd be very surprised if they'd turn you down.

I am far from wise in the way of conferences, but I'd have to pass on this one. For pete's sake, you have to fund-raise to keep this site going as it is. Why pay money for the opportunity to attract more attention that just might cost you more in time and resources once you get it? Then again, I'm not in the "vita construction zone".

I'd never expect to be paid to speak, but rather I'd love it if I didn't have to pay to speak. I do understand it must be tough for them to cover everyone's expenses, so I don't hold a grudge.

This year will be much tighter, financially, than previous years, so I need to make sure I'm spending my money in ways that count. The VITA angle is one that counts for me. As for the word being spread, I'm not so sure, *maybe* LISNews has a decent name recognition with the LITA crowd, but I bet it's still less than half. At ALA I bet it would be %20 at most. I always feel like people overestimate how many people know about us, but maybe I underestimate? So I think spreading the word on LISNews is also something good, and I don't think the word is spread.

I'm just looking to see what people think, I'm kind of hoping someone will try to talk me out of it! No luck so far. I'm still on the fence. If only it was a few hundred less.