We've discussed all sorts of things - carbon credits, virtual attendance, reducing paper use....but they really only cover some of the things that make for a sustainable conference. We have to think wider than just environmental concerns. What about the people involved? How do we ensure that the LIANZA Conference can be run regularly?
Here are my top five.
1. Be a member of LIANZA
LIANZA itself has been around for a long time. Founded in 1910 its goal is to "...promote libraries and information, to foster the profession and to provide professional leadership. " The number of LIANZA members is a good indication of how many people would potentially attend a conference about library and information services.
2. Talk to exhibitors
Ask them how they think they could help you. If they're busy then leave a note with contact details so they can block out a time to talk to you during conference. This is the one of the few times you'll be able to talk to a number of vendors easily in a short period of time in a reasonably relaxed atmosphere. Vendors work with us to help us provide our services to our customers. They sponsor conference and support the work we do. We have to support them too.
3. Present a paper or encourage others to
A conference is only as good as the content it serves up. If something excites you then it's likely to excite others as well. Have you conducted some research that could be shared with a wider audience? Bring it to conference. Encourage colleagues to present. In the February "Library Life" there is a Soapbox article that talks about NZ librarians doing great work only no-one knows because they don't tell anyone. Here is your chance to contribute to improving library and information services in New Zealand.
4. Volunteer on the Conference committee
Most of the people who work to bring you conference are volunteers. They fit conference work in and around their day job (and kudos to the organisations who allow them to.) I'm finding it great fun as well as professionally very interesting. Without volunteers conference would not happen.
5. Lobby to attend conference then do something with the information you hear, see, experience
This should probably be number one on the list because without attendees conference certainly wouldn't be sustainable. In order to increase your chances of attending let your funder/manager etc know what you're hoping to get out of conference and what you expect to bring back to your organisation. Do more than just report back; implement something.
Can you think of any more points that should be on this list?