Empowering the Virtual Conference: Ideas, Strategies and Choices in the Times of Corona
As COVID-19 upended our activities as librarians in unprecedented and unexpected ways, the LAUC-B conference committee was faced with the prospect of organizing a successful bi-annual virtual conference. The use of virtual technologies in conference planning during public health-mandated work from off-campus remains minimally documented. Several studies, such as Romano (2020); and Peters and Dickinson (2020), focus on in-person conference planning workflow, but none address the processes of organizing a virtual scenario. The organizing committee, led by Corliss Lee and Shannon Kealey, formed a distinct subcommittee, composed of Kristina Bush, Natalie Marquez, and Liladhar Pendse, to investigate virtual platforms. In this presentation, Natalie and Liladhar will narrate the story of the subcommittee’s work in choosing a virtual platform that would simulate and embody normal and important in-person conference activities and experiences. To establish a baseline, the subcommittee scanned LIS literature for clues regarding conference attendees and planning committee priorities in order to draft a list of salient features needed for a virtual conference. The committee used this list of features to select platforms to review fully and then presented these platforms to the larger committee for collective decision-making. This presentation will highlight the values of proactive collaboration and professional “thinking out loud” among the subcommittee members as well as reporting out to our committee peers.