Cogitating about Conference Costs

So okay, I’m still working on several responses to the post on In the Library wth a Lead Pipe and I took a math detour while spinning my wheels on my regular day job stuff.

How much does it cost to go to a Library Conference?
(I’m using on-site registration $$)
CiL = $469 / 3 days of programs
IL = $449 / 3 days of programs
ALA MW = $300 non-member / $190 personal member / 5 days of working meetings and discussion groups
ALA Annual = $370 non-member / $260 personal member (no citation but I think this is acceptably close to accurate) / 5 days (with 300+ programs, plus committee meetings and other events)

But ALA Annual is *big* (freally big ~20K people) and ALA MW is about half that size (and still fvery large)

Are ALA conferences really that expensive?  Should presenters be givien a “bye” on registration?  Here’s where my (limited) math skills come in to play.

300 programs (some have only 1 presenter, some have 2, some are panels of up to 5 or occasionally 6) so I’ll use a multiplier here (pulling this out of my… ear) say average of 1.75 presenters / program.

300 programs * 1.75 presenters = ~525 “complimentary registrations”

525 comps * $260 for on site registration = wait for it… $136,000 or $68,250 if a special half-rate applies to presenters.

Is the potential draw for comp’d speakers going to at least come close to covering this amount?  I wouldn’t hazard a guess, but I would hope so.  Various sub-units of ALA have differing practices on this – I’d love to see BigALA go this route, but I doubt it would fly.

If you had the chance, how would you restructure ALA’s conference finances in a revenue-neutral way?  Feel free to blog it somewhere (Jason did a long while back) or post your thoughts to the Improve ALA wiki at:

2 thoughts on “Cogitating about Conference Costs

  1. You forget 5 days of hotel rooms (~$1000), airplane tickets(~$400), and feeding yourself, which, if we take Anaheim into example, is IMPOSSIBLE to do affordably…. Philly was better with the market right there

  2. And some people are forced to take vacation to attend…

    Over the past year I figure I’ll have spent close to $4000 (of my hard-earned cash) to attend ALA. Do the math, and that’s quite a lot more than the average monthly income of a newbie librarian.

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