My .02 cents on the library speaking gigs issue

I’ve been reading Meredith Farkas‘ comments on speaking gigs in libraryland and the compensation that speakers at library conferences & events receive. I thought about commenting on her blog, but I have a lot to say about more than just her post, so I’ll just throw my comments out here and let ’em stand on their own!
There has been the occasional bit of information about library speaking gigs that comes out, there is some discussion about it, then it dies down again. Rachel Singer Gordon did a survey about library conference speaking and posted her results in two blog posts. The first describes the results of the survey in numerical form, the second goes deeper into the comments left by the survey respondents. The comments are, for me, the most interesting part of the survey. As someone who speaks at conferences occasionally, I’m always interested to know what others are getting in compensation for the same kind of work (if any, really). One of the things I noticed in all of these conversations is that another regular library-world speaker who is also going to be in Jamaica in June is getting a different deal than I’m getting for the same conference. Without some openness in this topic (which is touchy because it involves money), we’ll never know how to evaluate the opportunities that come our way!
I’m speaking this year at several different events and conferences for several different fee structures. Two of the conferences I’m speaking at I’m paying for travel, some part of the conference registration and all incidentals – out of my own pocket. MPOW (My Place Of Work) is economizing on conferences this year (can anyone say gas prices?) and they can’t afford to pay for all of the things *I* want to do – so I pay for some of them myself. I see it as paying my dues, honestly. Other conferences are paying all of my travel, hotel, registration and food costs – but nothing more. A few are paying all travel expenses as well as an honorarium beyond that. I’m just about going to come out even this year (if you don’t count the 8 day vacation in London – that was freakin’ expensive!!) between the conferences I’m paying to speak at and the ones that are paying me to speak, but as I said earlier – I like to travel, I love to present and I feel that I’m just starting out in this area of my career and I need to pay some dues before I can reasonably expect to make money off this. I did the same thing with my web design work – I did some free and some really deeply discounted sites before I got to the point where I was comfortable asking for real money to design a site.
Because this topic is one that I’m interested in (and I’ve been known to just ask library-land speakers what they charge for particular gigs – cause I’m classy that way…) I wanted to post this here to both get my .02 cents out and to get out some links to some of the discussions that are going on now. Meredith just posted (or rather I just saw – I’m getting so behind on my RSS reading…) a followup to her post I linked to above about compensation for speakers. I’ll be following the comments on this post, too and I’ll be keeping an eye on the wiki that she’s linking to in that post as well that will, hopefully, give some transparency and clarity to the issue of speaker compensation in libraryland.

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