The regular day for the monthly BIFHSGO meeting on Saturday fell on Thanksgiving weekend. I came by OC Transpo, feeling a seasonal chill in the morning air during the 10-minute walk from uOttawa station while enjoying the display of fall colours.
A friend had told me it would be only the second monthly BIFHSGO meeting he would miss in 20 years, so my expectation for attendance was low. He mentioned catching it on replay. However, I hadn’t expected to see just 20 people in the room! That’s significantly less than last month — blame that on Thanksgiving.
I’ve no idea how many people attended the live presentation online; probably a few times more. It’s a bit of a drag going downtown, certainly for me as Ben Franklin Place was a short drive with good free parking. That would attract folks to online attendance at present.
I enjoyed both presentations; catch them if you can when posted on the members-only part of the society website. I also enjoyed the social interaction between presentations and after.
A couple of people I spoke with mentioned service from Library and Archives Canada. According to one regular researcher, the onsite research facility at 395 Wellington is working quite well. However, there’s been no improvement in LAC’s performance in delivering online orders — months of delay experienced. A comment was that the service deterioration occurred when the Harper government cut funding and has never recovered. Virtually all the specialist expertise was lost at that time, too—something to remember come election time.
During the pandemic, all BIFHSGO meetings and conferences were virtual, which attracted more than a few members outside Greater Ottawa.
BTW, why do some people question the term Greater Ottawa but not Greater London? Ottawa is 70% larger in area. But I digress.
It has long been debated whether the society should aim to attract members from outside the local area — Greater Ottawa — perhaps transforming to BIFHSC — C for Canada. As president, I felt the society didn’t have the means at the time to provide good value to those outside the area. That’s changed, and the present Board strives to provide all members good service, local or away. That does mean providing virtual access to meetings, but the previous Ben Franklin Place meeting space is not well equipped with reliable WiFi, and the will to make the facility suitable. So it sits empty.
One Reply to “BIFHSGO Thanksgiving Meeting”
Hi John, tx for your reflection, I think changing the name would do a lot to encourage membership from outside of Ottawa, ie: the rest of Canada and also Europe! I like the suggestion of BIFHSC — C for Canada. It’s a great organisation, so much to offer, let’s spread the news and the societies’ expertise!