As has been pointed out previously, Ning recently announced changes
to their business model: many networks that were once free to run will now be charged a fee. The cost for our network, since we have more than 150 members, would be $199.95 US for the first year (a special introductory price) for the Ning Plus plan. A full breakdown on new Ning pricing plans is here
. The following year the cost is expected to be higher; that cost will be roughly $315 US although there may be special offers encouraging us to renew. This new pricing will be implemented in July, and once in place we will have 30 days to pay into the system or move.
The four administrators of this network have come up with a plan as to what we feel would work best for this network. This post is meant to explain our thinking, and invite your thoughts and suggestions.
The Law Libraries and Librarians
network founded by Jim
is administered by the following volunteers:Connie CrosbyLyonette Louis-Jacques
Elizabeth FarrellOur thoughts:
- We would like to see the Law Libraries and Librarians network continue. At over 700 members (and growing) we feel this network fills a need and has value. It is not tied to a particular association, and is international in scope. It allows anyone with an interest in law libraries and librarianship to participate, regardless of the role you play inside your own organization. It has the potential to allow people to connect and possibly provide professional development opportunities for each other.
- Many other networks have moved away from Ning since the announcement. We feel moving would be too difficult for us, and that we would lose many members in the process.
- While the cost is (for those of us in North America) not too high, it is still more than we want to pay out of pocket personally.
- We do not wish to go to a membership fee model either for this network. Administration of collecting money would create more work for us, and we feel it might prohibit some from continuing with this group. Also, Ning will apparently be taking a portion of membership monies collected through their networking system.
- We like the idea of a "tip jar" system where people can voluntarily contribute a nominal amount if they find value in the network and can afford to contribute (for example, 63 people contributing $5 each would likely cover the cost next year). However, it may be difficult to rally us together to pay this in time.
The next step:
- Look for one sponsor willing to cover the $199 for the first year. We would want this sponsor to be a good fit with this community. We present a very focused membership which would provide a good marketing opportunity. Getting the first year cost covered will give us time to decide for next year whether we would like to continue with a sponsor or move to the tip jar model, or some other solution. Who knows, we may even want to upgrade to the next level up (Ning Pro) to take advantage of more features.
- We came up with a few ideas of potential sponsors to approach. Fortunately, when Roger Skalbeck participated in the May 24th episode of the Law Librarian Conversations podcast and explained our situation, a potential sponsor came forward: NELLCO (the New England Law Library Consortium). We feel they are a good fit and are in the process of negotiating with them; however, it is not too late to hear other ideas.
Once we have finalized what we are going to do, we want to work on encouraging more activity in this network. As community managers we haven't participated enough, haven't been engaging people enough in discussion. This network has so much potential! We need to take this opportunity and see what we can do with it. We will really need your help to give this community some direction and fulfill its potential.We need to hear from you:
Please let us know in the comment space below whether you think this plan makes sense. Do you have other ideas? And how would you like to see this space used?