> So what I'm curious about, is how did the first 3-4 Code4Lib's manage to
> happen in a way that satisfied us, had low conf registration, and had lower
> sponsorship contributions and lower sponsor privileges than it is suggested
> is now required?

I can't speak with authority as I wasn't involved in planning any of them.
But I've done a number of other conferences and I worked at Oregon State for
a long time. My recollection was that facilities and bandwidth were free. No
need to pay for bandwidth or equipment. Generous institutions were
intentionally or unintentionally covering costs. The uni caterer was very

Or have the expenses of putting on a conf gone up for reasons other than
> increased services?  Maybe more stuff used to be done by volunteers that now
> needs to be paid for?  I don't know.

C4l was much smaller then. The smaller the event, the less complicated
things are and the more options you have. There are quite a few regional c4l
events. We held one for a capacity crowd in Portland yesterday. It was about
the same size as the first c4l for roughly the same cost. There is no way
we'd be able to do it so cheaply if we had to triple the size of that same

As size goes up, you find fewer venues capable of hosting it. Space alone
can run well over $20K, equipment and bandwidth can run well into the
thousands, $30K buys very little in terms of food if you're feeding 200+
people -- nonintuitively, the price is often higher per capita than with
smaller groups because of options available or you're required to use a
particular caterer. Mikes, stands, etc all cost money. You'd probably be
amazed what each can of soda and tureen of coffee costs. Food for breaks and
meals is a killer.

In practice, exact charges are hard to nail down because many costs will be
waived or at least reduced substantially depending on what else you get and
factors like room blocks for people coming out of town also make a big
difference. List price if you bought everything a la carte is totally

> Basically, what I don't understand is how 'we' managed to do 3-5 conf's
> with low registration fees, and sponsorships that could be acquired by only
> offering limited sponsorship exposure -- but now we can't anymore. What has
> changed?

I'm certain the committee will work like crazy to make next year's
conference as cheap as possible while providing a great experience. I expect
costs will go up noticeably because everything actually has to be paid for
at market value in an expensive city.

Anyone interested in sharing their knowledge and learning should be welcome,
> but they should not get 20 minutes or an hour in front of a captive audience
> becuase they paid money, rather than becuase the community collectively
> decided we wanted to hear the content, through our usual means.

I'm not sure I've heard any sentiments to the contrary. Good presentations
and participation in discussions are always welcome, shilling is not. The
how and when of recognition is open to discussion.

It's worth pointing out that vendor's get plenty of benefit (as do all other
> participants) when they simply register their staff in the usual way, and
> the staff comes to the conf as an attendee, presents in the usual way (if
> accepted, or lightning), talk to people over meals and in hallways, etc....
 ...What is at issue isn't vendor 'participation', it's sponsorship, how
> much we need, and what we need to offer to get it.

Exactly -- it's all about what's OK and when. My own take is that such
sponsorship should never affect content, but other possibilities are at
least worth discussing.