I got into a conversation with Joshua Neff of Library Society of the World fame (among many other things), about this topic and he said – you should blog about it. Who am I to ignore a direct order ;-)
Here is the jist. There are a lot of ways to present in libraryland. You can submit to a conference, which may or may not waive the registration fee and depending on the circumstances offer other compensations including but not limited to travel, hotel & meal expenses. This ranges widely from conference to conference and person to person. Ok I accept that situation. I know there are opinions on which conferences do what, but I’m not addressing that now.
Then there are the other presentations/workshops where you’re asked/invited to come talk/teach/train about something. Some of these are free to attendees (never mind membership dues) and some are fee based.
Here is my issue – if attendees are charged a fee the presenter should expect to be compensated. I’m not saying don’t present without compensation. I agree with Josh, I’m all for sharing information for free. But you should ask up front if attendees be charged a fee. If you’re going to be putting hard work into a presentation, not be compensated, and the organization is charging for attendance, you should ask for a good explanation of why not and where the money is going and what it will be used for. Think about it like this -it’s like working a fundraiser. You are donating time, you have the right to ask questions such as – what is the cause? where does the money end up?