The following appears to have been well received by kwlug as an accurate description of what kwlug looks for in meeting location facilities.
Comments for refinement are most welcome - please post them to kwlug-disc.
Wherever we go, we're going to need to manage and meet the expectations of whomever our hosts are, particularly if the space is free - show that we are relevant to the K-W community within which that free space sits.
We also need to know what sort of meeting space we'd like to see.
Some thoughts to seed the discussion:
- cost of entry must be absolutely free.
- reasonably nearby parking of sufficient size must be free.
- on a main bus route.
- big enough, for, say, 40 people, on average.
- chairs; perhaps some tables for those with laptops; projection screen
- QUIET. Working Centre noise is what drove us to look for alternative sites.
- preferable, but we seem to manage if the site doesn't have them to hand: projector, some form of sound system (unless the space is small and quiet enough to not need them.) Best if microphones aren't needed.
- white board? Meeting signs to direct people? One of those giant pads of paper and stand?
- would be nice if larger alternate on-site space were available by pre-arrangement for the better attended topics, e.g. MythTV.
- would be nice if there was space on-site to grab a bite rather than having to go elsewhere. Such would also probably facilitate our 'ask your neighbour' recommendation. Would space, but no restaurant, be acceptable?
- personally I'd prefer to be in K-W, and not the heck the other side of Kitchener.
- Free internet access present. Of some reasonable speed. We have shown that we can largely do without, at the Working Centre, but I don't think people really want to. Enough netbooks are present that I think given two relatively equal choices - one with access, one without, the internet location will be chosen hands down. Even if only for the presenters to be able to show us the web site of whatever they're presenting on.
- not at the Universities - aside from the cost of parking, I think we collide with similar groups already on campus, and they have a slightly different direction than kwlug. (Nothing prevents people from attending both.) kwlug seems focused upon 'downtown everyman', not post-secondary students / academia. No offense to anyone.
There's another aspect that I think we should also discuss. Manulife would have been a fantastic place to meet, probably a really nice setting and environment, but perhaps off-putting to some. On the other hand, the Working Centre, given its raison d'etre, is inherently visible and welcoming to newcomers. Not as stark as a gymnasium but probably not as swank as Manulife. Does the kwlug community have a preference or leaning towards one environment or the other?