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Kim Leeder Reed's picture

Final Report with Appendices (DRAFT)

 ALA Young Librarians Working Group

Final Report and Recommendations

Prepared for ALA Executive Board

June 11, 2010



To review and approve the recommendations from the Young Librarians Working Group regarding ALA better meeting the needs of young librarians.



Karen Downing, Co-Chair Young Librarians Task Force

Liz Bishoff, Co-Chair Young Librarians Task Force 



Karen Downing, (734) 615-8610, kdown@umich.edu

Liz Bishoff, (303) 751-6277, Liz.Bishoff@gmail.com 



We propose that the ALA Board accept the recommendations of the Young Librarians Task Force in order to be more responsive to the young librarians that will be its members and future leaders with a goal of increasing retention rates.    



DATE:            June 11, 2010  



Please read attachment.



ALA Young Librarians Working Group

Final Report and Recommendations


I. Introduction/Background


Camila Alire, as President-elect, created a Young Librarians Working Group to investigate ways to encourage young librarians to become better advocates for ALA and the profession. At the 2009 Annual Conference, ALA Executive Board established the Young Librarians Task Force (YLTF), expanding Working Group membership to include representatives from ALA divisions, round tables, and ethnic caucuses (see Appendix I for YLTF charge and membership). The YLTF has prepared the following thirteen recommendations for ALA to use in recruiting and retaining young librarians.


II. Recommendations



  1. By 2011, ALA will track its retention rate for members aged 35 and under, create annual goals and plans for improvement, and post this information on ALA’s website and include it in the Executive Director's report for ALA membership and Council meetings.
  2. By 2013, ALA will offer discounted "electronic publications only" membership.
  3. By 2014, ALA will partner with state/regional chapters for discounted dual membership, heightening the value of membership and streamlining the dues process.


Organizational Changes

  1. By 2011, ALA will establish a task force to monitor and promote activities across the association that focus on recruiting and engaging young professionals. 
  2. By 2012, ALA will partner with NMRT to create New Members Interest Groups (NMIG) across all units and create a Coordinating Committee to foster cross-promotion.
  3. By 2012, ALA will replace the current voting system with one that equalizes candidates and improves opportunities for younger candidates. This software should enable voters to sort candidates based on their experience and include photographs and personal profiles.



  1. By 2012, ALA will institute a deadline for committee appointments and notify unselected volunteers about their alternatives (e.g. ALAConnect or Discussion Groups).
  2. By 2012, ALA will recognize entirely virtual committees, which place every member on equal footing when it comes to participation.
  3. By 2012, Annual will offer more participatory programs, e.g. workshops and discussions.
  4. By 2013, ALA Annual will offer Division-hosted conferences within ALA Conference.
  5. Committee work, aside from articles or presentations, is too often unnoticed. By 2013, ALA will provide tools for units to share the work of their member committees.
  6. By 2013, ALA will make Midwinter attendance optional for service on committees and offer an option for electronic participation at one conference per year.
  7. By 2013, ALA will complete an analysis of each standing committee’s charge, assess whether its charge remains relevant, and determine whether the committee should be disbanded, modified, or maintained. This review should be repeated every five years.


Appendix I: Task Force Charge and Membership



The Task Force will identify strategies and actions for ALA, its offices, committees, divisions and round tables to be more responsive to the young librarians who will be its members and future leaders with a goal of increasing retention rates.    


The Task Force will develop a recommended plan of action with short, medium, and long-term goals for ALA to better meet the needs of young librarians.


To do that the Task Force will:

  • Investigate what affiliates and other professional associations are doing to integrate young professionals into the profession and association.
  • Collect and review data on what young librarians need from ALA.
  • Review ALA activities already underway that may address the needs of young librarians, such as electronic participation.
  • Review how ALA divisions have reorganized to streamline processes, and assess if this has resulted in improved involvement and retention of young librarians.



Lizbeth Bishoff (co-chair)

Karen E. Downing (co-chair)

Sonia Alcantara-Antoine

Xima Avalos

Laurel Bliss

Brett Bonfield 

Emily Ford

Eric Frierson

Kim Leeder

Katherine O’Clair

Alexandra Rivera

Patricia Smith

Kelvin Watson

Jen-chien Yu

John Chrastka (ALA Staff Liaison)



The Task Force functioned through the work of three subcommittees who focused on different areas of the issue, gathered information, and made recommendations that serve as the foundation of this report. Their individual charges and results are included as Appendices II, III, and IV.


Appendix II

Focus Area: Other Professional Associations



This subcommittee used positive deviance methodology (www.positivedeviance.org/) to identify associations that deviate in a positive way from the norm because they are exceptionally good at achieving a specific result. In this instance, the result we hoped to identify was an exceptional ability to retain members aged thirty-five and under.


The subcommittee contacted approximately sixty of ALA's peer associations (see below for a list) and asked four simple questions in order to identify positive deviants:

  1.  How many members do you have?
  2.  What percentage are under 35?
  3.  What is your overall retention rate?
  4.  What is your retention rate for people under 35?


Summary of Findings

Twenty organizations responded. The associations ranged in size from 300 to almost 350,000 members. The percentage of members under age 35 ranged from 8% to 32% (though the latter percentage, something of an outlier, was based on a survey that included only 60% of the association's membership). Overall retention rates ranged from 65-70% to 98%. No association we contacted, including ALA, tracked retention based on its members' age.



Our research method, positive deviance, is quick and inexpensive, but it works best when there are positive outliers that are willing to share their methods. In this instance—associations measuring their ability to recruit and retain younger members, and publicizing their results—there appears to be a void. Therefore, ALA can become the de facto (and default) leader in the conversation by publicizing its methods, goals, and results. As associations join the conversation, they can compare the relative merits of their efforts, refine their techniques, and create organizations that are more welcoming to professionals in many fields, including librarianship.


~Supplemental Information~


Organizations Contacted


Appendix III

Focus Area: Gathering Feedback from Young Librarians



The subcommittee was charged with promoting discussion about why young librarians are (or are not) ALA members in order to better understand how ALA might be more responsive to their needs. In order to solicit broad input to the question, “What would make ALA a better fit for you?” we invited responses from ALA members and non-members on paper, on Twitter using #youngturks, on ALA Connect (163 members), on Facebook (259 members), we held a Text-a-thon (23 responses), we created a Think Tank (84 members), solicited email and YouTube videos, and created, distributed, and analyzed an online survey (150 responses). Analysis of the responses fall into the following categories:


1. Conferences 

Many of our respondents were not impressed with the value ALA Annual or Midwinter provided to them. While the cost of attending ALA is not very different from other library conferences, the perceived value of the events are lower than others mentioned. The way respondents define value is different, but all revolve around notions of relevance, networking, and interaction with others. Our findings all point to the need for more interactivity and stronger pathways into relevant parts of ALA for young librarians. 


2.   Membership

Membership dues are too steep for many young librarians. While there is a gradual increase in price from student member to three-years-experienced members, other membership options might attract or retain more young librarians.


  1. 3.      Involvement/Engagement 

Participation in association committees and governance provides a source of both satisfaction and frustration for our respondents. The cost associated with physically attending conferences often prevents travel, which, in turn, gives people the feeling that they cannot participate.  



Young librarians were overwhelmed by ALA’s size and their perception of its impenetrability. Creating more obvious pathways into the organization will help alleviate barriers to participation, as will more venues for electronic participation.


~Supplemental Information~


Compilation of Responses by Issue


1. ALA Conferences

Many of our respondents were not impressed with the value ALA Annual or Midwinter provided to them. While the cost of attending ALA is not very different from other library conferences, the perceived value of the events are lower than others mentioned. The way respondents define value is different, but all revolve around notions of relevance, networking, and interaction with others.


A. Session Formats: Pleas for Greater Interactivity

"Fewer panel presentations @ conference. More posters, workshops, and interaction.

Encourage more active learning oriented conference programming and less 'show and tell'"


Lackluster conference presentations are not unique to ALA, however this respondent makes a plea for interactivity. They would like ALA to focus on those sessions that allow more networking, more hands-on learning, and more one-to-one conversations.


B. Participant-driven Programming: Relevance and Interactivity

"ALA needs to have an organic quality to it more along the lines of the MIGs-it needs to be easier to start new discussion groups and better ways to encourage research & presentation w/in the larger org. & divisions."


This comment speaks to both the relevance of general sessions and the importance of interactivity at conferences. Discussion groups are often perceived as more valuable for many people because of their focus and their format. Discussion groups and Membership Interest Groups should be highlighted more prominently as exciting aspects of conference to drive people to the kind of experience they want.


C. Size and Scope Obscure Relevant Conference Content

"I have found smaller, more narrowly focused organizations that are more relevant to my career interests."


While ALA is defined by its all-inclusive nature, many people feel short-changed when they don't find enough experiences relevant to their jobs. While general sessions should address issues of all libraries, more emphasis should be placed on the contributions of divisions (which are also the source of value for membership in ALA). Perhaps having “conferences within ALA conference,” where divisions can highlight their programs, committee meetings, and gatherings may help emphasize relevant content for attendees.


D. Two Meetings a Year is Too Much

"I actually enjoy ALA conferences. Although I think we should probably move to just one conference a year, I really enjoy my time at both conferences."


"My work pays for me to go and I really want to get involved in ALA committee work, but they can’t afford to send me to two ALA conferences a year."


"Two conferences a year is too expensive for people not making a sizable salary (and most of us don't)."


Young librarians in particular have lower salaries because of their inexperience. While no librarian makes a lot of money, two conferences a year are cost-prohibitive to those making entry-level salaries and favor those with longevity. As a result, participation in committees, discussion groups, and the conferences, especially at Midwinter, favor those librarians with seniority and longevity, dampening the voice of new professionals.


E. Networking

All participants that have a positive view of the conferences cited their colleagues and networking, not programming or events, as the source of the value they derived from attendance:


"To me, the most valuable part of being active at conferences has been getting to know my colleagues from across the nation. Working with all these people has inspired me and taught me a lot about librarianship."


"I've met wonderful, creative, inspiring people through ALA and I love getting to see them at conference and meeting new people every time."


"People who are so smart and innovative... it's exciting to go to conference and hear what their projects are and keeps me energized about the profession."


2.   Membership

Membership dues are too steep for many young librarians. While there is a gradual increase in price from student member to three-years-experienced members, other membership options might attract or retain more young librarians.


A. Membership Dues

"Cheap membership dues and conference registration fees for the unemployed" 


"More partnership with regional library associations for joint membership pricing"

"More options re: tiered membership pricing" 


"My library school offered dual membership to TLA and ALA for one price, so I was able to be a member of both organizations while in library school for the price of one." 


Membership dues are too steep for many librarians. While there is a gradual increase in price from student member to three-years-experienced members, other membership options, including lower cost, electronic-only memberships could be offered for those who do not wish to receive paper communication from the association. Partnering with regional chapters for discounted dual membership is also a way to heighten the value of membership and streamline the membership process for members.


B. Membership Benefits

"I actually think ALA can learn much from Web Junction. Providing an infrastructure for communication was the beginning, now ALA needs to add content, classes, webinars, and more for free (to members). That would be a draw." 


"American Libraries is the worst of all the library association magazines." 


Members believe that their membership dues should be paying for more tangible benefits aside from division and association publications. ALA professional development opportunities offered free of cost should be made more available to members. With the size of our profession and our helpful disposition, ALA may be able to solicit people to do workshops free of charge if ALA would just provide the technology to enable the workshops to be hosted online.


C. Division Membership 

"I am totally bummed that to join ACRL I have to join ALA – it means I don’t belong to either. Truthfully, I would rather belong to a smaller organization related to my area of specialty." 


"I wouldn’t mind joining YALSA, but ALA holds no interest to me otherwise."


By far, the most cited reason for continuing ALA membership is the personal networking opportunities ALA presents. Some member provided suggestions on how ALA could facilitate these personal relationships and working groups more effectively.


"Partnerships through ALA with other librarians allow for collaborative effort to make positive effort on libraries across the nation."


"I joined ALA out of grad school because it was the 'thing to do,' but I stayed in ALA because of the enthusiastic and committed people [in ALA]." 


"To me, the most valuable part of being active at conferences has been getting to know my colleagues from across the nation. Working with all these people has inspired me and taught me a lot about librarianship."

  1. 3.                  Involvement/Engagement

Participation in association committees and governance provides a source of both satisfaction and frustration for our respondents. The cost associated with physically attending conferences often prevents travel, which, in turn, gives people the feeling that they cannot participate. 

A. Facilitating Networking and Informal Work Groups

"Multiple networking unconference spaces w better reservation system to reserve space."


"Ala needs to have an organic quality to it more along the lines of the MIGs-it needs to be easier to start new discussion grps and better ways to encourage research & presentation w/in the larger org. & divisions."


Participation in association committees and governance provides a source of satisfaction and frustration for our respondents. 


B. Virtual Participation Opportunities

"I’ve never been active in committees because I can’t go to any of the meetings (they are always too far away and too expensive for me)." 


"My work pays for me to go and I really want to get involved in ALA committee work, but they can’t afford to send me to two ALA conferences a year." 


"I feel like a 2nd class member because I cannot REALLY participate. For instance, I had the good fortune to have been appointed to a position on a council as an intern, but could not accept because I was told there was no way for me to virtually participate and I could not afford to travel to both Annual and Midwinter."


The cost of attending conferences prevents travel, which gives people the feeling that they cannot participate. More emphasis should be placed on creating virtual committees or virtual task forces that can contribute to the association and the profession. While committees do have virtual member positions, this too tends to create a "second class membership" when much of the work happens in physical meetings at conference. ALA should consider entirely virtual committees, so that every member is on equal footing when it comes to participation.


C. Committee Appointments

"I've applied several times and never heard anything. Don't leave us hanging. If I don't make it on the committee of my choice, please let me know and offer alternatives. As of now, it's very hard to get involved without knowing someone on the inside." 


Young librarians, in particular, have found it difficult to find roles in available committees, and the perception is that you must know someone in order to be selected for membership. When not selected, no notice is given and no alternative participation avenues are offered, leaving those not selected "hanging" and disappointed. ALA should institute a deadline for committee appointments and send out an automated message to all non-selected volunteers acknowledging their willingness to contribute and offering other venues for participation, like communities on ALAConnect or Discussion Groups at annual conference.


D. Committee Work

"I get frustrated with committees that do nothing all year, or solicit feedback but then do nothing with it!"


"The work I do [on committees] seems to get lost." 


"It seems like a lot of the work that goes on within ALA has little impact on anything. That may just be my perception, though, since I am still fairly new to the profession and organization."


Unless a committee publishes an article or presents at conference, the work a committee does largely goes unnoticed, even within the sections and divisions the committee is in. ALA could provide tools for ALA units to articulate and share the work of their member committees. For example, ACRL requires each of its division-level committees report what work it has done and have that work explicitly tied to ACRL's strategic plan. This list of work could be shared with the membership of the division not only as a way to keep committees accountable, but also to make the work that they do more visible and more accessible.


E. Committee Structure

In addition to wanting to know how the existing committees are tied to the work of the organization in general, young librarians expressed a desire for an overall assessment of the very existence of these committees. ALA could perform a periodic (every five years) analysis of what the standing committees are charged with, if the charges are still relevant to the organization’s strategic plan, and whether the committee should be cut, changed (i.e. if its charge might be better met with a more loosely organized working group), or kept as is.



Appendix IV

Focus Area:  ALA Offices, Divisions, Roundtables, and Activities



This subcommittee contacted entities within ALA to identify existing efforts within the organization. To this end, committee members acquired information from divisions, sections, offices, and additional groups within the association. Contact was made largely by email, but some phone contact was involved. The results are included as supplemental information (pp. 13-18). Responding units reporting activities of benefit to young librarians include:

  • Offices: Chapter Relations Office (CRO), Office for Diversity, Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR)
  • Divisions: American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), Reference & User Services Association (RUSA)
  • Other Groups: New Members Round Table (NMRT)


Summary of Findings

The subcommittee found that while many individual units within ALA are making important efforts to engage young librarians, the overall effect is fragmented at best. Some units either do not identify young librarians as a priority or do not know how to address the issue. Many units count on their annual sponsorship of an Emerging Leader and conference social events to build investment from young librarians. Further, units generally target "new member" and "new librarian" recruitment without emphasis on younger, first-career professionals. There are no best practices for involving young members and no coordination across the association to increase the impact of units' varied initiatives.


The subcommittee identified several apparently successful models for young librarian engagement that may serve as inspiration for larger incorporation across the association. Specifically, these initiatives were notable among all the units' efforts:

  • HRDR's Emerging Leaders program has been largely successful in attracting young librarians and assisting them in obtaining committee appointments and increasing their association involvement. Additionally, the program has been successful in gaining buy-in from across ALA units through sponsorship opportunities and project creation.
  • Committee Internships
  • Student to staff work
  • New member interest groups, such as the one created by ALCTS, stand out as a "stepping stone" for young librarians who may not yet have decided upon specific committee interests or whose careers are not yet defined. These groups offer both a committee appointment and the opportunity for young members to "have a voice" in the association through project and program planning, as well as involvement in unit leadership.



While the subcommittee acknowledges the important efforts taking place individually among ALA units, a more consistent and coordinated effort across the association is recommended to increase impact and assist units in recruiting and engaging young members. It is strongly recommended that as many young librarians as possible be involved at all levels of this initiative.

~Supplemental Information~


I. Strategy for finding out what a division/office does to retain and involve young librarians.

  • Explore Division/Office Website
  • Identify any membership or appointment committees and look at documentation from those groups
  • Contact the chair of the division asking for the right people to talk to about their efforts


II. ALA Offices: Responses


A. Chapter Relations Office (CRO)   

Even though we have programs for students, such as student-to-staff and joint student memberships, we don't have any specifically targeted to just those 35 and under. All students are eligible (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/affiliates/chapters/student/studentchapters1.cfm).


It's important to ensure that young librarians are engaged in every aspect of ALA. They need to be in on discussions concerning strategic planning, programming, etc., and need to be appointed to committees, elected to Council, elected to leadership roles in round tables, etc. Every ALA door of opportunity should be accessible to young librarians. Of course, the same holds true for all librarians, however they self-describe themselves.  


B. Governance

According to JoAnne Kempf, Director of the Governance Office, "The ALA Governance Office does not really work directly with libraries and librarians. We facilitate the operations of the association by working with the Executive Board and Council and the president and their initiatives, so as far as having any programs that would directly relate to retaining young librarians, no we do not have any in our office. This is not something that our office would do."


C. Office for Diversity

Abbreviated version of email with Gwendolyn Prellwitz re: Spectrum Scholarship Program. "As administrators of such a large recruitment initiative we naturally generate programs and services targeting newer professionals. Since Spectrum does have an emphasis on recruiting for diversity we tend to target our resources more on amount of career experience than age. It does so happen that we are seeing our Spectrum cohorts skewing younger in recent years. We hold a dialogue during the Spectrum Leadership Institute about race/gender/age dynamics. Additionally, managing generations in the workplace and harnessing the power of young professionals are areas that we may develop training on in the very near future. We're also hoping to receive a grant this summer that will help us target our recruitment efforts more specifically at high school and undergraduate students. We're also planning to expand our offerings in the area of publicly available trainings since some of what we provide Spectrum Scholars is considered part of their unique benefit and we keep it a little under wraps. We also hope to do some work through that grant to identify recruitment messages that resonate with a younger audience."


D. Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR)

From a conversation with Lorelle Swader, HRDR Director:

  • HRDR itself focuses on serving incoming professionals.
  • Scholarship programs help encourage people to be lifelong members and leaders.
  • Placement Center helps those who are new to the profession get their first job.
  • Emerging Leaders program (see below) .
  • Internships: HRDR has taken over coordinating internships to ALA and Council-level committees, working with the TOLD committee (training, orientation and leadership development).
  • General recruitment to the profession.
  • Outreach to library school students, providing an introduction to ALA and the profession.
  • The ALA liaison to NMRT is part of HRDR.
  • Emerging Leaders. According to Peter Bromberg, member/facilitator of the Emerging Leaders (EL) program subcommittee, survey data shows that ELs are more satisfied with the program every year, but satisfaction rates are still low at 72%. The subcommittee is contacting both mentors and groups to make sure that communication is happening between all parties, which were a major complaint in previous years. New this year: creation of the EL Interest Group on ALA Connect: all ELs are included automatically. The ELIG steering committee has control over a two-hour program slot at Annual, which gives them visibility and a way for ELs to remain active after their participation in the one-year Emerging Leaders program.


E. Office for Research & Statistics (ORS)

There is an ongoing Member Demographics Study posted on the ALA website (http://www.ala.org/ala/research/initiatives/membershipsurveys/index.cfm). Summary of findings (retrieved June 11, 2010):


Beginning in May 2005, ALA invited members to participate in a brief demographic survey. As of May 27, 2010, 54,135 members have participated. A review of the responses indicates greater stability in the distributions of responses of age by decade and steady increase in youngest members responding to the questions. Three-quarters our current membership has participated in this voluntary, self-selected survey.


Baby boomers – born between 1946 and 1964 – represent 46.2 percent of the ALA membership responding as of the May 2010 analysis of the ALA Member Demographic Survey. Members already at retirement age (over age 65 and born in years up to 1945) represent 6.4 percent (3,343) of those who provided a date of birth in their response. If we estimate retirement age beginning at age 62, then about 13.4 percent of members reporting their date of birth fall into that range (approximately 7,010).


Membership remains largely unchanged since ALA began collecting these characteristics. Not dissimilar from the library profession overall, ALA members are:

  • Predominantly female (80.3% female to 18.8% male)
  • Predominantly white (86.3%), and
  • Hold an MLS or other Master’s degrees (63.4% and 25.7%, respectively).


III. ALA Divisions: Responses


A. American Association of School Librarians (AASL)   

You are correct in that AASL sponsors two Emerging Leaders and endeavors to get all ELs who are school librarians involved in some way. We have an Appointments Committee that looks for all types of diversity. One of our staff members, a student herself, is in the process of setting up a community for students. We also give the following award annually: Frances Henne Award: Established in 1986, the $1,250 award recognizes a school librarian with five years or less experience who demonstrates leadership qualities with students, teachers and administrators, to attend an AASL conference or ALA Annual Conference for the first time. Applicants must be AASL personal members. Like ELs, this does not guarantee that the recipients are "young" — only new to the profession.


From my observation, "young" librarians are embraced by the division leadership (no strong tradition of "serving your time" in AASL), so I believe they are equally attracted to all initiatives. Often, an "older" chair will mentor a "younger," newer member into a project.  

You did not ask about challenges, but I will answer anyway. School librarians as a whole seem to be an older demographic as they more often than not come to school librarianship from a teaching career. A number of states have the teaching requirement as a prerequisite for certification. Also, when we do identify "young in age" school librarians, we often find that family responsibilities (e.g. young children) limit their already limited time. 


B. Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)


i) ACRL overall initiatives:

  • Top 10 Ways to Get Involved in ACRL (http://www.acrl.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/about/membership/involved.cfm)
  • “ACRL Involvement Ideas” (publication)
  • ACRL OnPoint Chat: November 12, 2009: Getting Involved With ACRL. In this discussion, ACRL Vice-President Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis answer questions about the wide variety of ways to make the most of your membership by getting involved in ACRL. Learn how and when committee appointments are made along with other ways you can become more active in the ACRL community and contribute to the profession.
  • ACRL members can create Interest Groups within ACRL for areas of current interest that are not otherwise well represented. Interest Groups are designed to provide a more dynamic system for members to form groups around important emerging issues in the profession and to increase opportunities for involvement within our organization. Interest Groups are intended to be very fluid, and can be formed easily and disband quickly in response to environmental changes. For more information, see the "Interest Group FAQ" (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/resources/tipsheets/ig_faq08.pdf).
  • The ACRL Residency Interest Group has launched a new podcast series called the "Newbie Dispatches."  It is a set of podcasts on a variety of topics of interest to current library school students, recent graduates, early career librarians, and former and current library residents. The first podcast is on publishing a manuscript for the first time, writing a manuscript prospectus, and getting into the world of academic publishing (http://acrl.ala.org/residency/?cat=273).


ii) College Libraries Section (CLS)

According to Irene Herold, Vice Chair, College Libraries Section, CLS sponsored Friday Night Feast dinners at the last ACRL conference (with a really inexpensive dinner, and a free dinner for any new CLS members). Our support of an Emerging Leader is something else, too. Plus the Research Coach, while not specifically targeted toward the identified population, might by default include a larger portion of that group who are still working on their first publications, whether for tenure or professional growth.


iii) Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) 

The following initiatives of the section have been popular with new and younger members:

  • Scholarship Committee (http://rbms.info/committees/scholarships/index.shtml).
  • The Buddy Program, sponsored by the Membership and Professional Development Committee, provides first time conference attendees with an experienced RBMS member to guide the newcomer through their conference experience (http://rbms.info/committees/membership_and_professional/buddy_program/index.shtml).
  • The Mentoring Program, sponsored by the Membership and Professional Development Committee, is designed to facilitate communication between RBMS members and to support their professional development as special collections librarians, curators, and archivists. It is open to all members of RBMS, old or new, who need help in becoming more involved with RBMS and in navigating the rare books and manuscripts profession (http://rbms.info/committees/membership_and_professional/mentoring_program/index.shtml).
  • The Membership and Professional Development Committee of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries, American Library Association (ALA), has developed “Educational Opportunities: A Directory” to aid both prospective and current members of the profession in navigating various educational opportunities for special collections librarianship. Currently, the directory lists graduate coursework offered within degree programs leading to a graduate library degree (MLS) (http://rbms.info/committees/membership_and_professional/educational_opportunities/index.shtml).
  • At the annual RBMS Preconference, we do an Orientation to RBMS Program prior to the opening reception and hold a new members social (dutch-treat dinner)
  • The newest project of the M&PD Committee is a (hopefully) soon-to-be-launched FAQ for librarians and archivists new to the profession.
  • The RBMS Diversity Committee (http://rbms.info/committees/diversity/index.shtml) has an active outreach program. They have developed a toolkit for introducing special collections librarianship to high-school, undergraduate, graduate, and paraprofessionals. The Diversity Committee is co-chaired by Veronica Reyes-Escudero and Athena Jackson.


iv) University Libraries Section (ULS)  

  • Conference socials.
  • Creation of new committees on engaging current issues has brought in some new/young members.
  • Sponsored an EL, which led to her being appointed to multiple ULS committees.


C. Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)

  • Includes Interns on committees within the division.
  • Any person who fills out volunteer form gets some sort of appointment.
  • There are virtual committee memberships.
  • The new Public Library Tech services IG seems to have attracted a lot of people.
  • According to Deborah A. Ryszka, Chair of the ALCTS Membership Committee:
    • ALCTS 101: Targeted to newer members. After ALCTS 101, ALCTS hopes to host a happy hour or social.
    • Will be partnering with NMRT to do outreach to students and student chapters
    • There are virtual members
    • Working on messaging scenarios to welcome people to the division, to celebrate anniversaries in the division (5, 10 years, etc), as well as did you forget to renew messages.
    • Hoping to do a retention study for those who do drop membership. Try to re-engage these people with possibilities including lower division fees for a while, lower pre-conference costs, or, for those who want, appointment to a committee.
    • Recommendations: get people involved and they will stay; reduce conference and membership rates; mentoring; networking opportunities for younger people, create a buddy system for conference that pairs a new attendee with a veteran attendee so they can have a dialog before and during conference (might partner with NMRT)
  • ALCTS New Member Interest Group
    • Hosting an "ALCTS, What's in it for me?" program at Annual.
    • ALCTS 101 at Annual: presents sections and provides networking opportunity.
    • Hosting forums (online, asynchronous discussions) on topics related to the group. Noticed in these that people would really like more affordable regional events.
    • A call for bloggers and volunteers is on their Connect space.
    • The IG was created for new members to have a voice. To this end, the structure includes "community coordinators" as that voice.
    • ALCTS is a diverse and talented community. The goal is to set up a structure around this community.


D. Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)

BIGWIG stands for the Blogs, Interactive Groupware Wikis Interest Group, but since its founding in 2005 BIGWIG has been the "Social Software" IG of LITA. Unlike most Interest Groups, BIGWIG is active throughout the year. It is responsible for maintaining the LITABlog and LITA Wiki, and it has taken on several other projects since its inception, including conference blogging and podcasting, as well as podcasts of interviews with candidates for LITA offices.


E. Reference & User Services Association (RUSA)

  • Had an Emerging Leaders Task Force and is funding Emerging Leader participants.
  • RUSA is experimenting with virtual conference attendance.
  • There is a Spectrum Scholars initiative.
  • "Five Things A New Librarian Should Know About" is a RUSA Presidential initiative to have each committee post a web page with five key pieces of information that each new librarian should know about the committee.


F. Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA)

IV. Other Groups working towards this goal within ALA: Responses



  • Numerous online discussion opportunities through its email discussion list.
  • Hosts conference orientations in which speakers discuss how to make the most of the conference experience.
  • NMRT’s current councilor is proactive in disseminating information to members about how council works.
  • There are guaranteed committee appointments.
  • There is virtual participation. 
  • NMRT sponsors an Emerging Leader.
YLTF.Final_.Report.6.11.2010.pdf55.64 KB
Aaron Dobbs's picture

This may go over a bit better if you change this:

"We propose that the ALA Board accept the recommendations of the Young Librarians Task Force in order to be more responsive to the young librarians that will be its members and future leaders with a goal of increasing retention rates."

to this:

"We propose that the ALA Board accept these recommendations of the Young Librarians Task Force to present a more coherrent introduction to ALA for new members that will be its members and future leaders with a goal of increasing retention rates."

Here's why I suggest this:

I understand the charge of YLTF is focused on young librarians, however, imho:

  1. The more inclusive "new" (which implies/includes "young") will resonate better with Council members
  2. "More responsive" provides a focus point for pushback, as there are still Councilors who feel newer (including younger) members need to adapt better to the existing ALA organization
    Presenting it as "more coherrent" provides less focus, as many Councilors recognize ALA is not always coherrent :)

This really needs to get out to the Council List (alacoun@ala.org) as soon as possible -- Councilors will need time to digest it *before* it comes onto the floor...

Are you open to making this draft "Public" and inviting pre-Annual comment from Councilors? I'm happy to post a link to Council list if you're willing.



"Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

Laurel Bliss's picture

Aaron, just a couple of points of clarification.  This document is being presented to the Executive Board, not Council.  As you noted, using the word "young" rather than "new" reflects the group's charge from Camila Alire.

Aaron Dobbs's picture

Whoops, I did overlook that this was an EB task force... thanks for the clarification :)


"Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

Camila Alire's picture


The Task Force is a presidential task force that I set up upon Ex Board's recommendation at ALA Midwinter 2010.  So, the document is not a Council document because this is not a Council Task Force.  The document has to go to ALA Board as per the Board's charge.  Hope this clarifies this.  thanks!   CAMILA

Molly Raphael's picture

I am very pleased to see this report and its recommendations and look forward to joining the Executive Board at the end of the DC Conference to see how we can move this important issue forward.  Involvement of younger members as a priority has become increasingly important in many parts of ALA, and the work of this TF helps bring those efforts together.  For me as I begin my new role as ALA President-Elect, I am particularly interested in how together we create the "pathways" into the Association.  We should also be looking to see how we might create some of the same kinds of opportunities and pathways for student members to make the transition after they graduate.  I am excited to see how much all of you have already done.  Thanks to the members of the TF for your excellent work.

Camila Alire's picture

Thanks for your comments, Molly.  I, too, think they did a good job and am pleased to know you are interested in the thoughts of all our Young Turks out there.  CAMILA

Dr. Camila Alire

ALA President

ALA-APA President


ALAlire Blog:  http://camilaalire.wordpress.com

Dean Emeritus
University of New Mexico
  & Colorado State University
7070 Ridgeview Circle
Sedalia, CO  80135
Home:  303-814-2724
Cell:     303-913-8341

Camila Alire's picture

Folks --
You still have the OLD date [June, 2010] listed.  Unless you intended to send the OLD draft revised?  CAMILA

Dr. Camila Alire

ALA Immediate Past President

ALA-APA Immediate Past President


Dean Emeritus
University of New Mexico
  & Colorado State University
7070 Ridgeview Circle
Sedalia, CO  80135
Home:  303-814-2724
Cell:     303-913-8341