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Midwinter 2011 Minutes - Membership Committee

With true thanks to Richard Kong, committee Intern and Information Services Manager Arlington Heights (IL) Memorial Library, for taking these minutes. 

ALA Membership Committee

January 9, 2011 - San Diego Midwinter


  • Welcome from Kay Cassell
  • Membership Statistics (John Chrastka)
    • membership in 2010 down by 0.88% from 2009, pretty good.
    • softest spot is our organizational membership (institutions).
      • biggest reason of decreased organizational membership is lack of funds.
      • messages about the value of organizational membership need to be communicated.
    • personal membership held pretty stable.
      • speed of renewals is important (taking longer for people to renew).
      • renewal rate is down, but reinstatement is up, which tells us people are not renewing right away.
      • not that ppl don’t want to be involved with us, but that they can’t.
      • ALA anticipating changes in economy and retiring members.
    • as more ppl work in libraries, our membership increases. directly linked.
      • still operating in a bad economy, dealing with beginning of more retirements.
      • big question: what will ALA look like in the next 5-10 years?
      • smaller organization, regardless of ability to retain retired members.
      • the ppl who are going to be here will have less competition to get involved. fewer people so more opportunities.
    • this fiscal year has opened a little bit softer than last year, but this was expected due to divisional national conference schedules per FY.
    • question from member about incentivizing renewals.
      • something to look into.
    • many are still renewing via paper.
    • question: are we partnering with state associations?
      • Yes, a number of state associations are working in conjunction with ALA to offer joint memberships.
    • question: would it ever make sense to move to a sliding scale for membership dues?
      • ALA board made decision that it isn’t going to work as a national association.


  • Retirement issues: what is ALA doing about this?
    • result: newest roundtable is “Retired Members Round Table.”
      • focused not just on social things, but a real desire to contribute to ALA.
      • In order to recognize this RT, resolution to thank the organizers of the RT was written. (group looked at new pamphlet for RT and resolution document). motion passed to forward this resolution to Council.


  • ALTAFF organizational membership - discussion (Kathleen)
    • one of the key groups they want to represent are Friends groups.
    • proposal to have permission to offer group memberships to these Friends groups. ALA Board discussed and decided that yes, it was a good idea to try and involve these groups somehow. we’re weeks into it so too soon to tell how effective this new initiative has been.
    • group members would still have the option to join ALA as personal members and would encourage this.
    • group looked over “ALTAFF proposal for citizen group membership”
    • idea is to get them advocacy that ALA offers but since they are not libraries, they will not have the traditional ALA membership and benefits.
    • Kay asked that Sally Reed come to discuss progress of this initiative at ALA Annual 2011.


  • Skeleton Schedule for Annual 2011 - Vote
    • Committee agreed that Meeting Session 11 (June 26, 2011 from 4-5:30pm) would be best time to meet.


  • Reports from Divisions and Round Tables (Open Forum)
    • Exhibits RT (Ernie DiMattia) - work is primarily centered around the conferences and exhibits at conferences, but they discuss the topic of where conferences will be held in upcoming years. Developing a strategic plan for Exhibits RT.
    • YALSA (Melissa McBride) - YALSA 201 program well-attended at Midwinter (30-40 people), educating ppl about opportunities in YALSA. planning YALSA 101 for ALA Annual 2011. running a contest about “Why I am a member of YALSA” after Midwinter (already up to 30-40 submissions) - prize includes free membership. “first wednesdays with YALSA” series is coming soon (opportunity to chat with YALSA members online or in-person around the country). hope that this will lead to more memberships.
    • ALSC (Charlene McKenzie) - seeing growth in the division. working on how to recognize long-term members of ALSC for their contributions. also working on promotional brochure “why alsc?” to be used at conferences and target library schools, state divisions, etc. when new members join, the membership committee send postcards welcoming them with suggestions on how to get involved with ALSC. they also offer ALSC 101 sessions at conferences. also had a speed-networking event during MW11.
    • ALCTS (Deborah Ryszka) - planning ALA Annual events. finished messaging project, like “welcome to ALCTS” “congrats on your 5th anniversary” type messages. will share with group samples of the messages.
    • John - when ppl hear from divisions and RTs right around the time renewals are sent, it helps to encourage ppl to renew with ALA.
    • LIRT (Jennifer Corbin) - membership fair at Annual not successful in past, proposal to make use of the membership pavilion instead. membership is down due to retirements mostly. celebrating 35th anniversary in 2012, will plan special events.
    • LITA (Don Lempke)- “Happy Hour” attracts new members, emphasis on continually being an association of people working together. finding ways to bring in IT staff in libraries who are not librarians and don’t have funding. looking at virtual membership to bring in these people. LITA 201 presentation- as an organization, trying to develop mentoring in the traditional sense. people mentoring others in certain areas but receiving mentorship in different areas. technology people mentoring librarians and librarians mentoring technology people. one of its strengths and weaknesses is that everyone sees it as IT. emphasizing connections between people. would like a letter from membership committee welcoming new members to ALA. making peer-to-peer connections, more personal. membership development committee meets regularly virtually (at least 8x a year including in-person conference meetings)
    • LSSIRT - Support Staff RT (jennifer kutzik) - numbers down dramatically, due to economy. we need to identify those things that make membership valuable to people. many members can’t attend conferences, so a struggle to even fill the board positions.
    • Kay Cassell - suggestion to put together “Best Membership development practices” from various divisions and RTs. and share with all divisions and RTs. John will look into it.


  • Discussions...
    • Young Librarians Task Force Progress Report (final report expected in June 2011) and Midwinter White Paper
      • committee needs to help inform John’s office of reactions to these two documents.
    • ALA Executive Board Report (liaison is Molly Raphael - president elect)
      • Two new areas in strategic plan - transforming libraries and engaging members
      • spectrum presidential initiative - to raise $1million by summer 2011, about half way there so far. trying to encourage everyone to give towards this initiative.
      • registration at MW11 is a little less than boston but still quite strong. regional registration was stronger than we expected.
      • white paper on MW is a draft document and EB is looking for feedback
      • one membership meeting will be virtual this summer
      • good legislative news - Library Services Technology Act and Susan Hildreth’s appointment
      • Roberta Stevens’ presidential initiative began during MW11. “our authors our advocates”, toolkit “cultivating your notables” is available, “why i need my library” video contest is soft-launching during MW11.
      • suggestion to EB to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Champions program for exhibitors.
      • feedback from jennifer kutzik: nature of midwinter is evolving, but this needs to be marketed to library administrators so they know that people will benefit from attending even if they are not on committees.
      • feedback from ernie: ALA does not do a good job of selling the midwinter conference on the benefits of attending and learning from the exhibits. exhibits need to be looked at more for their education benefit.




Jennifer Kutzik (Member)

Jennifer Corbin (LIRT)

Jenny Emanuel (Member)

Cathleen Bourdon (ALA)

Gretel Stock-Kupperman (Member)

Deborah Ryszka (ALCTS)

Charlene McKenzie (ALSC)

Howard Carter (Member)

Melissa McBride (YALSA)

Kay Cassell (Chair)

Ernie DiMattia (ERT)

Donald Lemke (LITA)

John Chrastka (ALA)

Richard Kong (Intern)