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LIS Outreach - Minutes from ALA-wide meeting, 12/12/2011

Minutes from LIS Outreach telephone call on 12/12/11


Participants: Ritchie Momon (YALSA), Debbie Ryszka (ALCTS), Liane Taylor (RUSA), Jean Rene (RUSA), Amanda Dinscore (ACRL), Lian Sza (PLA), Nancy Dickinson (AASL), Linda Ward-Callaghan (ALSC), Erica Stiner (FAFLRT), Kay Cassell (ALA Membership Committee), Bill McHugh (RUSA), Joe Thompson (RUSA), Jennifer Corbin (LIRT), Peggy Cadigan (ASCLA), Erin Dorney (NMRT), Cathleen Bourdon (ALA), Alicia Ahlvers (RUSA)


1.         Liane Taylor thanked the group for participating in this conference call.  She explained that interest for some type collaborative discussion among the varied ALA membership groups grew out of discussions that were held at ALA Midwinter in San Diego.  If there were ways this group could work collaboratively, instead of at cross purposes, these avenues should be explored.


2.         Those attending the conference call elaborated on the goals their specific groups are hoping for with outreach to LIS students.


ALSC:  Connect with LIS students, so that they know about ALA, especially connect with those interested in a youth services career or path.  Those considering this type of work should know about ALA, ALSC, and YALSA.


ASCLA:  Know that state library and regional library associations exist and that these organizations have resources to assist with work and professional development.  Also, know that there are many other alternatives for jobs, including working in prison libraries.


FAFLRT:  Looking to re-invigorate the membership and interest in this round table.  Currently, a board exists and the board is seeking more active participation from its membership.


NMRT:  Inform students about opportunities in NMRT and benefits of joining NMRT.  Provide information on conference activities, awards, scholarships, involvement in NMRT and ALA.  Encourage students to join ALA and NMRT.  Being involved in NMRT is a great way to get one’s feet wet with involvement in a professional association.


ALCTS:  Similar to what others have said, especially ALSC above.  Connect with library school students who are interested in careers in technical services.


ACRL:  Very similar goals to what the others in the call are stating.  Target library school faculty and have faculty pass message of benefits of ALA and ACRL membership to the students in their courses.


AASL:  Work with library school and graduate school programs that prepare professionals for careers in school libraries.  Interact with students before they enter the profession.  Ensure that these graduate students are aware of the standards for school librarians and school libraries.


YALSA:  Get awareness of YALSA, its activities, and its resources out to library school students and to new professionals.


RUSA:  Get word out about RUSA, especially get information out about the varied opportunities within RUSA.  Librarians in all types of libraries—academic, public, special, etc.—can have a home in RUSA.


PLA:  Market to library school students about upcoming PLA conference.


3.         The group discussed the strategies they are currently employing to reach out to library school students or strategies they hope to use in the near future.


FAFLRT:  Free membership brought in a lot of student members, but they weren’t active.  FAFLRT will be cutting back on this.


ALCTS:  Work with ALCTS New Members Interest Group (ANMIG) to reach out to new and potential members.  ANMIG sponsors monthly or bi-monthly chats on topics relevant to library school students and their activities.  Recent chats:  tips for conference going, tips for finding a job, strategies for building a professional network, etc.  ANMIG uses the chat feature in ALA Connect; they have an ALA Connect page and a Facebook page, and use both to publicize their activities. 


ALCTS Membership Committee and ANMIG organize and host ALCTS 101 at annual conferences.  This program is targeted to new and/or potential members.  The past few ALCTS 101 programs have been successful.  A speed-dating format is used and guests jump from table to table during the program.  ANMIG is currently trying to establish a mentor/mentee program for midwinter in Dallas.  Little success on this front at the moment.


ALCTS Membership Committee has a representative from NMRT on its committee and works through this representative to distribute information about ALCTS.


NMRT:  The Student Chapter Outreach Committee (SASCO) does outreach to library school student chapter representatives.  SASCO members have liaison responsibilities to several library school chapters.  SASCO members are responsible for sending updates, relevant information, etc. to the library school student chapter representatives.  Not all SASCO members send the same information out to their student chapters.


SASCO will start an official newsletter in January.  Call participants are encouraged to send newsworthy items to Erin for inclusion in the newsletter.


Link to SASCO’s web page: http://www.ala.org/nmrt/oversightgroups/comm/libschoutr/sasco


SASCO’s primary ALA contact at ALA is Don Wood, head of Chapter Relations Office (dwood@ala.org).   He is responsible for working with the student chapters and for maintaining the student chapter web site.


The student chapter web site at ALA is: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/affiliates/chapters/student/resources/stuchapterresources1.cfm


SASCO promotes the Student Chapter of the Year Award.  SASCO maintains and promotes a speaker’s bureau for student chapters to consult if they are interested in having an ALA or NMRT member speak to the chapter in-person or virtually.


FAFLRT:  Sponsored a federal libraries in-service day at annual conference that was well-attended.  There is a Google group that federal librarians or those interested in jobs in federal libraries can join.  Since there are so few jobs in federal libraries these days, FAFLRT doesn’t see the need to promote these activities.  Their program at annual conference last year was publicized through NMRT and its e-mail list.


RUSA:  Had an ambassador program that wasn’t marketed well.  The forms to be a speaker in this program were complicated.  The aim of the program was for speakers to speak in LIS programs.  This didn’t take off, mostly because the paperwork was burdensome.


Link to RUSA’s Ambassador Program:



AASL:  Does work with school libraries and school librarians.  Talk with affiliates about being a school librarian and the roles school librarians play in their schools and in education. Mention the benefits of membership in ALA.  AASL has quite a few librarians who go out to the schools and talk about these topics, but is unsure of the how many report back on their efforts.


Erin Dorney (NMRT) mentioned that it’s difficult to assess the work of NMRT and SASCO.  Information on NMRT and SASCO can be sent to the ALA student chapter presidents through SASCO channels, but there is no way of knowing whether this information gets distributed to the students in the chapter.  NMRT and SASCO rely on the student chapter presidents to get their word out, but they have no way of knowing if and when it does get out.  No assessment has been done to see if this type of outreach is working and successful.


Liane Taylor (RUSA) raised the question: “Are all students in library schools in library school chapters?”


Kay Cassell (ALA Membership Committee) remarked that it’s difficult to get a student’s attention and wondered what strategies we could use to get their attention.


Amanda Dinscore (ACRL) mentioned that she thought it might be a good idea to target library school faculty teaching courses in academic libraries or librarianship, instead of reaching out to library school students.  ACRL Membership Committee has been working in this direction, but has had some difficulty tracking down specific faculty.  The Committee has had to call library schools to get information on faculty and their teaching assignments.  With this information, they would like to send a survey out to faculty and instructors, asking them what information they need to promote ACRL membership to their students.  Because ACRL is re-organizing, the Committee may not be able to finish its work in this area.


From her previous experience, Erin Dorney (NMRT) mentioned that it’s difficult to gain access to library school student e-mail lists.  When she worked with the Emerging Leaders program, announcements for library school students had to be sent to program coordinators or faculty advisors at each school.


Debbie Ryszka (ALCTS) added that ALCTS tried that approach—to reach library school students through their school e-mail lists—but it wasn’t successful.  E-mail messages and program announcements had to be cleared or approved by library school administrators or faculty members.  ALCTS Membership tired to publicize ALCTS conference program offerings to library schools with 100 or 200 miles of Boston when ALA Midwinter was in Boston in 2010.


Joe Thompson (RUSA) noted that anyone can join the distribution list for University of Maryland’s iSchool.


Liane Taylor (RUSA) wondered if one ALA representative, possibly Don Wood, could be on library school distribution lists.  The ALA representative could distribute relevant ALA, division, round table, etc. information to the students on the distribution lists.  Kay Cassell (ALA Membership) noted that Don Wood should know have access to the names of the faculty advisors at the 58 ALA-accredited library schools.  Joe Thompson (RUSA) said it would be helpful to have a list or a spreadsheet of ALA-accredited library schools, their e-mail distribution lists, and whether these distributions lists were open (to all) or closed.


From ALA’s web site, here is information and a listing of ALA-accredited library schools:



Nancy Dickinson (AASL) pointed out that Tennessee has 7 universities or colleges that grant accreditation for school librarians.  Most school librarians don’t come from ALA-accredited library programs.  There is a lot of untapped membership and potential in this group, but reaching out to them could be challenging.


From ALA’s web site, here is a link to a list of nationally reviewed and recognized NCATE/AASL school librarianship education programs:



Linda Ward-Cadigan (ALSC) noted that the problem with e-mail distribution lists was determining which ones library school students were encouraged (by their faculty) to join and follow.


Liane Taylor (RUSA) wondered if marketing or publicizing our information to ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) members would be beneficial.  Amanda Dinscore (ACRL) remarked that her Membership Committee had thought of sending their survey out to ALISE members.


4.         Liane Taylor asked the participants how they could work collaboratively.  Responses and comments are below.


Joe Thompson (RUSA) noted that we’re all competing against each other in the LIS market.  He wondered if there was a possibility of offering some type of discount for students if they joined multiple divisions or multiple round tables.  If we knew more about the students and their interests we could focus them on a specific division or roundtable.


Linda Ward-Callaghan (ALSC) wondered if we could use Don Wood and his student chapter contacts to get information out about the different divisions, roundtables, etc. about the work that each does and the resources that they have.  We could each compile some “talking points” about our division or round table and have Don distribute these to the student chapters.


Erin Dorney (NMRT) commented that there are lots of things vying for library school students’ attention and time.  We could be doing them a disservice by sending them too much information.  She suggested that we could create a blog or an e-mail distribution list and have the students come to us to get their information, if they are interested.  Those students that are motivated and interested would subscribe or follow the blog or e-mail list to get needed professional information.  With this approach, we’re not bombarding the rest of the students who are uninterested in our information or message.


Cathleen Bourdon (ALA) mentioned that the ALA web site has a number of blogs, including one on the student chapter web page.  Don Wood is always looking for copy for his student chapter blog.  We could feed him copy to post there.


Peggy Cadigan (ASCLA) thought that maybe we could develop a “road show” with representatives from each division and roundtable and take this “on the road” to interested library schools.  Many library school programs, such as Drexel and Rutgers, are looking for ideas and speakers for colloquia, symposia, career fairs, etc.  ASCLA and its members go out to library schools to talk about its work and resources.


Lian Sze (PLA) wondered if we could do something along the lines of what Peggy described above in a virtual way or setting.  Could we jointly sponsor a chat or a webinar?  Could this be publicized through the student chapter blog and thru the student chapter representatives?


Peggy Cadigan (ASCLA) observed that if library school students joined a state library association they get a discount on their ALA membership.


Erin Dorney (NMRT) stated that as far as she could tell there were only 36 students subscribed to the ALA Student Membership Blog on the ALA student chapter web site.  Maybe this wouldn’t be the best way and place to get work out about our divisions and activities.


Link to the ALA Student Membership Blog:



Debbie Ryszka (ALCTS) asked Erin Dorney (NMRT) if divisions could submit announcements, information to the new SASCO newsletter debuting in January.  Erin encouraged the participants to submit copy to her for inclusion in the newsletter.


Erin Dorney (NMRT) noted that NMRT might be able to work with ALA and Don Wood to re-organize and update the information on the student chapter web pages.  Maybe the focus of these pages could shift from student chapters to just students.


Kay Cassell (ALA Membership Committee) reminded everyone about the ALA Membership Promotion Task Force and its meeting at Midwinter in Dallas (Sunday, 1/22, 4:00-5:30 pm in room D166, Dallas Convention Center).  Those attending Midwinter can continue this dialogue in person.  Kay offered to see if Don Wood would be interested in joining the Task Force’s meeting.


Contact information for those participating in the conference call:

AASL: Nancy Dickinson (fsufan23@gmail.com)

ACRL: Amanda Dinscore (adinscore@csufresno.edu)

ALCTS: Debbie Ryszka (debbie@udel.edu)

ALSC: Linda Ward-Callaghan (lwcallaghan@joliet.lib.il.us)

ASCLA: Peggy Cadigan (pcadigan@njstatelib.org)

FAFLRT: Erica Stiner (estin01s@gmail.com)

LIRT: Jennifer Corbin (jcorbin@tulane.edu)

NMRT: Erin Dorney (eedorney@gmail.com)
PLA: Lian Sze (lsze@ala.org)

RUSA: Liane Taylor (ltaylor@txstate.edu)

YALSA: Ritchie Momon (ritchiemomon@kclibrary.org)


ALA: Cathleen Bourdon (cbourdon@ala.org)

ALA Membership Committee: Kay Cassell (kcassell@rutgers.edu)

RUSA Membership Committee: Joe Thompson (jthompson@washcolibrary.org), Jean Rene (jeanedwinrene@hotmail.com), Alicia Ahlvers (aliciaahlvers@kclibrary.org), Bill McHugh (bmchugh@northwestern.edu)