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Brett Bonfield's picture

Brainstorming Category #4: Assess ALA divisions' efforts to involve and retain young librarians

This discussion thread is for ideas that are closely connected to the following category:

Review how ALA divisions have reorganized to streamline processes; assess if this has resulted in improved involvement and retention of young librarians.

For additional context, please see: Brainstorming Introduction: Categories 1-4 (and None of the Above).

Emily Ford's picture

I wonder if we could get our hands on the survey results from the survey of past Emerging Leaders. The survey was supposed to assess how their involvement in ALA has changed since participating in the program. Also, maybe working with current EL program organizers to see how they're changing it based on feedback?

I think this would be good because the work of the EL program seems to spread across division Silos.

Jennifer E. Taylor's picture

Yes--I think a lot of ELs are disenfranchised because they're not asked for their opinion.  I say, invite all of them to this group--they're all under the "Emerging Leaders Interest Group" in Connect.

There has also been a core committee of the Interest Group that has been forming Bethany Lafferty and I are chairs.  We've just clarified the charge in the past couple of weeks, but I don't see any real work done until the new year.  This group was formed because the EL steering committee was just too overwhelmed to do any more of the planning and improvement assessment that needed to be done.  

We do have the results of that survey and are still looking through it.  I'll share whatever I find, but it is more specific to the EL program than ALA in general.

Ellie Collier's picture

I'm just going to add that as an EL I've been asked my opinion a TON. What I haven't seen is anything done with the results. I was at a World Cafe event in 2008 that collected huge amounts of feedback. I wrote about it on my blog and shared my pictures on Flickr. I haven't seen anything out of ALA sharing the collective results or discussing how they plan to address the issues raised. I'm willing to believe that some higher ups have looked at and considered the materials, but some feedback would be nice. I've taken tons of surveys, but haven't seen public declarations of survey results along with proposed courses of action.

Sorry - Edited to add - Jennifer, I look forward to seeing your results. I'm excited that there are groups working specifically to go through results.

Emily Ford's picture


I agree. I also remember being asked my opinion a lot and then nothing came of it. There was also that discussion the listserv about the survey. I can't quite recall how that all went down, but don't remember any resolution.



Laurel Bliss's picture

I think that's a major problem in ALA.  It's very easy to gather data, and a lot harder to do something with the information.

Erica Findley's picture


ALCTS regularly has E-forums, 2 - 3 day long discussions facilitated by an electronic mailing list (free and open to anyone). The current one is being hosted by the ALCTS New Members Group to gather information about what ALCTS can do to serve new members. I will be participating and can share the results. Also, participation is free and open to anyone. Here are the instructions to join the discussion that kicked of today December 1, 2009.

Go to: http://lists.ala.org/sympa, click on ALCTS (spelled out: Association for Library Collections and Technical Services) under the ALA Division heading, then choose alcts-eforum@ala.org < href="mailto:alcts-eforum@ala.org" target="_blank">alcts-eforum@ala.org>. A login and password are required to register. Instructions for obtaining a login and password may be found on the list homepage< />


Thank you!

Erica Findley, MLS

Emily Ford's picture


We'd love to hear what you find out if you're willing to share.



Max Macias (non-member)'s picture

I'm super bummed on ALA.  It is too expensive to really get involved.  I am thinking that after this year--I believe it is my last year paying student dues--I will no longer be able to afford to be a member.  ALA should have a sliding scale membership--at the very least. 


The fact that only people who can afford to become leaders, emerging or otherwise cripples ALA because it limits participation on a massive scale.


I will try to participate more on connect as I see this as the only viable place to be involved if you don't have duckets.



Bohyun Kim's picture

I agree that the cost of conference attendence is a problem for many librarians. I would love to see more online option for ALA conferences - not just annual but conferences for individual division's forum such as LITA. (I believe ACRL did this last year for thier annual)  This way more people can get involved without bearing the burden of travelling several days out of their pocket.

Max Macias (non-member)'s picture

I believe there was a virtual aspect to this year's ala annual.  However, when I looked into it--it was like over one hundred dollars!


I thought this was a profession that SHARES.  


I'm not saying we shouldn't charge, but it should be affordable.  ALA shoots itself in the foot because this severely limits who can participate in meaningful manners.

Erica Findley's picture


I am happy to report that I was appointed as the secretary for the ALCTS New Members Interest Group. The E-forum I mentioned above yielded some great feedback as well as our first meeting at Midwinter. For the sake of brevity here are the links to reports on each of those that have already been posted elsewhere in Connect. E-forum http://connect.ala.org/node/90339 and Midwinter Summary http://connect.ala.org/node/93030 (detailed minutes are available too http://connect.ala.org/node/92744).

To sum up new member concerns:


1. Less travel requirements for participation and more virtual opportunities.

2. More regional/virtual events

3. Assistance with conference planning: from veteran members, conference orientation, social events

4. More on-line continuing education

5. Better, clearer, and on-line dissemination of information


I would be happy to be your liaison to this group if you think that would be valuable to your purpose.

*I am also the intern for the Organization and Bylaws committee of ALCTS and the board is planning to restructure this division. I think input from new members would be useful/welcome from them right now too. We will be interviewing ALCTS committees about this, but I would like to include this group as well.


Please join our open group on Connect! http://connect.ala.org/node/85257



Erica Findley, MLS

Emily Ford's picture

Thanks, Erica! I have integrated some of this info into an online doc that we're working on with Subcommittee 4. 

Please keep us apprised as to what's happening with the group. Any information will be helpful.



Bohyun Kim's picture

I wasn't aware of this eForum. Great information. Thanks very much!

Jeff Scott's picture

I thought I would post this question to the group. I received an invitation to a Reception to "Young Turks" in the Library Profession. It seems to take place during ALA Midwinter in Boston. I can't find much information about it and the number on the card is automated. I understand that the Young Librarians Working Group was originally called the Young Turks. Is this the same thing? Can anyone provide a bit more detail to this reception? Any help would be appreciated.



Jeff Scott Deputy County Librarian Tulare County Library 200 W. Oak St. Visalia, CA 93291 jdscott@co.tulare.ca.us http://gathernodust.blogspot.com

Kim Leeder Reed's picture

Hi Jeff, yes, we used to be the Young Turks group but had a name change for, um, political reasons. We don't want to offend anyone Turkish.  ;)

We came out of Camila Alire's efforts to create ways to support young librarians who are just coming into the field. The receptions are a chance for her to meet and chat with many of the up-and-coming folks who she's met, heard of, or otherwise made contact with. And for them (us) to meet each other! The receptions are really quite fun.


Jeff Scott's picture

Thank you for the quick reply. There wasn't much description and I wasn't sure who to contact. One of the big benefits of ALA connect is that I can find people in different groups very quickly. Thanks again!



Jeff Scott Deputy County Librarian Tulare County Library 200 W. Oak St. Visalia, CA 93291 jdscott@co.tulare.ca.us http://gathernodust.blogspot.com