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Emily Ford's picture

ALA Wide Efforts to Engage Young Professionals--a compiling document

This document is a working document of Subcommittee 4, which is looking at what is happening within ALA at activating younger/new professionals. 

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

a.Explore Division/Office Website

b. Identify if there are membership or appointment committees and look at documentation from those groups

c. Contact the chair of the division asking for the right people to talk to about this (maybe we could make a boiler-plate e-mail for chairs?)

d. What role does the Caucuses play in involving and retaining young librarians?

e. Another Strategy here

II. Offices

A synthesis on what Offices are doing, then reports on individual offices below:

a. Chapter Relations Office (CRO) - Katherine  




Thanks for writing!

* Are there any initiatives in your office whose purpose is to meet the needs of young librarians?

* Are there any initiatives in your office that tend to attract the participation of young librarians?

Even though we have programs for students, such as student-to-staff and joint student memberships (see both under http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/affiliates/chapters/student/studentchapters...), we don't have any specifically targeted to just those 35 and under.  All students are eligible. Would you like us to ask these questions of the Chapters and Student Chapters?  Some of them may have programs directed to this age range.

* Does your office have any advice on retaining young librarians?

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. Conference Services - Katherine - no response

c. Development

d. Governance - Laurel

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."

e. Human Resources

f. Information Technology & Telecommunication Services

g. International Relations Office (IRO)

h. Finance and Accounting

i. Library

j. Member & Customer Service

k. Membership - Laurel (email sent)

l. Office for Accreditation

m. Office for Diversity - Laurel

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 publically 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."

n. Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) - Laurel (spoke with Lorelle Swader) 

  • 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 intro to ALA and the profession.
  • The ALA liaison to NMRT is part of HRDR.
  • Emerging Leaders  Spoke with Peter Bromberg, member/facilitator of the EL program subcommittee. Survey data shows that ELs are more satisfied with the program every year, but satisfication 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 was a major complaint in previous years.  New this year: creation of the EL Interest Group, which is a Connect group where ELs are automatically joined.  The ELIG steering committee has control over 2 hour program slot at Annual, which gives them visibility and things for ELs to do beyond the one year program.

o. Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) - Emily (e-mail sent, no response yet)


  • I suspect that there isn't much. They are busy with lobbying, etc.


p. Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)

q. Office for Library Advocacy (OLA) - Katherine - no response

r. Office for Literacy & Outreach (OLOS) - Eric

s. Office for Research & Statistics (ORS) - Emily (e-mail sent, no response)

t. Office of Government Relations (OGR) - Emily (E-mail sent, same thing as WO, actually. No response yet)


  • I suspect that there isn't much. They are busy with lobbying, etc.


u. Public Programs Office (PPO)

v. Public Information Office

w. Publishing - Kelvin

x. Staff Support Services - Kelvin

y. Washington Office - Emily (e-mail sent, no response yet)


  • I suspect that there isn't much. They are busy with lobbying, etc.


III. Divisions

A synthesis on what Divisions are doing, then reports on individual divisions below:

a. American Association of School Librarians (AASL) - Katherine  

Nancy and Julie,

Do you have any information related to the questions that Katherine is asking below? Off of the top of my head, I couldn't think of anything, besides AASL's sponsorship of Emerging Leaders (which is not completely age-restricted-35 and under OR less than 5 years in the profession, correct?)

Thanks, Ann





You are correct in that AASL sponsors two Emerging Leaders and endeavors to get all EL's 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:

  ances 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 EL's, this does not guarantee that the recipients are "young" --- only new to the profession.

om 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.

I'm copying AASL's current president, Cassandra Barnett in case I have overlooked the obvious!

I'll look forward to seeing the results of the research.



b. Assn. of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) - Kim & Eric

ACRL overall initiatives:

  • Top 10 Ways to Get Involved in ACRL
  • ACRL Involvement ideas - attached PDF
  • ACRL OnPoint Chat: November 12, 2009: Getting Involved With ACRL (10:00 a.m. Pacific | 11:00 a.m. Mountain | 12:00 p.m. Central | 1:00 p.m. Eastern)In this discussion, ACRL Vice-President Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis will answer your 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. (Kim sat in on part of this)
  • ACRL members can create Interest Groups within ACRL for areas of current interest to members which 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" at 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 'casts 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/?p=995

African American Studies Librarians Section (AFAS)
Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS)
Arts Section
Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Section (AAMES)
College Libraries Section (CLS) -

The sponsored Friday Night Feast dinners, the event we recently held at the last ACRL conference (with the really inexpensive dinner and free ones to new CLS members) are two examples that come to mind.  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 proportion of that group who are still working on their first publications whether for tenure or professional growth. --Irene Herold

Community and Junior College Libraries Section (CJCLS) - Kim
Distance Learning Section (DLS) -
Education and Behavioral Sciences Section (EBSS)
Instruction Section (IS)
Law and Political Science Section (LPSS)
Literatures in English Section (LES) -
Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS)

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

***Scholarships - http://rbms.info/committees/scholarships/index.shtml

***Buddy Program - http://rbms.info/committees/membership_and_professional/buddy_program/index.shtml

***Mentoring Program - http://rbms.info/committees/membership_and_professional/mentoring_program/index.shtml

***Educational Opportunities Directory - 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.

Please feel free to call or write for further details.

All best,


Donna L. Davey

Chair, RBMS M&PD Committee

Science and Technology Section (STS) - Kim
Slavic and East European Section(SEES)
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 -- very successful.

Western European Studies Section (WESS)
Women's Studies Section (WSS)

c. Assn. for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) - Emily (E-mail sent)

  • Interns on committees within division
  • any person who fills out volunteer form gets some sort of appointment
  • virtual committee memberships
  • New Public Library Tech services IG started seems to have attracted a lot of people
  • ALCTS Membership Committee (spoke with Chair of this committee)
    • ALCTS 101--targeted to newer members, after ALCTS 101 hoping to host a happy hour or social
    • Will be partnering with NMRT to do outreach to students, student chapters
    • has a virtual members
    • working on messaging scenarios to welcome people to the division, to celebrate anniversaries in the division (5, 10 years, etc) and also did you forget to renew messages.
    • Hoping to do a retention study for those to do drop membership. Try to re-engage these people with ideas of: lower division fees for a while, lower pre-conference costs, appoint those who want to a committee.
    • Recommendations: get people involved and they will stay, lower conference/membership rates, mentoring, newtorking opportunities for younger people, create buddy system for conference a new attendee with a veteran attendee to have dialog before and during conference (might partner with NMRT)
  • ALCTS New Member Interest Group (Spoke with Chair)
    • Hosting a "ALCTS, What's in it for me?" program at Annual
    • Had ALCTS 101 at Annual--presents sections, provides networking opportunity
    • Hosts e-fora (online discussions, asynchronous) on topics related to the group. Noticed in these that people would really like more affordable regional events.
    • Call for bloggers and volunteers is on their conntect space.
    • Created for new members to have a voice, to this end the structure includes "community coordinators" as that voice
    • ALCTS is a diverse talent community, want to set up structure around this community.
    • Recommendations: need to have a place to cross division boundaries. ALA too siloed, need more interaction with other divisions, quanitfy quantify quantify and prove we need crossover, need to do a better job to get people in volved in divisions or sections, needs to be a DIRECT line of communication to decision makers in the division (face time), does not currently see it, utilize ALA Connect as a platform for these confersations, Why do I have to go through 5 people to get something done?

d. Assn. for Library Service to Children (ALSC) - Eric

e. Assn. of Library Trustees, Advocates Friends & Foundations - Eric

f. Assn. of Specialized & Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) - Katherine

Hi Katherine,

ASCLA does not have any official initiatives to meet the needs or attract the participation of young librarians at this time. I'll have to consult with the executive committee for advice retaining young librarians and get back to you. 

g. Library and Information Technology Assn. (LITA) - Kim (*ask Derik/Brett for contact)

h. Library Leadership & Management Assn. (LLAMA) - Katherine - no response

i. Public Library Assn. (PLA) - Kelvin

j. Reference & User Services Assn. (RUSA) - Emily (E-mail Sent)

  •  Had an Emerging Leaders Task Force (Emily was a chair for this).
  • Experimenting with virtual conference attendance
  • Spectrum Scholars initiative
  • Funding Emerging Leader participants
  • "Five Things A New Librarian Should Know about" initiative. A RUSA Presidential initiative to have each committee of RUSA put up a web page with information about the 5 things new librarians should know about it.  

k. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) - Kelvin

I.Strategy for finding out what a division/office does to retain and involve young librarians.a.Explore Division/Office Websiteb.Identify if there are membership or appointment committees and look at documentation from those groupsc.Contact the chair of the division asking for the right people to talk to about this (maybe we could make a boiler-plate e-mail for chairs?)d.Etce.EtcII.OfficesA synthesis on what Offices are doing, then reports on individual offices below:a.OLOSb.Etcc.EtcIII.DivisionsA synthesis on what Divisions are doing, then reports on individual divisions below:a.ACRLb.PLAc.YALSAd.Etce.I.Strategy for finding out what a division/office does to retain and involve young librarians.a.Explore Division/Office Websiteb.Identify if there are membership or appointment committees and look at documentation from those groupsc.Contact the chair of the division asking for the right people to talk to about this (maybe we could make a boiler-plate e-mail for chairs?)d.Etce.EtcII.OfficesA synthesis on what Offices are doing, then reports on individual offices below:a.OLOSb.Etcc.EtcIII.DivisionsA synthesis on what Divisions are doing, then reports on individual divisions below:a.ACRLb.PLAc.YALSAd.Etce.Etc

IV. Other Groups working towards this goal within ALA

a. NMRT - Laurel

  • numerous online discussion forums over the listserv
  • conference orientations, where speakers discuss how to make the most of the conference experience
  • current councilor is proactive in disseminating information to members about how council works, etc.
  • guaranteed committee appointments
  • virtual participation 
  • funds an Emerging Leader

b. 7 Measures of Success Working Group - Kim

Aaron Dobbs's picture

Hiya, would it be alright to make this document public?

I thought it was and linked from a 2010 Emerging Leaders Group L discussion here:
http://connect.ala.org/node/99442 (which turns out to be set to "private" also *sigh*)

I'll ask them to open up their posts, too, of course...



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

Emily Ford's picture

Hi Aaron,

I changed it. Just please note that this is a work in progress...


Erica Findley's picture



Under the ALCTS Division you have ALCTS 101 as a Midwinter event. This is incorrect. ALCTS 101 is an event scheduled for the ALA Annual Conference and is similiar to other division 101 events. Read more about it here, we will be updating the announcement soon.


We had a general meeting for the ALCTS New Member Interest Group at the last MidWinter Meeting.



Erica Findley, MLS

Emily Ford's picture

Thanks, Erica for this correction. I have changed it in the document.