ALA Membership RetentionEmerging Leaders 2013 Team KAmanda Binder, Margaret Howard, Caitlin Moen, Kirsten Weaver
Description ALA Membership Retention: Once we get them, how do we keepthem? What does ALA need to do that we are not doing, to retain newmembers? What is the meaningful experience which will encourage newmembers to get involved, participate and communicate? Working with ALA President Maureen Sullivan, the team will planthe approach, develop the tools, gather the data and share theirfindings.Goals:1) Find out what new members want to stay involved;2) Recommend steps that ALA can take to meet those needs andinterests.
Pre-Survey Research Working with ALA Membership Director Ron Jankowski,the team gathered data from other organizationsregarding membership ALA Members in their first year were concluded to bethe best fit for gathering data needed Survey was created based on the need to collectdemographic information as well as what areas ofmembership were most valuable to members
AbstractTeam K’s Membership Retention project sought to discover what ALAmembers find of value to their memberships, and why they decide to renewor cancel. The process began by working with the ALA MembershipCommittee to develop the target audience of first-year ALA memberscoming up on their renewal date for their second year ofmembership. Historically, a large number of first-year members choose notto renew, so this would be a valuable audience. A contact list was providedby the ALA Membership Committee and Team K worked to develop anddisburse a short survey to start discerning the value that members find inALA membership. The final product is a great deal of raw data, whichTeamK distilled into a set of recommendations for the ALA MembershipCommittee.
Survey sent to ALA Members in their firstyear of membership 15 Questions 3,257 Surveys sent out 629 Responses received (19% Response Rate) Survey Opening: March 20 Survey Close: April 29
Demographics In what type of library do you work? How many years ago did you receive your MLIS?47% of respondents received their MLIS within the last 3 years0-1 years 127 20%2-3 167 27%4-5 years 85 14%6-10 87 14%11 or more 91 14%NA 72 11%Academic 221 35%Public 227 36%School 110 17%Special 22 3%Other 50 8%
Demographics Are you a member of other professional libraryassociations? What arethey?State Library Association 251 University Library Association 4Special Library Association 54 British Library Association 4ACRL 44 Progressive Librarians Guild 3State ASL 44 Canadian Library Association 3AASL 32 State Medical Library Association 2Regional Library Association 29 Australian Library Association 2PLA 24 Serials 2State ACRL 21 Arizona Dynix Users 1School Library Media Association 19 Association for Rural & Small Libraries 1YALSA 18 BCALA 1Medical Library Association 14 LLAMA 1Unclear 12 Long Island Library Resources Council 1State LITA 11 Regional Childrens Library Association 1Religious Library Association 9 State Public Association 1Music Library Association, 6 Chinese American Librarians 1RUSA 6 Italian Library Association 1ALSC 5 Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) 1LITA 5 LOEX 1REFORMA 5 IFLA 1ASIS&T 4 ELUNA 1Yes 431 68%No 199 32%
Value of Divisions“I really just joined because of ACRL. ACRL publications and news are most useful tome - otherwise ALA does not provide me with much that helps out in my work/career.”“It is the only way I can be a member of AASL. AASL helps me in my daily work… Iwould not be a member of ALA if I didnt need to be to be a member of AASL sincemost of ALA news, etc. doesnt apply to my niche of work. ““I am heavily involved in the divisions but not so much the main ALA as I am anacademic librarian. I find the professional development opportunities useful.”“Not much truthfully, I feel that I get far more value for my dollar in PaLA. I also receivea lot of value through the divisions (which I have to first belong to ALA for, if I couldskip ALA and just join divisions I would).”“I like being a part of YALSA a lot, and I have to be in big ALA to do so. “
Demographics Are you a member of non-library professionalassociations?Education 95 Library-focused 4Professional 41 Music 4History 15 Rotary 4Unclear 11 Vetrans 3Archives 7 Writing 2Hobbies/Sports 7 Alumni Group 1Religious 5 Ethnicity 1Technology 5 Indexing 1Womens 5 Intellectual 1Area 4 Sciences 1Yes 158 25%No 472 75%
Value What aspects of ALA do you find the most valuable?(Please select your top three).Access to latest news on trends, information, services, etc. 397 19%Gain ideas and insights 273 13%Learn and grow professionally 340 16%Ability to connect with others in person and virtually 183 9%Opportunities to serve and contribute to the profession 125 6%Support all types of libraries and the profession 115 5%Helps me better serve my customers/community 121 6%Support of major issues or projects such as intellectual freedom,banned books week, National Library week, and ALA accreditation oflibrary schools.201 9%Membership reinforces my professional credentials 293 14%Added value and discount programs 92 4%Total 2140
Value How do you learn about ALA programs/services that areof interest to you?ALA Website 296 19%ALA Direct e-newsletter 385 25%American Libraries Magazine 291 19%Other publications 39 3%Divisions/Roundtables to which I belong 117 8%From colleagues/co-workers/friends/supervisors/otherlibrarians232 15%Social media 152 10%Other 30 2%Total 1542“I dont always read all of my electronic communication from ALA or its divisions,but Im glad I receive it. At this point in my training, having exposure to newideas/concepts is the most helpful aspect of ALA membership.”
Value What programs/services or benefits do you find useful?publications/communications 226 technology 6 awards 2webinars 113 AASL 6 graphics 2conferences 97 roundtables 6 award lists 2discounts 40 news 6 RUSA 2listservs 32 ALSC 5 freedom 1trends 29 social media 5 AASL 1unsure 26 book reviews 5 immersion 1jobs 25 PLA 5 techtalk 1programming 24 techsource 5 ERM 1professional development 20 NMRT 5 town halls 1courses 20 everything 4 lesson plans 1networking 20 reviews 4 intellectual 1website 19 intellectual freedom 4 copyright 1none 18 standards 4 LinkedIn 1ACRL 15 The Hub 3 conf scheduler 1committees 14 knowledge quest 3 development 1YALSA 14 status 3 events 1continuing education 13 blogs 3 school libraries 1advocacy 10 LITA 3 openaccess 1workshops 10 book awards 3 guidelines 1booklists 9 ALA Connect 3 alerts 1ala store 7 info 2 AL Live 1ALCTS 7 groups 2 ThinkTank 1grants 7 STS 2 online learning 1
What do you value most about ALA?“I like being a part of a nationwide group of librarians and people who love and support libraries.”“I know its not members only, but I really find the Twitter feeds useful. Its where I get all myinformation. I really only ever visit the website through Twitter links.”“The conferences are the most beneficial to me. They provide the best opportunity for networking,learning about new ideas, and feeding my passion.”“Conferences, especially PLA, help me keep my enthusiasm about the field. ALAs advocacy on anational level is probably the most important service. We dont see it everyday, but it affects us a lot,not just budget wise but in public perception of what libraries are and what they do.”“Since I have a limited budget I enjoy everything that is free like the free webinars.”“ALA follows library trends for me and reports back in bullet points.”“I like the continuing education programs that the ALA offers. In such an ever-changing field, Ithink that its of the utmost importance for us to continue to learn and grow professionally.”“Connections with other librarians, especially since I work in a special library where I am the onlylibrarian. Its really easy to feel isolated from the librarian community in my current position but ALAevents and online communities help me feel so much more connected.”“I cannot say that I have benefitted from a program or service. What I do benefit from is simplybeing a member, and opening up the opportunity for myself to serve on committees which willbenefit me professionally.”
Evaluating value of ALA“I just need to get grounded in ALA before I can tell you what is most useful.”“I dont find a lot useful. It seems to me that being a member does not bring me closer toprofessional colleagues or easily include me in professional discourse, which is what I wouldreally value… My impression as a first/going on second year member in ALA is that themajority of notices I receive from the organization ask me to purchase superfluous items Icannot afford, waste my time following the tweets of a conference I cannot attend, and electofficials I do not know. Im not sure.”“Im evaluating my membership actually because Im not sure what value I get out of it.”“I guess I havent been a member long enough to find any one specific thing useful. Itsnice to get some news tidbits in the email newsletter.”“TOO many things happening for me to know what to join...so I look at JobLIST andAmerican Libraries main articles.”
Praise for ALA Communication“I really love American Libraries. Im usually so busy at work (doing the jobs of threepeople) that sitting down to read it when I get home is relaxing. It helps me stay up to date,when I dont have time to be up to the minute!”“AL Direct is a quick, up-to-date, news service (mixed with some things that are in therejust for fun). It gives me a good idea of what is going on with libraries throughout the countryand the world, including trends and technologies I havent seen yet in my isolated area.”“I found the weekly newsletter to be extremely useful - its an amazing sampling of newsabout libraries worldwide.”“I find information to be the most important benefit of ALA membership. I feel like itwould be almost impossible to keep up with whats going on in the profession with differentlibraries, and both ALA Direct and American Libraries Magazine keep me informed. Those aremy professional lifeblood, and without them I think Id be a second-rate librarian.”“I really like the American Libraries Direct emails that I get. Its a lot of informationpresented in a nice, concise format so even if I dont have the time to read through all of it indepth right away, I come away feeling like I have a better idea of current issues for libraries(and communities in general).”
Renewal Do you plan to renew your ALA membership at thesecond-year member rate of $98?Yes 433 69%No 40 6%Unsure 157 25%“As an early-career librarian, I feel it is important to be a member of our nationslargest professional library association. I also need to be involved in Divisions andRoundtables that are vital for my current position.”“I like to be a part of the larger community of librarians and library professionalsacross the country and appreciate the opportunities to be involved in issuesaffecting libraries beyond my community.”“Im a librarian and its the ALA, why wouldnt I?”
Renewal What is the main reason you are planning to renew yourALA membership?
Renewal What is the main reason you are not planning to renewyour ALA membership?
Renewal What is the main reason you are unsure if you will renewyour ALA membership?0102030405060
Renewal If you are not planning to renew your ALA membershipwill you be renewing membership in another libraryprofessional organization? What arethey?Yes 14 35%No 26 65%State Library Association 251 University Library Association 4Special Library Association 54 British Library Association 4ACRL 44 Progressive Librarians Guild 3State ASL 44 Canadian Library Association 3AASL 32 State Medical Library Association 2Regional Library Association 29 Australian Library Association 2PLA 24 Serials 2State ACRL 21 Arizona Dynix Users 1School Library Media Association 19 Association for Rural & Small Libraries 1YALSA 18 BCALA 1Medical Library Association 14 LLAMA 1Unclear 12 Long Island Library Resources Council 1State LITA 11 Regional Childrens Library Association 1Religious Library Association 9 State Public Association 1Music Library Association, 6 Chinese American Librarians 1RUSA 6 Italian Library Association 1ALSC 5 Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) 1LITA 5 LOEX 1REFORMA 5 IFLA 1ASIS&T 4 ELUNA 1
Renewal If you are not planning to renew your ALA membershipwill you be renewing membership in another NON-library professional organization? What are they?Yes 4 10%No 36 90%Education 95 Library-focused 4Professional 41 Music 4History 15 Rotary 4Unclear 11 Vetrans 3Archives 7 Writing 2Hobbies/Sports 7 Alumni Group 1Religious 5 Ethnicity 1Technology 5 Indexing 1Womens-Association 5 Intellectual 1Location-based 4 Sciences 1
Why renew ALA membership? Connecting“Membership in ALA keeps me connected to broader world of librarianship”“Being new to the field and with changing technologies, this is a guarantee that I can maintaina professional pathway to ensure my success in the future.”“I wish to remain connected on the national level with the Library professional organization.My state organization is very good (Texas) but I feel the larger national connection is necessary tomaintain a broader perspective on my profession.”“It is the best way to remain connected to the library profession on a national level (andpotentially international) for professional development, tracking trends, and networking.”“In my state, school librarians are becoming district librarians while getting stretched furtherand further apart. Therefore it is really important that I push myself to connect and network onthe national level in addition to the state level.”“I am the only employee at a small school library and feel like Im disconnected from otherlibrary professionals. ALA gives me a means to connect to others so I dont feel so isolated.”“I feel a greater sense of connection with the community of YA professionals while being activein YALSA.”
Why renew ALA membership? “Its the right thing to do! Were in this together!”“First and foremost, I dont think membership in THE flagship professional organization shouldbe an option for professionals. Im a librarian, therefore, I am a member of ALA. That being said,I rely upon ALA to give me the information I need to keep up with trends and innovations in thefield.”“Because I believe that ALA and the dues I pay help to fight the fight of intellectual freedom.ALA also offers best practices information and what others around the world are doing to becreative and keep our patrons coming back.”“ALA is a valuable organization (even if I dont interact with it much yet). I feel a responsibilityto belong and pay dues to the organization of my profession.”“ALA membership is essential for a professional librarian.”“I feel that membership in a national professional organization is a necessary part of mycontinuing education after receiving my MLIS.”“I think its important to remain involved in ALA. I want to have access to all the news andtrends of the library world. I also think its important to be apart of the largest library lobbyingorganization available with shrinking budgets and changing views of the library to the outsideworld.”“Because ALA is great and it gives me a sense of pride to be part of such a wonderfulprofessional organization. Libraries FTW!”“Simple: as a librarian in the U.S., I feel its important to be part of ALA. Luckily, I work for alibrary that also feels that way, and will pay my membership fee.”
Why renew ALA membership? Proven value“Because Ive used my ALA membership in the past year and I think its valuableenough to cover the fee. I like receiving the newsletter and being informed aboutdevelopments in other library fields different from mine.”“I cannot fathom having all the benefits and access to important tools being takenaway!”“It would be a professional loss to not subscribe to ALA again.”“Because the information that is provided by ALA and the ability to take onlinecourses is worth the membership price”“I have felt nothing but positive support from ALA.The organization provides me withmore resources, information, and opportunities than I could ever hope to use, and I find itto be endlessly valuable. I plan to be a long-time member of the ALA.”
Why renew ALA membership? Institutional expectation/requirement“There seems to be an institutional expectation at my place of work that weshould be members. I also just like getting the publications and emails to stay in theloop.”“Professional association memberships are looked favorably upon at myinstitution. ALA also assists in keeping me up to date with current issues in thelibrary world.”“It is essentially required for tenure and promotion at my university.”
Why renew ALA membership? Institutional value“Being an ALA member is part of my professional role where I work. Iattend ALA functions to network for our program, our students, recruit, andto stay up to date on the latest trends. In addition, I find membership usefulfor my own professional development.”“Being a member of ALA is of professional value to me and my institution.”“The publications are helpful for review and new ideas. I really like the ALAstore for supporting my library program and making our space moreinteresting.”“Being a member of ALA, and the AASL, keeps me current on best practicesin school libraries, which helps me be a better school library teacher.”
Support & Involvement In which of the following areas (if any) do you receivefinancial support from your library?Membership Dues 196 15%Conference Attendance 348 27%Workshop Opportunities/Continuing Education/Similar 295 23%Access to Publications for Professional Development 188 15%My support is contingent upon direct involvementsuch as being a presenter, serving on a committee, etc.49 4%I do not receive any financial support from my library 169 13%Other 24 2%
Support & Involvement Please indicate your involvement with ALA:Committee Member 48 4%Committee Officer 2 0%Am a division member and/or officer 128 12%Am a round table member and/or officer 82 8%Attend education sessions such as courses,webinars, etc.236 22%Attend the ALA Midwinter meeting 85 8%Attend the ALA Annual Conference 171 16%Attend at least one division conference 87 8%Plan to join a committee or ALA group 137 13%Other 116 11%
Recommendations Establish ALA Membership asValuable Professional Credential Do employers look for ALA membership when they review job applications? This might be a projectfor a future emerging leaders team to explore. If ALA membership is a proven stamp of approval in jobapplications it may provide substantial value that ALA could promote to potential new members. Target Library Administrators Just as the ALA conference websites have a section for “MakeYour Case to Attend” we should developmarketing for librarians and library staff to bring to their directors/supervisors to make the case forsupporting employee membership dues (“MakeYour Case to Join”). Perhaps find libraries that do covermembership dues for their librarians and interview them to provide quotes/video clips for themarketing materials that explain why they support it, and what value it brings to their librarians, theirlibrary and the library patrons. Revisit ALA organizational membership; can it somehow be expandedor further promoted to library administrators? Create Advocates Provide ALA members with talking points for encouraging other employees at their institutions to joinALA, and for encouraging library administrators to support membership fees with institutional funding. Develop Partnerships with State Library Associations Work with state library associations to increase opportunities for discounts or other benefits for jointmembership. If joint discounts are not a possibility,possibly work together to cross-promote thebenefits of membership at both the state and national level.
Recommendations PromoteValue of “Big ALA” ALA members clearly value the publications,support,outreach, continuing education opportunities,andmore that are provided by their divisions/roundtables. We want members to also highly value the largermission, publications,workshops, etc. offered through “Big ALA.” Perhaps divisions can use their moreaccessible organizations to help strengthen the brand and participation within ALA as a whole. Encourage Local - National Partnerships Each division can set their own pricing which allows for joint membership opportunities with statelibrary chapters at the division level that are impossible at the ALA membership level. If a member’sinvolvement with a division or round table leads to an involvement with ALA at the national level, thiswill increase accessibility and give a sense of immediate value. Reevaluate Program Pricing Structure By increasing the difference in pricing for members vs. non-members for conference attendance oradding a small fee for nonmembers for some of the ALA webinars, membership immediately gains extravalue.Administrators will “buy in” to funding memberships if they can see cost savings in continuingeducation costs.
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