Your best conference experiences

The Young Professionals Task Force needs your help making ALA conferences better. In order to do this, we’d like to know the best experiences you’ve had at conferences–ALA or otherwise–that have made conferences rewarding and useful.

Your feedback will be used to improve the quality of ALA conferences, so please give us your ideas, and we’ll make sure they are heard.

The survey is very short, and is available at

Thank you for your effort!

An effort to equalize elections

One of the subgroups in the Young Professionals Task Force has been exploring possibilities for equalizing elections to give young members a better chance at being elected to Council and other offices. It is a challenging topic, and we’ve realized that it might be easier to pilot an initiative ourselves than to simply pass it on to the ALA Executive Board with our recommendations.

So here it is: a sortable, searchable spreadsheet of all those running for ALA Councilor at Large in the current, Spring 2011 election. Please take a look, share it widely, and let us know what you think.

Want to sort it? Here’s how:

  1. Use “Click to Edit” button at upper right (note: your changes will not affect the original).
  2. Click upper left corner of sheet to highlight all.
  3. Right-click anywhere on sheet.
  4. Choose Sort > Custom sort.
  5. Ensure “Contains header” box is checked.
  6. Click “OK.”

Note: You may want to open the spreadsheet in “Full Screen View” before editing.


Text any suggestions you have for making ALA a better fit for you to

(520) 344-3886

Starting Friday, March 5 at 3:30 pm (PST). The text-a-thon officially ends on Friday, March 12, but we’ll be recording your responses until mid-May.

We want to hear from you in order to submit the most informed report to Executive Board at Annual as possible, so text as many ideas you have, as often as you get them. Please invite anyone you know to attend this “event”!

Thank you!
The Young Librarians Working Group

Your Responses to Our Questions

As you may or may not know, the Young Librarians Task Force has been asking some questions lately. Here are some of your responses (and please feel free to add more in the comments below):

“I don’t know where to start?”

I like instruction, and there are several ALA instruction sections. How do I know which to join? What’s the difference?

Everyone encourages students to join ALA. Why? How can students be involved? What are the benefits & limits?

Why is so much programming done only at conference? Can we shorten conferences and have more regional/virtual events?

“80% of success is showing up — Woody Allen”

“What positive changes can ALA make to better fit your needs?”
“How would you make ALA a better fit for you?”

Have more regular reviews of the work that committees are doing to make sure they contribute to the furtherance of ALA mission and goals.

Make ALA membership & conference attendance an unforgettable user experience.

Review experiences with committees and chairs so that chairs who get consistently bad reviews don’t get re-appointed.

Virtual participation for committees.

Use less jargon to name IG’s and work groups.

Have fewer committees but more smaller work groups (that can exist without board approval) that can “git ‘er done.”

FAQ for new members for ALA in general or for conference.

More formal mentoring program for new members (or opt-in for all new members). Have veteran members be conference buddies and get new members acquainted with the structure of ALA.

Said before, said again: VIRTUAL.

It would be great if we could affect change without passing a resolution and waiting a year. More opportunities for quick action.

Welcome people like ACRL does. Provide welcome e-mail with link to easy to follow instructions on how to participate. Provide person willing to answer questions.

Demand accountability for committee work.

A Question for the Think Tank

At the Young Turks reception in Boston, we initiated a conversation by asking the question of those present:

What would make ALA a better fit for you?

We invited responses on paper, on Twitter using #youngturks, or by email to any of the working group members. We’ll post some of those responses on ALA Connect for all to share.

If you weren’t at the reception, or even if you were and have new ideas, we invite you to comment below, on Twitter, or on Connect and share your constructive ideas for what might make ALA a better place.

PS: This is directed to the Young Librarians Working Group Think Tank, but anyone else is welcome to respond, too.

ALA = Pay? and RUSA’s Big Think

I thought this blog might be useful for us to post and consider some of the initiatives and efforts out there in ALA-land (and elsewhere) that tie in to our work to make ALA more welcoming to young librarians. As a result, I offer here two items that have come recently to my attention on the subject. Your thoughts and feedback are welcome!

ITEM 1: AndyW’s blog post on LISNews, “ALA rhymes with ‘Pay’,” in which he suggests that a great way to promote ALA membership is to give it away! A great read, and an interesting idea.

ITEM 2: Big Think, RUSA Board Meeting, Midwinter Conference, Boston. From an email message…

The RUSA Board devotes time at the Midwinter meeting for a RUSA Big Think; this is a time for the Board to brainstorm a critical question facing the association. One of our biggest issues this year is attracting new members.

Our President, Susan J. Beck, has written two very timely articles that fit right in with this topic: one assesses some interesting trends in the issues addressed by recent candidates for elective positions in RUSA, and she succinctly points out the value of reference librarians (“library lifesavers”) and RUSA membership in another: “We Must Think Strategically,” RUSQ, Spring 2010 and “This is our time to shine,” RUSQ, 49:1. Please feel free to come to the RUSA board meeting on Saturday, January 16, 2010, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm at the Boston Convention Exhibition Center (BCEC), room 102A and participate in the Big Think.

I’m sure interested in hearing the results of the Big Think — I hope RUSA will be sharing them!

What is the Young Librarians Working Group Anyway?

The Young Librarians Working Group is a project on behalf of librarians under the age of 35: the Millennial librarians, the first-career librarians, the new-to-the-field, full-of-enthusiasm librarians who often join ALA only to get frustrated and disenchanted with the size and seeming rigidity of the association.

We’re here to change that.

Sound impossible? We don’t think so! Our working group grew out of ALA President-Elect Camila Alire’s initiative for library advocacy, and has been endorsed by the top level of ALA: the Executive Board. Generally, we are charged with trying to understand how to make ALA more viable for young librarians. As part of this charge we will be reporting to ALA leadership about our findings and we will be making suggestions about how the association can better meet young librarian’s needs.

We can’t do it without you.

This is a call to you, fellow librarians, for your feedback and input on ALA and on our work. You are invited to be part of the Young Librarians Think Tank by following this blog and/or joining our ALA Connect space.  When we have an idea we’ll post it here for your comments, and — believe me, your input matters to us!

Join the Think Tank and make a difference in ALA. Help us help you!