From the Office

charles wilt

Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director

A Look at the ALA 2010 Plan (Part 4 of 5)
Goal Area V: Membership

The membership goal and the organizational excellence goal (which will be in my December column) both grew out of, I believe, a fundamental question as to the purpose of the ALA Plan 2010. Is it primarily a statement of philosophy (as was ALAction 2005) or is it, too, a working document in which the ALA community can draw its raison d’etre? My take was that it should be a working document, so, as I have previously stated, the entire ALA can draw inspiration from and see themselves in the plan. The problem with ALAction 2005 was that many of those “goals” were not really goals but statements of philosophy and not really applicable across the ALA board (little “b”); hence, the membership goal and the following organizational excellence goal.

Membership Goal Statement: Members receive outstanding value for their ALA membership.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Increase the value of the Association to its members through identifying and responding to changing member needs.
  2. Increase opportunities for association involvement that is customized to individual interests
  3. Increase opportunities for electronic and virtual involvement in association activities.
  4. Provide high quality programs, workshops, and publications in print and electronic format.
  5. Effectively communicate the value of association, division and round table membership.

What the membership goals do is this: It recognizes in a public way that ALA is made up of individuals, for the most part, and that these members deserve the very best organizational support and membership features that ALA can offer them. It is a pact; a pact between corporate ALA and its membership. Ah, but you say, ALA is its membership. Ah, but I say, yes and no. ALA is an organizational entity beyond its membership, as are other associations, but its fuel is membership. This membership goal is the commitment that ALA is its membership regardless of any other alter ego it may have.

Defining value can be like hitting a rapidly moving target. What is value for one person is not for another. However, there is another concept that might clarify this definition if you equate “value” with “experience.” A little rewording and you have: “Members receive an outstanding experience with their ALA/(ALCTS) membership.”

In reality, is not this what we, and I speak for myself as a member, are trying to achieve? We want the experience of belonging to ALA and ALCTS to be positive. If it is not, then what is the purpose of belonging?

What, then, would a good experience look like? Well, I believe that is stated rather nicely in the objectives, and believe it or not, it is what we, ALCTS in this case, have been trying to accomplish for the last several years.

  • Identify and respond to changing member needs, by creating more short-term opportunities for service and involvement, by using the technological advancements to our advantage, and by providing relevant leadership development choices
  • Create association involvement that is customized to individual interests, by revamping our pre-conference structure to provide more choices, by promoting the creation of interest groups, and in the future, customizing Web spaces
  • Make available opportunities for electronic and virtual involvement by re-thinking how we do business, by letting committees and working groups meet totally by electronic means, and by again utilizing the most current technologies, like Online Communities, to foster the virtual presence of members
  • Provide high quality programs, workshops, and publications in print and electronic format, by developing more Web courses and Webinars, by truly matching the format to the publication and developing electronic publications as electronic publications (not converted from print), and by moving to completely searchable full text
  • Effectively communicate the experience/value of association, division and round table membership, by selling the benefits of the experience (the end results of taking advantage of the features), instead of endless lists of features (those items we offer), and by telling the story of the experience.

So “Experience ALCTS” and tell your story of “The ALCTS Experience.”

Happy Third Birthday Evelyn, October 29.

shannon reese, 7-months-old and evelyn reese, 3-years-old

ALCTS Continuing Education and Events Coordinator Julie Reese’s daughters Shannon, 7-months-old and Evelyn, 3-years-old