Contact: Isaac Tufvesson

OLOS Communications Specialist

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For Immediate Release

June 24, 2008

CALA Releases Self Assessment Survey Results

CHICAGO- The Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) has released the results of a nearly year-long study focused on improving the member-supported organization. Results show that the desire for professional development ranks as the top reason for joining.

The survey is the first one conducted in CALA’s more-than-30-year history. It gives CALA members, especially board members, opportunities to assess areas for improvement.

Under CALA president Ho’s leadership, a task force was assembled that included CALA members Yuhfen Diana Wu (chair), Songqian Lu, Yin-fen Pao, Cherly Lee, and Celia Huang, charges and tasks were defined and an online survey was developed. Questionnaires (382) were sent to selected members in the fall of 2007.

Areas considered in the survey included: inclusiveness, services to members, professional development and research & publishing opportunities. This survey includes collecting the following information: 1) demographics, 2) service opportunity, 3) member services and 4) suggestions and comments.

With about a 50-percent (171 surveys) return rate, the survey has successfully provided invaluable data for the board to study. The top three reasons members join CALA are for professional development opportunities, to be part of a professional association and to network with other members. The desire for professional development ranked highest. About 45-percent of the respondents have been with CALA for less than six years. This indicates a need for mentorship to help junior or less experienced members to advance and excel in their career.

The survey also found reasons for members’ lack of active participation, including:

  1. Existing commitments to other committees such as ALA or state library association
  2. Don't feel like serving
  3. 3-year term being a long commitment
  4. Lack of experience
  5. Financial constraints or lack of institution support
  6. Already served CALA, need to promote more junior members to serve
  7. Too busy

Each of these reasons had more than150 replies, since members could check as many as applicable.

The Assessment Committee proposed an action plan, which serves as a roadmap for periodical evaluation. A well-structured professional organization needs constant assessment to ensure the quality of services to its members. The survey serves as a powerful starting point to help steer CALA in the right directions with very limited resources and manpower.

CALA has been an active affiliate of the American Library Association (
ALA) since 1976, and is a member of the Council of National Library and Information Associations (CNLIA).

To learn more about CALA visit its website at

To learn more about this survey, contact Dora Ho at or Diana Wu at