Archive for the ‘ala’ Category.

Pay us and we’ll think about letting you teach

Is it just me or does anyone else find this weird? I ran across this press release from ALA-APA re: looking for course providers for their library support staff certification program.

On October 1, 2009, ALA-APA will begin accepting applications from education providers interested in offering courses for candidates in the Library Support Staff Certificate Program (LSSC). The LSSC is the first national, voluntary certification program for library support staff.  Course providers may be organizations or individuals with the expertise, training, and resources to offer courses online or face-to-face.  The ten competency sets for which courses are needed are in the areas of foundations of library services, technology, communication and teamwork, access services, adult readers advisory, cataloging and classification, collection management, reference, supervision and management, and youth services.

Potential providers complete a course approval application, and submit a course syllabus, a description of the course’s teaching methods and assessment plan, and the instructor’s resume.  The course must cover all the competencies in a competency set.  The fee to be considered for approval is $100 each of the first and second courses submitted, and $50 per class for each additional course.

Candidates will have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and have worked in a public or academic library for at least one year.  Candidates have the option of completing approved courses or submitting online portfolios that demonstrate their achievement in six of ten competency sets.

The application will be evaluated by a committee of American Library Association member volunteers using a course evaluation rubric.  Reviews will be held periodically throughout the year and ALA-APA will notify applicants of their status.  Approved courses will be publicized and available to all LSSC candidates.  Courses that are approved will maintain that status, barring major changes, for four years.

Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the LSSC Program is in a testing phase in five library organizations across the United States.  The program will begin accepting candidates in January 2010.  Based on survey information and other expressions of interest, project staff estimates that at least 300 library support staff will participate in the LSSC program in the next three years.

The LSSC Program was approved by the American Library Association to be an official certification of ALA in July 2009.  More information about the LSSCP is available online at  Please direct questions to Jenifer Grady at or 312-280-2424.  The program will be managed by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association.

ALA-APA: the Organization for the Advancement of Library Employees is a service organization to the American Library Association and has as one of its missions supporting salary improvement initiatives for library workers.

Now, I don’t mean to be snotty, because I like a lot of what ALA-APA does. But is it strange to request a $100 fee just to be considered to teach one of these courses? Or is it just me?

ALA: To renew or not to renew?

Well, my ALA membership renewal came in the mail this week. I’ve been a continous member for 14 years now. Should I make it 15? Discuss. :)

Associations with associations

I just read on the ALA Inside Scoop blog that ALA’s membership numbers are dropping because of the recession. (Yup, this was posted 3 weeks ago — I have a lot of blogs to read, people!) :)

With ALA Publishing Department revenue already in decline, membership dues revenue at $4.3 million is under budget by $127,000 or 2.8%. The number of new and renewing members has declined from 67,827 to 65,437, or -3.52%.

On the plus side, ALA continues to see growth in student membership; May numbers were up by 2.3%. Year-to-date statistics show a flat renewal rate overall for personal members and new membership enrolments are down 6.33%. The YTD statistics also show movement from regular and other classes of membership to the “continuous member” category, which is up 8.7% and no doubt reflects the retirement trend within the profession.

Of ALA’s 11 divisions, only the Young Adult Library Services division has seen growth of 1.04% over FY2008. Not surprisingly, the Public Library Association has born the severest drop at (12.67%), followed by the Reference and User Services Association (8.24%), the Library and Information Technology Association (8.18%), the Library Leadership and Management Association (7.25%), the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (6.05%), and the American Association of School Librarians (5.17%).

YALSA makes sense to me, since they seem to be the rockingest division of all. I’m trying to wrap my head around this decrease in numbers, though, in conjunction with reports of the very strong conference attendance in Chicago. And am wondering if the decrease in memberships is a temporary fluke or signs of an ongoing trend. Are people going to re-up when the economic situation gets better, or will they find that they don’t miss the membership?

Then I went a-reading further and saw Nicole Engard over on What I Learned Today posting about library association memberships. Her reason for not joining more associations?

I was recently asked to participate in an interest group for an association. I said, ‘heck yeah, but I’m not a member do I have to be?’ Apparently I can participate for a period of time without being a member – but why not join the association?? It’s simple. I do a lot of speaking and I have only one rule when it comes to speaking – I will not pay to speak for an association (local libraries – sure – but big associations – fat chance). I will accept a reimbursement of my expenses (without honorarium) in most cases, but I will not pay out of pocket to speak for an association when I can educate librarians at no cost to me via several other venues.

Today I filled out forms to speak at 3 conferences. Two of them require that members speak without any compensation and I just can’t live with that – so I don’t join. I spoke at a state conference last year and had to fight to get my mileage reimbursed because they insisted that association members and librarians who work in the state don’t get paid to speak. Why?

I want to belong to more associations, I want to help the library profession and share my knowledge, but I do not want to – and will not – go bankrupt doing so.

This has always been a mystery to me, and is one reason why I let my own state association membership drop lo these many years ago.

Anyway. Sorry for the post-o-quotes, but I’ve been up with some (hopefully 24-hour) flu since 3AM and am too fuzzy to think about this further — I just wanted to throw the topic out there and see what you all thought. Even comment on Facebook, if you must. ;)

More ITI author signings at ALA!

The following authors will be signing at the Information Today, Inc. booth [#4525] on Saturday July 11 from 1:00 — 2:00 p.m.

Tasha Squires, author of Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between School and Public Libraries

Pop culture mavens Sophie Brookover and Elizabeth Burns, authors of Pop Goes the Library: Using Pop Culture to Connect With Your Whole Community

They. All. Rock! Come on by :) .

The Accidental Library Marketer — Check it out!


It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with a number of ITI authors, but I was never so intimidated as when editing Kathy Dempsey’s The Accidental Library Marketer — given that she edited some of my own earliest work over at Computers in Libraries magazine. Be that as it may, her due-out-any-day-now book, quite simply, rocks. Get it. Now. In tough economic times her succinct and down-to-earth advice is more important than ever.

Also, if you’re headed to ALA next weekend, be sure to stop by Kathy’s book signing at the annual Swap & Shop on Sunday July 12. Swap & Shop runs from 11-1:30 in the special events area in the exhibit hall — so you can go even if, like me, you’re only springing for the exhibits pass! :) And check out her new site at — the URL sums it up right there.

Getting a job in a tough economy

I’ve been doing some talks lately on career building in a down economy, so was interested to see ALA’s new Getting a Job in a Tough Economy Toolkit. It’s obviously a work in progress, and kind of weirdly organized, but I’m cheered to see any association movement toward helping librarians instead of solely focusing on libraries.

Dear ALA: Here’s a shamelessly self-promoting suggestion — why not link up to :P Just a thought.

Anyway. What do you all think of it?

Going to ALA next week?

Want to meet up? Have a book idea to talk about? Drop me a line: That is all.

Getting a job in a tough economy toolkit

This is fascinating. I’m wondering how it reconciles with the whole recruitment push, or if they’re going to lay off that for a while?


For Immediate Release                                                                 Jenifer Grady
May 15, 2009                                                                           

ALA Wants Your Stories About How to Get a Job

In preparation for a new American Library Association (ALA) Web-based toolkit called Get a Job!, the association is seeking your stories and advice about what to do and what NOT to do to find employment, particularly in this economy.  ALA asks employers and consultants to share words of wisdom about what a candidate has done to impress you.  ALA wants new employees to share their best tactics in landing the job of their dreams.  ALA also invites everyone to send their best preparation, interviewing or “I wish someone had told me” anecdotes for possible inclusion on the website.

Get a Job!, will debut at the ALA Annual Conference, and in addition to the expected resume and cover letters suggestions, will also feature advice on how to use social networking tools in your job search, what to do if you’re laid off, budgeting assistance, networking techniques, and strategies for finding out about the economy and jobs in various parts of the United States.  The interactive toolkit will include information specific to those seeking their first job, mid-career staff and those changing professions.

The site will be a one-stop resource including and/or linking to information prepared by units within ALA, as well as linking to information about related best practices from other fields. As the site evolves, it will offer tips, suggested links and readings, a blog, podcasts from experts, timelines, and activities/checklists for new librarians and support staff.

Get a Job! is being developed by nine units within the American Library Association in collaboration with the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association.

Email your stories to Jenifer Grady at by Friday, June 5, 2009.

Garb for your next ALA conference?

Things you find on Flickr while looking for something else…..!


Watched part of LITA’s “Top Technology Trends” panel on streaming video earlier today, very cool. As someone who doesn’t often get to participate in ALA “live” (and has only ever read summaries of TTT after the fact), I appreciated the chance to catch the bits of discussion you inevitably miss in writeups — and to see the panelists’ reactions to one another. This is definitely something I’d like to see more of, esp. from LITA, who should be out in front pushing for virtual participation.