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CRD Membership Survey-Value of Membership in Professional Organizations

August 6, 2012

Are you a member of any other professional organization?

A wide variety of national, regional, and local organizations were enumerated, but there was a discrepancy between the number of people who answered this question (92) and the number who answered the next question that asked about the benefits of those organizations. (162).

What are the benefits of membership in these other organizations?

Professional Development (41%) and networking (38%) were the primary reasons listed as benefits of belonging to other professional organizations. These were followed by keeping current with news and trends (22%) and professional publications (17%). Some people said that the major benefit of a particular organization was that it was more focused on their job responsibilities (14%), particularly those who were archivists/special collections librarians. Conversely, some people (8%) said that they appreciated the national scope that a particular organization, for example ALA, provided. Cost was also a benefit for some (8%). Cost included membership fees as well as benefits such as free software. Other reasons listed as benefits included opportunities for e-learning, service and/or committee work, listservs, collaboration, advocacy, mentoring, job search, and impact on one’s vita.

What could PaLA do to better meet your needs as an academic librarian?

Professional Development was the number one response to this question. Suggestions included: more and better workshops that are academic related, more academic programming at the conference, virtual conference, webinars, “mini-conferences” that convene the PA academic librarians more frequently, and more local programming. Requests were also made for more focused programming such as for technical services, collection development, ER collection development, instruction, and community colleges. Additional requests were made for programming on assessment (formative, summative, institutional, best practices, strategies, methodologies);  on teaching strategies for information literacy sessions; and on student engagement. It was suggested that conference sessions be grouped together by interest, e.g. tech services, instruction, etc.

Requests for additional networking opportunities was also a popular response including social activities local and statewide, events for librarians under 35, opportunities to connect with others from similar sized institution, opportunities to network with tenure track librarians and share their experiences, volunteer internships and field study opportunities.

One person requested that PaLA lower the cost of membership since academics do not get reimbursed for these fees. Another thought that PaLA should provide more value for cost of membership.

Several suggestions were made for PaLA to do more outreach to academic librarians, for example, recruit more academic librarians by contacting library directors and ALA members, be more visible, get more academic librarians involved in PaLA, and include academics in communications and initiatives.

Service, collaboration, and lobbying for academic libraries were some additional requests.

Other suggestions included requests to assist in matching newly graduated library students with professional jobs, futures planning, build PA Information Literacy Standards (outcomes based) for higher education that build on standards in place in PA high schools.

Some responders also said that they had no suggestions for improvement.

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