So, what *could* we do with the dues increase revenue?

Here’s what I heard, in my capacity of (physically-present) electronic member of the ALA Membership Committee, from several days ago with vendor receptions and copious lack of sleep in between the hearing and the recall…

Some of what will happen with an approved dues increase:

ALA Staffing improvements

-filling the staff positions that have been “held open” — some of which are development positions tasked with raising non-dues revenue
-Administrivia (salaries, etc for ALA staff – not a whole lot of this, though)

Several identified improvements that require $3,000 – $7,000 each (which have been needed for a long time but were impossible due to lack of funds)

-website and improvements
-streamlining several member benefits processes
-better Round Table and Divisional support
-improved legislative advocacy support (the research portions of this are mostly grant funded, btw)

Currently ALA generates $4 for every $1 generated from dues, plans for some revenue from the raised dues are targeted at generating an additional $2 for each extra $1 from dues.

My impressions for what *won’t* happen if we choose to not increase dues:

Important pieces of ALA 2010, which was developed with input from a large majority of ALA members will fail, possibly spectacularly – depending on which fail.

-Development will fall off
-Legislative Advocacy (including research as the ground support withers) will suffer
-Intra-Association communication will not systematically improve

In short, from my exalted view (not *in* my exalted view -grin-) of the larger ALA organization on the Membership Committee, the organization needs a dues increase (in my apparently unpopular opinion, we are not making a large enough increase and we should just do it rather than attempt to ease the pain over a few years).

I urge you to review the ALA 2010 site. Read what we, the members, told ALA staff they ought to work toward for us. There should be a stream of Keith Fiels making the presentation he made to many ALA and Divisional Committee meetings at MidWinter at some point in the near future.

For the record I understand, and sympathize with many, arguments put forward opposing this increase. However, we are at a critical juncture – both within and outside our profession and our professional association. If we fail to stand for the broad ideals which underpin what we do (and live) we will have done a vast disservice to our future.

If you’re wondering, I will be voting for the increase – it is a minor burden on my home budget (one extra family dinner out per year for three years), but I feel we cannot afford to mark time and lose the ground we have maintained and gained in recent years.

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3 thoughts on “So, what *could* we do with the dues increase revenue?”

  1. First let me say that I am still relatively new to the profession AND that I have, until a couple of months ago, managed to remain an ALA member. Indeed, I am still trying to scurry up the funds to rejoin. I wish that the amount to belong to ALA was only the cost of a dinner out for me. Unfortunately, the costs of paying off graduate school, a child, retirement, medical bills, taxes, mortgage, and groceries, puts the cost of being an ALA member last on my list and rather hard to come by.

    I am especially undermotivated by the fact that I cannot give you anything concrete, tangible or direct that the organization has done for me. (I know I’m going to get railed for this.) I love that we have the voice to counter the Patriot Act. I love that the conferences give us opportunites to see what others are doing in their libraries. But what I don’t love is that I have had to actively seek out ways to be active in ALA only to find that the roundtable (etc.) seems to be in name only, unless, of course, you can afford to attend the yearly meetings. It is the only organization that I have every belonged to that didn’t come to me, asking me to be involved (I don’t believe reminding me that my dues are due counts) but instead required that I come to them; required that I work to find a way to be involved.

    That being said, my only problem with the increase in dues is that my expectations in regards to more money improving management, outreach, and purpose are pretty low. I can’t help but wonder if you can’t manage what you have well enough then why expect people to want to give you more.

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