LITA, LLAMA, ALCTS collaboration FAQ: Post #1

On February 23, I posted for discussion a proposal on a closer formal relationship between LITA, LLAMA, and ALCTS. That included an anonymous feedback form where you can ask questions, express feelings, et cetera. I will be collating and answering these questions every few weeks here on LITAblog (so please keep asking!).

Thus far there is just one question, but I’m sure it speaks for many of you: “Will my dues go up if these three divisions combine?” And the answer is: we’re not totally sure yet; it depends, but up and down are both possibilities; and either way you’d get more value from your membership.

We recognize that finances are an important issue for most of our members, and any combined effort has to be financially sustainable for both the divisions and our members, or it can’t go forward. We (the leadership of the three divisions) are in the process of constituting a finance workgroup to look closely at the numbers and advise us on plans. Until that group reports, we will not have exact numbers for you. But here’s what we know right now:

  • LLAMA personal member dues are $50, LITA’s are $60, and ALCTS’s are $75.
  • …unless you’re a student, in which case your dues are $15 (ALCTS, LLAMA) or $25 (LITA).
  • LITA also has a non-salaried member tier; ALCTS has several additional tiers.
  • Some people are paying dues to multiple divisions: almost 800 people who are in both LITA and LLAMA, almost 600 who are in both LITA and ALCTS, and at least one who’s in all three. (Me, as of my membership renewal last week.)

Some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that we can have a viable path forward with dues in the current ballpark, but what that means for you personally depends on which dues you are paying. It’s entirely possible that some members will see no change, some will see an increase, and some will see a decrease.

Regardless of how the numbers work out for you, I’d like to leave you with an idea wisely suggested by LLAMA President-Elect Lynn Hoffman. There are lots of people who would like to be in more than one of these three divisions, but who find it too expensive. If you’re one of them, and I came to you and said “you can have a whole second division for just $10 or $20 more than you’re paying right now”…would you jump at that chance?

My Google docs folder for my files on the merger question is labeled Stronger Together, because the consensus of the LITA Board after Midwinter was that there are so many ways we can benefit from each others’ strengths. LITA members, you already know how much technological skill, creativity, and hard work are in this division. We run high-profile events like Top Tech Trends and Happy Hour; we publish really useful books; we’re the only one of the three divisions to run a face-to-face conference.

But we’ve heard for years that you want more of a leadership training pathway, and more ways to stay involved with your LITA home as you move into management; LLAMA opens up all kinds of natural opportunities. They have an agile divisional structure with their communities of practice and an outstanding set of leadership competencies.

And anyone involved with library technology knows that we live and die by metadata, but we aren’t always experts in it; joining forces with ALCTS creates a natural home for people no matter where they are (or where they’re going) on the technology/metadata continuum. ALCTS also runs far more online education than LITA and runs a virtual conference.

If these three divisions united – no matter whether your dues went up or down – you’d be getting a lot more value for your membership dollars. We wouldn’t even be considering the question if we weren’t certain that was the case, and we won’t advance to formal changes unless we have a financial plan we can believe in.

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