Assessment & Research Committee Midwinter 2009 Meeting Report

DATE: 1/24/2009

GROUP: Assessment and Research Committee

CHAIRS: Diane Bisom, Bonnie Postlethwaite

REPORTER: Bonnie Postlethwaite


MEETING: Committee meeting


CURRENT ACTIVITIES: Discussion Items & Actions:

  1. Approved minutes from prior meeting.
  2. Mary Taylor presented data files on LITA membership (available on Committee’s Google docs site).  Available data points cover various parameters, such as membership in other divisions; number of programs; etc.  Data seems to reflect a recurring trend of membership increases and decreases over time.  Personal membership trends over the past few years are:
    • 2003: 3907
    • 2004: 3776
    • 2005: 3423
    • 2006: 3500
    • 2007: 3752
    • 2008: 3447

    Mary also indicated that ALA will have a data dashboard later in the spring which may provide data and trends over time.  She also mentioned that ALA is doing a mailing to all people who have dropped membership in the last three years.

  3. Reasons for membership attrition were discussed, with speculation that some decreases could be due to increased LITA and ALA dues.  However, it is hard to read the tea leaves, so maybe some direct data from former members could be collected by conducting an exit interview.  The idea of making personal phone calls to former members was suggested and passed on the Membership Committee liaison, Mike Bolam, for consideration.  Mary will also check resources available through the Association of Associations to find any available best practices or tools for conducting exit interviews.
  4. The Education Committee reported on its survey to determine LITA members’ interests.  They are also looking at evaluation forms for various LITA programs (ALA conference, Forum, LITA camp).  And they are considering best ways to share data on what worked with a program to improve operations within LITA.
  5. Bonnie mentioned the 7 Measures suvey of LITA Committee/IG Chairs that was conducted at ALA Midwinter.  The results are still being compiled and will be posted to the Committee’s Google docs site.
  6. Co-chairs asked Committee to think about the LITA Research agenda in order to be able to advise the LITA Board on next steps and budget needs.  We need to work with other LITA units to determine what data might be needed.  Priority questions needing to be addressed are membership recruitment and retention and programming.


  1. Action item: Develop a template for what this committee could do for the other units.
  2. Action item: Committee members should go to Town Hall Meeting to hear about both member and outsider perceptions of LITA.
  3. Action item: Review survey results that Bonnie is compiling and be prepared to discuss by email.
  4. Action item: Committee members with terms expiring in June 2009 who are interested in renewing or joining this committee need to fill in the volunteer form on the LITA website.  The new appointment would begin after ALA Annual in July 2009.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Present: Diane Bisom (Co-Chair); Bonnie Postlethwaite (Co-Chair); Frank Cervone; Gail Clement; Michelle Kowalsky; Mike Bolam; Andres Orphanides (via Skype); Stephanie Walker (via Skype); Elizabeth German (Guest); Mary Taylor (LITA Executive Director); Peter Hernon (Guest); Ranti Junus (Guest).

Minutes compiled by Gail Clement.