Membership Advisory Group – January–June 2024 Report


The group met 2-3 times this reporting period.

After reviewing the current PLA Strategic Plan, please tell us:

Describe the current work of this committee and how it supports our strategic goals. Include work accomplished, decisions made, and any recommended follow-up actions.
(PLA Goal) Transformation: PLA works with and for public libraries as they evolve to become more responsive to and reflective of ever-changing community needs.

· (PLA Objective) Provide platforms for libraries to share and test emerging best practices that lead to active inclusion, welcoming and belonging

o The Membership Advisory Group was a strong presence in the Member Lounge throughout the PLA Conference. We helped guide people to the sessions there for EDISJ Discussion and Support and Public Library Data Discussion and Support.

o MAG also led a well-received button making activity in the space that helped spark conversation. One of the buttons that could be made indicated that this was the person’s first time at PLA conference to serve as a visual clue for those who might need extra help and a welcoming smile.

o Other activities suggested by the Membership Advisory Group included a Lunch Buddies Meetup and a Knitting Circle that helped people feel welcome and make new connections / network. These meet-ups were very popular. We had feedback from attendees that they made friends, their conference was more enjoyable and that they felt more connection to the organization.

(PLA Goal) Organizational Excellence: PLA is the most trusted and innovative public library member organization.

· (PLA Objective) Prioritize and align resources to increase membership and revenue.

o A co-chair of the committee, Meredith McCarthy, and the PLA staff liaison, Samantha Lopez, both served on the ALA Workgroup for Standardization of Division Membership Dues and solicited feedback from PLA members and the PLA Board to bring back to the working group.

(PLA Goal) Professional Growth: PLA offers inclusive pipelines and pathways for the professional growth of all library workers.

· (PLA Objective) Grow the knowledge, skills and confidence of workers at all levels within local public libraries.

o The Membership Advisory Group members regularly send personalized welcome emails to all new members of PLA highlighting upcoming webinars and other professional development opportunities.

o MAG volunteered at the PLA lounge and fielded a lot of questions about the organization and how to get involved. Co-Chair, Sarah Tansley, emailed folks with volunteer information after the conference and fielded questions from potential volunteers.

Do you see opportunities to better align committee work with those goals?
Samantha Lopez is very good at reaching out to the Membership Advisory Group to share with us opportunities to give member feedback and other opportunities to serve on projects such as reviewing conference scholarship applications.

What recommendations do you have for in-coming committee members? Are there particular streams of
work in progress to be carried over into the new committee year?
(January–June reporting period only)
The new member welcome emails are an ongoing project. We have also been brainstorming virtual networking ideas to keep membership engaged in an off-conference year.

What specific activities will this committee undertake over the next six months to support that alignment? (July–December reporting period only)

Are there other PLA or ALA committees whose partnership and collaboration would accelerate meeting PLA strategic goals?
None currently.

Is there anything else about your committee experience you’d like to share?
It has been a pleasure serving as co-chairs of the Membership Advisory Group. We have a wide range of library staff involved with the group, so it’s been great to make new connections with people from all over the country. Our staff liaison, Samantha Lopez, is wonderful. She is always there to support the group and its mission to serve the members of PLA.

Submitted by Sarah Tansley and Meredith McCarthy on 06/06/2024