Membership Stats: First Quarter of FY2010 Shows Positive Trend

December 23, 2009

Associate Executive Director for Communications and Member Relations Cathleen Bourdon sent American Library Association staff a welcome seasonal greeting this morning, namely a report on membership statistics that helps mitigate some of the doom and gloom that most of us have been feeling. Year-to-date membership transactions for FY2010 are ahead of the same quarter in FY2009 by +9.1%, she said.  This positive trend is largely due to a record setting AASL National Conference and the opening of registration for both Midwinter 2010 and the 2010 PLA National Conference.  Membership in ALA had declined in FY2009, Bourdon said, but the surprising side of the decline is that it was a mere 2.7%. To look at it from an even more positive perspective, the decline also reflects the fact that "ALA has undertaken a clean-up of its membership database. Errors related to duplicate records or resulting from member-type conversions (e.g. from Student to Regular membership status) that occurred over a number of years were removed from the database. As a result, membership statistics for FY2008 and 2009 are being restated. As of August 2009, the close of our last fiscal year, ALA membership stood at 61,739 members, a -4.8% or 3,145 member decrease from 64,884 in August 2008.  Of that decrease, 1,781 were non-renewing members and 1,364 records were removed as errors. This means that when errors are subtracted, that the overall membership decline in 2009 was 2.7%. New staff training as well as new database procedures are being undertaken to reduce the error rate in the future, Bourdon said.