At ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston, one of the topics the YALSA Board focused on was YALSA’s dues and member categories. This was a follow-up to a Annual Conference 2015 conversation at which the Board approved placing on the YALSA 2016 ballot an item that will ask association members to approve an initiative that allows YALSA to align dues with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In Boston the Board looked at three more options for the 2016 ballot on the topic of dues and member categories:
- Raising regular member dues by $5 to $65/year.
- Raising organizational member dues by $30 to $100/year
- Not adding any ballot items beyond the previously approved CPI related measure
After discussing the three options the Board decided to not add a ballot item other than the CPI measure. However, the Board wanted to continue to review this topic, particularly once the association’s current organizational planning is done. With that in mind, the Board did approve the following motion:
The YALSA Board table the discussion on dues revisions and review the topic after organizational planning is complete.
It will be up to YALSA members to decide if the CPI alignment moves forward. Members can vote on the measure during ALA elections (open from March 15 through April 22). The Annual 2015 YALSA Board document discussed the challenges of the current timeline for Board review of member dues. That documents notes:
Past Board practice has been to bring dues related matters to members infrequently, between every 5 – 10 years, in order to avoid having the issue on the ballot constantly. As a result, when dues increases need to occur, they are often a sizeable—between $5 and $10. This is because the rate has remained flat for a number of years while expenses have been increasing due to inflation, rises in the cost of living, etc. Additionally, changes to the dues structure happen infrequently and not always in a timely manner. For example, when the recession began in late 2008 YALSA did not have a discounted dues category for non-salaried library staff. The Board took action to create one; however, due to the process outlined in the Bylaws, the change was not able to go into effect until nearly two years into the recession.
Because dues increases and category changes are infrequent and there is no ability to plan for them (since a ballot measure may or may not pass), long term financial planning is difficult. Additionally, in years when dues are static but the cost of living increases, YALSA is at a disadvantage because the organization has less buying power but still has to deliver the expected level of service and amount of products. Lastly, implementing any changes at all.
The CPI alignment, which was approved and is in place for ALA member dues and PLA member dues, will make it possible for YALSA to be much more successful in financial planning and in meeting the needs of members serving teens in libraries.
You can read the Board documents from Annual Conference 2015 and Midwinter Meeting 2016 related to the dues and member categories. If you have any questions about the decisions of the Board in this area feel free to contact me, YALSA’s Fiscal Officer.