Can you hear us? Results of an ALIA NGAC communication survey

About ALIA NGAC

The ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee (ALIA NGAC) exists to help strengthen the participation of recently graduated library and information professionals in the Association. The Committee provides advice to the ALIA Board of Directors on issues of relevance to students and new professionals; we maintain our commitment to transparency and this post gives us the opportunity to list some of the things we submitted to the Board in 2018.

ALIA NGAC is run by a group of busy but dedicated volunteers, whose range of other commitments sometimes keep us from completing things as soon as we’d like! With this in mind, we would like to share some results from 2017.

2017 Communication Survey

In late 2017, ALIA NGAC conducted a survey to explore students and new graduates’ experiences and preferences for communicating with ALIA and ALIA Groups. We received over 100 responses, from a range of different locations with experience skewed towards new graduate and early career practitioners.
The results of this survey are intended to help ALIA and ALIA Groups (particularly our friends in the ALIA Students & New Graduates Group) plan their communications with members. We submitted the results to the ALIA Board in early 2019. Below are some of the highlights.

Key takeaways 

• While eLists are increasingly seen as clunky, they are still used for sharing information, particularly in specialised sectors of the Library and Information Community. It is also an effective way to reach people via email, which was overwhelmingly the preferred method of contact.
• Overall, there was positive feedback for ALIA’s communication. Preferences for social media and a mix of formal & informal communication styles emerged as trends.
• Events and professional development remain key concerns of the student and new graduate community. There are still concerns around cost as well as accessibility for rural/remote members.

Do you use e-lists?

eLists have underpinned much of ALIA e-communication. The survey asked
whether our followers used them.

Do you use elists graph: 117 respondents said yes.

Of respondents who use eLists, the survey asked for specific types of eLists subscribed to. The following diagram has used frequency to visualise the results. Specialised sectors (such as public, special, health libraries) were well represented.

Wordbank of results: the words health, new grads, weekly, specials, and public are most represented.

Frequency for validated responses

When asked how they would improve ALIA eLists, some respondents suggested more encouragement to post, increased visibility of groups, and a wider variety of communication channels (such as Slack). Other respondents said they were happy with the current system.

As well as the mechanism for communication, the survey asked questions about the quality and volume of communication as well as preferences for
communication styles.

What style of information do you prefer?
Info style preference graph: 115 prefer a blend of formal, professional and informal information.

What is the best way to communicate to you?
Communicate Wordbank: the words email and social media are represented the most.Results Link

Finally, the survey asked what types of information and events were most
important to our followers.

What types of Information would you most like communicated to you?
Type of info preferred graph, with articles, events & PD most represented.

For the question: “What types of Information would you most like communicated to you?” there were 62 responses coded as articles or news. These included requests for national and international library news, latest research, and grey literature. While some responses highlighted relevancy, only a minority (3) specifically requested sector specific news (e.g. health sector). 53 responses requested events, including social gatherings and conferences. Many of these requested a local focus. 48 responses included Professional Development activities be communicated to them and 5 formal training. There were strong concerns about access for regional or non-city based professionals. For both PD and events, many responses also included comments about affordability. There were 19 responses coded for job vacancies and we coded 15 responses for advocacy. Responses in this area primarily related to ALIA or FAIR campaigns (such as cooking for copyright) or general advocacy for libraries. Additional categories included career support (4) , such as work life balance, dealing with issues in the workplace); profiles of people working in the industry (3); networking (3); minutes of ALIA meetings (1) and cat gifs (1).

What type of events would you like to see?

Event preferences graph, with PD, networking and webinars most represented.

Responses to these questions were coded and clustered. PD, networking, and webinars (often recorded) were the most popular responses. There were also recurring comments about suitable events for rural/regional members and the importance of structured networking.

What’s next?

We encourage you to send us feedback on this survey. We also welcome volunteer coordinators of other ALIA Groups and Advisory Committees to contact us regarding the results. Comment below, tweet us, or send us an email.

ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee
with thanks to James McGoran

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