United for Libraries + Emerging Leaders

Looking down the staircase at the Hatcher Graduate Library 

Project goals: 

Identify barriers to and incentives for millennial participation on library boards.

Skills applied: 

User research methodology, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, interviews, and large-scale surveys

Tools used:

Google Apps, Adobe Creative Suite, Dedoose

Duration + type:

February to June 2018; ALA Emerging Leaders 2018 project


What is Emerging Leaders?

I was a member of the 2018 class of ALA Emerging Leaders: a crash course in all things ALA and leadership. The five month program consists of working with both an ALA division and a project team. Each project has an end goal of a poster session at ALA Annual. Before ALA Midwinter, a sort of medical school match day ensues. Both individuals and divisions' projects choose their favorites, ultimately creating teams.

My team comprised Lina Bertinelli, Madeline Jarvis, and Tess Wilson. Our project, with United for Libraries, focused on increasing millennial engagement in civic library leadership.

The problem:

Pew Research identifies Millennials as the top generation of library users. United for Libraries recognized from their own anecdotal knowledge that this was not true for boards: Friends, Trustees, and Foundations. The translation from heavy users to board members was not happening with millennials.

United for Libraries gave my team carte blanche control of the project. Our goals were to identify why millennials were not serving on library boards, and to come up with strategies to solve the issue.

The results:

We conducted 12 interviews and received 866 survey responses from 41 states. With our data, we identified four broad reasons why millennials both do and do not serve.