ALA email

I know this email stuff is awfully advanced technology, but:

I got email to renew my membership today. At my work email address — well, actually at my old work email address, which is apparently one of several aliases for my current work email address (, if you’re wondering, although the business cards have the formal alias

So I click on the link (still not happy about LITA’s $60 or thrilled about ALA’s $110, but not ready to quit just yet either). And find that the password autoprovided isn’t the password I currently use. Fine; I click on the appropriate button and ALA emails my password.

To my gmail address. Which, now that I think about it, is what I told ALA I want to use for email.

So, fine, I log in and renew–it’s a strange cumbersome set of links, first to this page then back to that page then over to another page, but not too difficult–and it all finishes by saying it will email confirmation.

Which it does. To my old work email address.

Now that I think about it, I also changed my postal mail preferences to get stuff at home. So, of course, it’s still arriving at work. Except for the things that arrive at home.

I’m all for diversity–but maybe not in actually executing the preference changes that you invite people to do. Is proliferating an email address driven off a single membership number really that difficult? Is that what ALA needs the extra bucks for?

6 Responses to “ALA email”

  1. I must confess I’m confused how ALA has managed to do this. I joined SLA with my gmail account. A few months ago, I changed it to my work email. I’ve never had a problem with SLA sending some things to the old email and some things to the new email; it all seems nicely streamlined. I can’t imagine it’d be difficult for ALA to do the same.

  2. walt says:

    Well, ALA’s setup for modifying your preferences seems reasonably streamlined–but I think I’m not the only one to find that it doesn’t always work, or work consistently. Still, I have to admit, this sequence struck me as particularly bizarre.

  3. I wrote about this on Free Range Librarian and got email from people who had similar problems. First, there are several databases lurking around ALA. But more critically, the profile software is a problem. “Capricious” doesn’t begin to describe its issues. It sounds to me as if you are experiencing what I experienced, also described on FRL: the profile software didn’t keep your changes. This is a known problem that the profile software has had since launch. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t–which in my book means it’s not functioning.

    The last response I got was basically “thanks, it’s fixed!” I held my tongue at that point, because I had a feeling that was not really the case–not for a problem as chronic and long-standing as this one. (Note that the updates–accurate for the next four weeks–were entered by hand by ALA staff; I haven’t updated my own profile yet.)

    This IS what they need the extra bucks for–and assuming they spend it wisely, I’m all for it. Acquiring and implementing profile software that works would be really valuable for ALA’s members. One of the most basic capabilities for software managing a professional association’s membership database should be the ability to modify personal information globally–and have it STAY modified.

  4. Fiona says:

    All my communication from ALA immediately changed after I attended Annual this year from my personal to my work address (which I used to register for the event).

    They probably thought it was helpful, but I like to keep general communication at home, I only wanted the invoice to go to another address.

  5. Peter Murray says:

    There used to be this awful bug where my member ID number always showed up as the e-mail address. At first I thought I’d made a typo, but sure enough — the next time through the pages my e-mail address was my member ID number. I sent in a comment, but never heard back. Somehow I got the sneaking suspicion that the webform was just that — a form that took the information and that there was someone was getting that info and typing it into the “real” database.

    Needless to say, I’ve had my billing/contact preferences switched from work to home and back again. At one point I think I successfully purged all extraneous contact information to just my current work address (no home addresses or previous work addresses at all). That seems to have calmed things down.

  6. Walt and readers of Walt,

    I’d like to do what I can to address some of the specific problems and attempted changes to individuals’ ALA profiles, but I hesitate to do them “on my own” based soley on comments. If it’s possible to email me personally at ALA – – with the details again, I’ll be more than happy to bang my head against a wall with you. And maybe, possibly, get them fixed from the inside.