02 Feb 18 ITTS Report to the ALA Information Technology Committee (ITAC)

The ITTS report to the ALA Information Technology Committee contains an update of what we’ve been working on since Annual 2017, along with information about upcoming projects. We’ll be discussing the contents of the report at the ITAC meeting at Midwinter on Sunday, February 11, 2018 from 3:00 PM-5:00 PM in CCC Room 204. (a pdf version).

01 Feb 18 New ALA Connect Updates

The pilot launch of LLAMA is now LIVE!

  • New ALA Connect pilot launch of LLAMA went live yesterday, (January 31, 2018 at 5:36 PM CST)
  • Users can visit the pilot launch site at
  • We will continue to work with LLAMA as we collect feedback for any needed tweaks.
  • ALA, Divisions and Round Tables are on task for full launch in late April, as per the Project Plan.

Information Sessions for the New ALA Connect will be held at Midwinter 2018.  Session titles include:

  • Overview/Demo
  • Search: Finding Groups, Content and People
  • Uploading Files and Related Topics
  • Profile & Account Management

All four sessions will be offered multiple times at the Grand Hyatt during Midwinter. Dates, times and session details are included in this pdf and can also be found in the Conference Scheduler.

Members and staff can also register for remote sessions held post Midwinter at .

30 Jan 18 2018 ALA Technology Investment Plan

The 2018 ALA Technology Investment Plan contains both background on ALA’s “technology debt” and a proposed pathway forward to implementation of a stable, flexible platform that will support ALA’s membership and programs into the future.  The plan calls for a multi-year, phased approach.  In addition to the baseline systems addressed in the plan, the increased capacity allows ALA ITTS, working with program units, to realistically explore implementation of targeted products to address specific volunteer and staff productivity needs.  These include a CRM system to support advocacy nation-wide and a data dashboard to enable staff to serve members more efficiently and effectively.

FY2019 budget discussions have focused strongly on reinvestment in the Association’s future.  These discussions continue to explore these parallel strategies:  (1) improve core resources and baseline systems and (2) make spot investments in carefully targeted productivity products.  Planning assumes a multiyear strategy.  It should also be noted that the plan aligns with other major ongoing activities, notably the Board-led conversation about simplifying and reinvigorating ALA.  The plan document repeatedly notes the negative impact of excessive complexity, combined with siloed structure.  To the extent these issues can be addressed in both ALA’s member-facing structure and internal organization, it is reasonable to expect corresponding gains in ALA IT effectiveness.

24 Jan 18 Public facing Web Servers – Slowness

On Thursday, January 18, the fiber optic interconnect module in our firewall began to malfunction, causing our public facing web servers to be very slow, sometimes unresponsive. We have disabled that module and routed around the problem. We have contacted our firewall vendor to get the module replaced.


11 Jan 18 New ALA Connect Pilot Launch: Sessions At Midwinter

ITTS is planning to launch LLAMA, as a pilot in the New ALA Connect!

  • We will gather feedback while giving the New Connect a test run.
  • ALA, remaining Divisions and Round Tables will be launched in Spring 2018.
  • The integration of the Work-Space module, (featuring native polls, collaborative documents, and more) will be released after the launch, as part of Phase II.
  • Training and demos will be offered during Midwinter.  Session times/dates can be found at
  • Registration for training after Midwinter is currently available, and can be found at More dates may be added, if needed.
  • Check out the link to the live, cloud-based Project Plan for latest up-to-date details on the launch progress.

This decision will help us avoid serious security vulnerabilities as well as save the cost of having to maintain, support and upgrade two systems. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.


Pamela Akins
Community Engagement Specialist, ITTS, x4210
American Library Association
50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611, 6th floor  312-280-4210

29 Nov 17 ALA Connect Project Update

We’ve been working hard to launch the new ALA Connect on January 2, 2018, but we’ve run into enough issues with the Higher Logic implementation that we need to postpone the launch until March. As a result, we will keep the current ALA Connect available until after the 2018 Midwinter Meeting.

We’re now working with Higher Logic on a revised project plan that will take the following points into account.

  • Higher Logic missed the deadline for our 2nd test migration by nearly 3 weeks. In our 2nd test migration our vendor (Higher Logic) encountered a number of items that needed to be addressed so that we have a smooth real-time migration in March.  These were important discovery items in our quality assurance processes, and affected our timeline.
  • There was a 3rd test migration process that began on November 17, 2017 (which did not affect how you use the current ALA Connect). We are currently verifying the groups, users, and content migration.
  • Higher Logic fixed a launch-stopping bug related to functionality with our nested hierarchies.
  • We will use the time between January and March 2018 to implement new features that were previously unavailable: native polls and collaborative documents.
  • The Division Membership Working Group has made remarkable progress in recommending a plan for implementing Automation Rules, as well as design enhancements to leverage the use of Higher Logic’s engagement tools for the division home pages.

Please feel free to reach out to Pam Akins with any questions or issues.

28 Sep 17 Network Outage

We experienced an outage of one of our core network switches this morning around 9:00am.  Internal and external services were affected. The outage lasted for about 30-40 minutes. The switch is back up and working. We are investigating the root cause.

Website logins were affected for a brief time as well.

Thank you for your patience.


13 Sep 17 New ALA Connect Project Implementation Update

While we are working to bring the new ALA Connect online, we have made the existing ALA Connect available again to make group, committee, and community updates, share documents, and other tasks at .  Any data entered there will be migrated to the new ALA Connect before launch.

The new ALA Connect is getting closer to meeting our needs, and we are very excited about the functionality the Higher Logic platform offers us.

Since our vendor confirmed the completion of the original migration of the more than 1,900 communities, we have been checking data integrity and ease of use. We have identified some missing communities and other data issues, and learned late last week it will take additional time to resolve the remaining migration issues.

We will notify you once we have a confirmed revised launch date for the new ALA Connect.

01 Sep 17 ALA Connect Launching October 2nd

The import of the data from our previous ALA Connect database into the New ALA Connect system took much longer than anticipated by our vendor.  This delay hindered our ability to perform testing and staff/member training. In addition, ALA has decided to implement some additional features, enhancements, and more training resources prior to launch. To provide an optimal member experience the launch has been rescheduled to Monday, October 2nd, 2017.


Please visit the ALA Connect resource page to schedule training.

23 Aug 17 ITTS Outage Alert: 9/8/2017 @ 5pm: Upcoming Server Room Power Interruption

We will be installing a new Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) System on Friday, September 8th at 5:00pm.  All of our server hardware will be shut down during the installation.  This includes most of our web presence. Some Cloud resources, such as Office 365, will be unaffected.  We estimate the outage will last at least 4 hours while the transfer takes place. ALA Staff must log off their workstations before 5pm.

 Thanks in advance for your cooperation!