As students, you have the opportunity to join both ALA and your state’s library association at a discounted rate of $40.
Why spend the cash?
ALA offers you information on current topics in the field, discounted rates for education and conferences, access to scholarships, and more. Your membership also helps fund ALA infrastructure and pursue issues important to our field.
Your state association is most likely to be most helpful now as students and beginning professionals. They are great places to gain connections, mentorships, and training depending on how active your association is.
But you won’t know until you check it out!
If you are unhappy with what you see, be the change you want to see within any organization you join. If you try it and don’t find a nurturing environment, check back later. Maybe now isn’t a good time for them or you, but things change. Don’t write off connection opportunities unless you find a scam.
You’ve joined ALA…now what?
Get involved! Whether that is reading newsletters, taking classes, finding people who inspire you, or running for office, keeping track of our field helps you.
What are all the divisions, affiliations, round tables, etc?
These are interests groups within ALA that focus on a particular topic within our field.
I have a lot of interests and goals, but not enough money to join all the groups and goals.
That’s okay! Did you take a class that made you interested in one of these topics? Do you have a co-worker or person at your Directed Field Work (DFW) placement that has you excited about work? Talk to them. Whether it is a professor, classmate, or mentor, they might already be a member and can recommend a group for your interests and your budget.
Why join an ethnic caucus?
If you are a person of color, an ethnic caucus might be a good group to join. They are focused on diversity issues within their community, both the ones they serve and represent within librarianship, and they span topics and library types. Being a librarian of color presents different challenges and the ethnic caucuses can offer a place of support that might not be as readily available elsewhere.
The Take Away:
- Do what is right for you right now, mentally and fiscally
- Spend what fits with your budget
- Support infrastructure
- Get involved
- Be the change you want to see