To associate or not to associate

I have read many posts and many more comments on posts regarding library association members and I have to admit that my head is spinning!

Before I start I should let you know that I belong to 1 association and that is only because work pays for it.

Now, what is the point of a professional organization? To me the point of being a member should be summed up on one word “opportunity”

Opportunity to learn from others in your field and opportunity to socialize and network with said people. Maybe that’s a simplified definition, but that’s how I see it. Not being a member, I don’t know the details, but it sounds to me like the ALA is not fostering opportunities like it should.

I wish I could remember all of the posts I’ve read, but one commenter stated that people would be better off joining their state library associations instead of the ALA (or was it in addition to – can’t remember). One other person mentioned (which I didn’t know) that you have to join the ALA in order to join organizations like LITA (which is something I have considered joining) – which seems like a money making scheme to me.

Meredith has a post that I just read today titled: Martyrdom and ALA, which in addition to being a good post has some very interesting comments. Dorothea comments

What I've said is, ALA is inefficient, ineffective, and on a couple of vital issues entirely wrongheaded, and as good people, we have RUN OUT OF WAYS TO CHANGE THAT from within.

I repeat my call. Leave ALA until ALA comes to the table with a serious plan for reform…

Posts like this and the others I’ve been reading lately make me want to joining any library associations. Not that I can say that anyone is right or wrong – because I’m not really involved – but Dorothea’s call (and others) has made me decide to sit back and wait.

5 comments

  1. “One other person mentioned (which I didn’t know) that you have to join the ALA in order to join organizations like LITA (which is something I have considered joining) – which seems like a money making scheme to me.”

    That was me–and I would disagree. LITA is a division of ALA. It is not a separate entity. The financial relationship between divisions and the associations is tricky (particularly because, technically, there is only one financial entity: ALA).

    I don’t know of any professional association that lets you join a roundtable or division or subgroup without also being part of the whole.

    As it happens, I do believe ALA offers good opportunities to socialize and network–that’s why, although I’m pondering the LITA situation, I’m still a member and go to both annual get-togethers. They’re big, and can overwhelm people, but they certainly offer hundreds/thousands of opportunities to network and socialize.

  2. You know what else they offer? A TON of scholarships which is why I was considering joining in the first place :)

    Maybe if your ALA membership included membership to up to 2 additional divisions – or something to that effect – hmmm. But you’re right I am overwhelmed!

  3. “One other person mentioned (which I didn’t know) that you have to join the ALA in order to join organizations like LITA (which is something I have considered joining) – which seems like a money making scheme to me.”

    That was me–and I would disagree. LITA is a division of ALA. It is not a separate entity. The financial relationship between divisions and the associations is tricky (particularly because, technically, there is only one financial entity: ALA).

    I don’t know of any professional association that lets you join a roundtable or division or subgroup without also being part of the whole.

    As it happens, I do believe ALA offers good opportunities to socialize and network–that’s why, although I’m pondering the LITA situation, I’m still a member and go to both annual get-togethers. They’re big, and can overwhelm people, but they certainly offer hundreds/thousands of opportunities to network and socialize.

  4. You know what else they offer? A TON of scholarships which is why I was considering joining in the first place :)

    Maybe if your ALA membership included membership to up to 2 additional divisions – or something to that effect – hmmm. But you’re right I am overwhelmed!

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