Comparing AALL & SLA

I’m writing up a report for one of my classes. I have to compare 2 library associations and I chose SLA & AALL since they’re both close to what I do. One way I can gather info is to ask others – so if you’re a member of either or both and want to share a pro, con, or story with me – please feel free. The report is due on Sunday – but I leave for Internet Librarian on Sunday so I’ll probably hand it in early.


  1. I’m a member of SLA for one reason–it’s the best way to network with local librarians in the St. Louis area. It’s the only group of librarians that makes an effort to meet face to face monthly, even if just for a happy hour. I read _Information Outlook_, occasionally finding something useful, but I completely ignore the national conference. I also ignore the web site except as a path to get to my chapter web site.

    I do go to our chapter-sponsored replays of SLA webcasts and occasionally get something useful from them–I have high hopes for one next week that will be about how to feed RSS onto a web page.

    My theory is that most public and academic librarians work with librarians all day and aren’t all that motivated to create opportunities for social interaction as well. Special librarians, on the other hand, are often solo librarians or just a handful of librarians in a large company full of chemists or engineers. So, special librarians enjoy spending time with other librarians and they make the effort to create an active, vibrant group for themselves.

  2. I haven’t had experience with public & academic library associations (much) so I can’t confirm your statement – but I can say that the Greater Philadelphia Law Library Association gets together at least once a month – and I like that – so you might be right about special librarians.

  3. It’s too late for this comment to be a factor, but I’ve noticed something in the law library world. Far more attention is paid to law libraries and law library associations than other kinds of libraries and more general library associations such as ALA, SLA, and state associations. At work, outside of our AALL rep, I might be the only employee who’s active in an association that doesn’t focus exclusively on law libraries and law librarians. I’m not a member of AALL or the local law librarians’ association… yet.

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