This is potentially a controversial issue – but it has to be said.
I just renewed my SLA membership, the only library association I belong to. Why is it the only one? I love the people at SLA, the courses they offer and how they keep up with the times and technologies. Even with all of that, I wouldn’t be a member if they treated members the same way some of the other associations do.
I was recently asked to participate in an interest group for an association. I said, ‘heck yeah, but I’m not a member do I have to be?’ Apparently I can participate for a period of time without being a member – but why not join the association?? It’s simple. I do a lot of speaking and I have only one rule when it comes to speaking – I will not pay to speak for an association (local libraries – sure – but big associations – fat chance). I will accept a reimbursement of my expenses (without honorarium) in most cases, but I will not pay out of pocket to speak for an association when I can educate librarians at no cost to me via several other venues.
Today I filled out forms to speak at 3 conferences. Two of them require that members speak without any compensation and I just can’t live with that – so I don’t join. I spoke at a state conference last year and had to fight to get my mileage reimbursed because they insisted that association members and librarians who work in the state don’t get paid to speak. Why?
I want to belong to more associations, I want to help the library profession and share my knowledge, but I do not want to – and will not – go bankrupt doing so.
So there you go, that’s the reason I am not a member of many library associations that I would love to join (and pay for membership in). That’s the reason you’ll be seeing me at so many conferences next year – because I’m not a member and that means I can actually afford to come speak to you.