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August 18, 2011 / Christian M.

Thing 7: Getting Out There and Meeting Folks

Thing 7 is about professional organizations, and the opportunities they provide for face-to-face networking, training, certification, and publication. I have joined several organizations this year….but to be honest, I have not been an active member in any of them. I’m trying to change that starting this fall.

Time to start handing out more business cards!

As a recipient of a 2010 ALA Spectrum Scholarship, I also received one year of free membership in the American Library Association which started January 2011. Included with my ALA membership is membership in a few of the divisions as well: Association for Library Service to Children, Library and Information Technology Association, Public Library Association, Reference and User Services Association, and Young Adult Library Services Associations. I chose these divisions because they are applicable to my current job as a library associate in a public library.


I attended the Spectrum Leadership Institute in June, which included some involvement in the ALA Annual Conference. One of the workshops I really enjoyed during the Institute was the Professional Options Fair. Representatives from over thirty-five professional organizations were present, and the Spectrum Scholars went around to the different tables to learn what each organization had to offer.


I joined the Black Caucus of the American Library Association this year. Student membership is $10. The mission of this organization is to be an advocate for library services to the African American population and to provide leadership for recruitment and professional development of African American librarians. I met the president of BCALA during the Spectrum Institute. I expressed interest in becoming involved in one of the committees. I was supposed to email him when I returned home, after I surveyed the descriptions of the committees. I got caught up in my summer class though….so two months later I still have not emailed him yet…..


I am in my second year of membership with the District of Columbia Library Association.  Membership is free for students. I admit I originally joined just so I could qualify to apply for their scholarship. They do offer a lot of good events and activities, but most of the time they conflict with my work schedule. I was awarded a scholarship this year, and attended their annual banquet in the spring to receive the check. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with librarians from the DC-area. This experience encouraged me to try to fit more of their events into my schedule.


I joined the Medical Library Association in January after I decided to pursue health sciences librarianship. The student membership fee is $45. I just realized this summer that there are local chapters of the organization. So I plan to join the Mid Atlantic Chapter (additional fee of $10 for students) and attend at least one day of its annual conference in October.


I plan to join the Special Libraries Association in January 2012, and probably it’s DC Chapter and the Biomedical and Life Sciences division as well. Student membership is $40 and membership in one chapter and one division is included without additional charge. SLA-DC has a lot of great events and activities in my area, and they sometimes partner with DCLA as hosts for events.


My goal starting this coming school year is to become an active and contributing member within a few local professional organizations (DCLA, SLA-DC, and MLA-MAC), and to attend a couple of events each semester, and to present a poster for at least one local conference within the next year (if possible). Going into my second year of the MLS, I have a better idea of what I need from these organizations, and also what I can offer. I will probably drop my membership in BCALA and ALA (temporarily – maybe for a year). I want to focus my time and resources on the organizations that can be the most beneficial to me right now. I think it will be easier for me to engage in the local organizations right now instead of the national ones. Plus, I’m trying to keep my total membership dues under $100 per year.


Image Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos


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