Information Studies Students -- Consider a Professional Association!
As an Information Studies student, you receive many email messages about a number of professional organizations and their various divisions. You might be confused as to what they are all about and why you should join them. Once you graduate and find work, belonging to a professional organization is the best way to keep up with the latest changes in any profession including librarianship.
Participating in a national association such as the American Library Association, reading their publications and attending their conferences keeps you informed of the latest changes in technologies and ideologies. Joining a state association such as the New York Library Association allows you to keep informed of your state government’s support (or lack of thereof) for the local public and school libraries.
You may wish to join one or more sections, divisions or roundtabies within each association, such as those for catalogers, science librarians, or bibliographic instruction librarians. This allows you to meet and learn from your fellow librarians in the same or similar specialized fields.
Here is a list of some of library associations:
- Academic Librarians - ACRL –Association of College and Research Libraries and Eastern New York ACRL
- Public Librarians – PLA - Public Library Association
- Catalogers and Technical Services – ALCTS – Association for Library Collections and Technical Services
- School Media Specialists – AASL – American Association of School Librarians
- Young Adult Librarians – YALSA – Young Adult Library Services Association
- Reference and Information Literacy Instructors– RUSA – Reference and User Services Association
- Archivist –SAA – Society of American Archivists
- Special Librarians– SLA - Special Library Association and UNYSLA – Upstate New York Chapter Special Library Association
- Medical Librarians – MLA – Medical Library Association
- Music Librarians - MLA – Music Librarians' Association
- Law Librarians – AALL – American Association of Law Libraries<.li>
The following are local Capital District library associations:
- Business Librarians – CDBL – Capital District Business Librarians
- Technical Services Librarians – CATS – Capital Area Technical Services Committee
There are even a few student groups on campus:
- Student ALA and SCALA chapters – SCALA – Student Chapter of the American Library Association and New York Library Association
- Student ASIST chapter – Student chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
- Student SLA chapter - the Special Library Association Student Group
There is even a social and networking librarian’s group here in the Capital District:
- SLEEK – Special Librarians Eating and Exchanging Knowledge This group meets bimonthly for dinner and socializing.
And if you like to travel, there is even an international association:
The American Library Association or ALA is a very important association to join if you work in any library setting. This national group produces many useful publications for librarians such as the journals Booklist (containing recommended-only reviews of books, audio books, reference sources, video, and DVD titles) to Choice (containing reviews for collection development and scholarly research).
Probably the biggest reason to join as a student is because student fees are much cheaper than once you are out working in the field and have to pay regular fees. While some employers will pay for your association fees, others won’t.
There are a great number of library associations out there. If you are interested in learning about others, check out this link: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/resources/orgs.htm