Every year the American Library Association (ALA) sends out its annual call for volunteers for committee work. Last week, I was happily reminded why I love being a part ALA. I want to share my journey on how beneficial it is to be active in the professional organization. I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Library Science through the University of North Texas’ online program. The benefits of my online LIS program is that it has given me the opportunity to become mobile and take advantage of library fellowships, internships, and leadership programs.
3 Benefits for Joining ALA as a Student Member:
I joined because I wanted to get involved and learn about the library profession in a holistic way. ALA is an organization that seeks to speak about the various aspects of the library profession, from technical services, public services, career development, information literacy, research/statistical assessments, diversity initiatives, etc. My participation as a 2010 ALA Emerging Leader (Group D), was invaluable because I had the opportunity to learn about the Assn. for Library Collection and Technical Services (ALCTS), a committee within ALA. It was through my EL project participation, I was offered a volunteer position as a webinar technical assistant with the ALCTS CE Technical Subcommittee.
By joining ALA as a student, I have met wonderful people along the way who have encouraged me to take on projects and have served as wonderful role models. I wanted to meet people in the library world and build professional relationships in the field. Through my experience as an ALA Student Member, I feel like my expectations have been met by my affiliation. I have taken advantage of ALA-sponsored webinars related to career development, job searching strategies, and internship opportunities.
I have taken a unique path by not having professional library experience before entering my library program. I do not regret not having library experience prior to attending library school. I am not discouraged about the literature reviews or reports about library hiring trends. My curiosity, motivation, and active participation in ALA will give me the experience I need in the future. My participation as a student member in ALA has allowed me to develop skills in technical services and has kept me aware of current trends in the library world. So my advice to students….don’t wait until you have your degree to get experience start now! Become Active Now!