This week, I’m supposed to do some research into professional associations for librarians and pick a couple that interest me. The number of available associations was longer than I was expecting, but I hope to stay in Michigan and work with children, so I was able to narrow the list down substantially. Below are two of the most interesting associations for me, ones that I will likely join as soon as I stop being a poor college student and actually start making some money.
The Michigan Library Association
MLA has a very simple mission: “Helping libraries and library professionals succeed.”
According to the MLA website, it is the “oldest and largest library association” in the state. It was founded in 1890 and has over 1500 members today, representing all types of libraries. Members are required to pay dues, ranging from $50 annually for students to $170 annually for unaffiliated individuals, and higher rates for organizations based on the size of their budget.
Members benefit from advocacy services provided by MLA, conferences and other opportunities for continued education and professional advancement, and a collection of job postings and job hunting resources. The Association also presents several awards each year including “Librarian of the Year” and the “Michigan Author Award.”
MLA is active on Facebook and Twitter, posting information about upcoming events, award winners, and general library-related information.
MLA publishes a quarterly newsletter and various books. It used to publish a peer-reviewed journal, but production was “suspended indefinitely” in 2009. This journal featured a mix of articles, editorials, and book reviews.
I hope to be able to stay in Michigan (dependent, of course, on finding a job here), which is why this association is of interest to me. At this point I can’t really afford even the discounted student rate, as I’m just starting to pay back my student loans from undergrad. However, if I am able to get a library job in Michigan post-graduation, I will probably join this association.
Association for Library Service to Children
This association is a division of the American Library Association, and has changed names twice since it was founded in 1941. Previous names were “The Division for Children and Young People” and “Children’s Services Division of the ALA.” It’s purpose is “creating a better future for children through libraries.” According to the ALSC website, ALSC is “the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children” with over 4000 members including children’s librarians, publishers, children’s literature experts, teachers, and others. ALSC is in charge of awards such as the Caldecott and Newberry awards for quality children’s literature.
Becoming a member requires ALA membership and annual dues in addition to the ALA dues, ranging from $20 for students to $55 for organizations. The total dues for a student add up to $54 per year.
Membership brings benefits such as access to resources in the form of collections of links to pertinent information, subscriptions, discounts, and grant money, professional development classes, and networking opportunities, and resources for grass roots advocacy.
ALSC publications are mostly books with information about award-winning books, the decision process for awards like the Newberry, and child literacy resources. ALSC also publishes a quarterly newsletter only accessible by members.
ALSC has an active Facebook page with posts about award deadlines, training sessions, and applicable articles and links. It doesn’t have a Twitter feed posted on its homepage like MLA does and I don’t have a Twitter account, so I can’t be sure what they do there.
This association is of interest to me because I hope to become a children’s and youth librarian in a public library. If I don’t end up joining this association, I will join a similar one, such as the Young Adult Library Services Association.
Welcome to the Michigan Library Association. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2013, from http://www.mla.lib.mi.us/
ALSC Association for Library Service to Children. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2013 from http://www.ala.org/alsc/