Overview of the Joint Student Membership Program
Forty-six Chapters partner with ALA to offer the joint student membership program, allowing students to join one Chapter and ALA for one low price. Joint student membership dues are $42, now through August 31, 2020. The dues amount ($42) is split equally between ALA and the participating Chapter.
The program was initiated to broaden ALA’s outreach and recruitment to library school students. ALA recognizes that the best way to grow and strengthen its outreach is through personal memberships that encourage concurrent involvement in Chapter and ALA activities.
If your association is discussing whether to participate in the program, or already has voted to participate, please let Mariel know your status. Thanks!
How the Program Is Administered
Once the partnership has been agreed upon, ALA e-mails a contract to the Chapter to be signed and returned. Part of the agreement is that ALA assumes the majority of administrative responsibility for this project.
- Dues. ALA receives the dues payment and application directly from each the new member.
- Online Membership. With information supplied by the Chapter, ALA creates an informational brochure outlining the membership benefits of joining ALA and the state library association and posts this brochure online. Students may join ALA and the participating Chapter by calling ALA Membership and Customer Services (MACS). However, ALA and the Chapters should encourage students to join online for several good reasons:
- Membership Receipts. Online memberships automatically generate e-mailed receipts sent to MACS and the appropriate state association’s designated contact(s). These receipts are up-to-date receipts of when students joined online. A monthly financial report (see Financial Report below) ALA e-mails to the Chapter-designated contact(s) will include contact information for all students joining or renewing through MACS and joining online.)
- Some Chapters like to quickly use the receipts for follow-up calls/e-mails (etc.) as well as advise the new student member of Chapter special services, offerings, benefits, etc.
- Indeed, these e-mailed receipts are most important during the weeks before or the week of Chapter conferences when students join for the discounted registration fees since these receipts help indicate they have joined.
- If the ALA financial report has not been received to indicate students have joined, students or the Chapters can contact Mariel Colbert to verify students are joint members.
- In short, automatically generated and sent e-mail receipts are not intended to comprise a “financial report” of all joint student members who joined in a particular month. They are e-mailed primarily to let each participating Chapter know who has joined online, to help state associations provide a customer service to these students by allowing, for example, conference discounts based on these receipts, regardless of when students joined, and to gain membership benefits as quickly as possible.
- Financial Report. On a monthly schedule (usually between the 12th and 15th of each month), ALA e-mails the roster of new (both online and through MACS) and renewing members to the participating Chapters designated contact(s) along with requesting ALA Accounting to send an electronic deposit or a physical check to be deposited by the end of the month. Membership dues are equally divided between ALA and the Chapter and confer full rights of membership in both organizations during the time of one’s membership. (ALA’s membership is based on anniversary date, not a calendar year.) For example, between the 12th and 15th of each month, a joint membership report is created by ALA technical staff that reflects all joint memberships for the previous month. Reports specific to partners participating in the joint membership program are e-mailed to them, and checks are requested based on those reports. These checks will be mailed or deposited by end of the month. If a student joins in April, for example, the report will not be sent until May but the report will be, in fact, the April joint membership report.
- Promoting the Program. ALA currently provides chapters in the joint program with basic marketing materials, including brochures (see Brochure Information below) and online application links for the joint membership. It is vital to the success of the joint student membership program that each Chapter is an active partner in promotion to potential members. However, due to the difficulty of managing multiple, divergent dues products across participating Chapters, ALA does not administer division or round table dues for Chapters; each Chapter is encouraged to contact new members with these additional opportunities. ALA also promotes the program via its quarterly student e-mail, Student AL Direct, its online student member portal, the CRO website, which includes resources for Student Chapters, e-mail promotions to Student Chapter leaders, and more, including promotions through social media.
In sum, there is about a one-month delay in receiving the dues split because of process:
- ALA—which is on an anniversary membership schedule—receives all the dues and, after verifying them, processes them and notifies students. However, around the 12th of each month ALA generates a report of all joint student members since the last report was generated. Each partnering Chapter receives its copy of this report via e-mail.
- If a student joins a Chapter and ALA on September 10, that Chapter may not receive notification of the student joining or its share of the dues until October (in this example, October 12-16 for the report; October 22-31 for a check or deposit).
- A check is requested based on each report. These checks will be mailed or deposited by end of the month.
- Remember, automatically generated and sent e-mail receipts are not intended to comprise a “financial report” of all joint student members who joined in a particular month. They are e-mailed primarily to let each participating Chapter know who has joined online and when to help state associations provide a customer service to these students by allowing, for example, conference discounts based on these receipts, regardless of when students joined, and to gain membership benefits as quickly as possible.
- It’s also worth noting that a student may call ALA and join. If so, a receipt is not sent; however, that student will be recorded in the monthly report.
ALA needs contact information from each partnering Chapter:
- An e-mail address for each contact in the Chapter who would receive a receipt of each online student joining both associations.
- An e-mail address for each contact in the Chapter who would receive the monthly report of every student joining both associations (i.e., online and through ALA MACS).
- Each participating Chapter has to let ALA know if it wants its membership dues deposited electronically or whether it wants a physical check. If a physical check is required, ALA needs the Chapter’s physical address where the membership dues check should be sent.
To help Chapters answer the questions needed to create their brochures, a brief survey was created. From this survey, an Excel spreadsheet can be downloaded and sent to the ALA vendor that creates joint student membership brochures. To assist in obtaining this information, a sample brochure with the Fields designated, along with the survey link, is sent to the Chapter contact(s). In addition, the survey itself contains examples of the information requested.
How do Chapters on a calendar membership schedule deal with joint memberships, which are on an anniversary membership schedule?
Chapters with calendar membership schedules create a special category just for the joint student members. This solution seems to work well. I’ve been helping shepherd the joint membership program for over a decade, and no Chapter to my knowledge has had an issue with calendar vs. anniversary. I can only assume that any Chapter with a calendar year membership either deals with it similarly, as I have explained, or it simply hasn’t been too great a concern. Since the program is such a wonderful student benefit, it’s not an obstacle.
How Does ALA Determine Beginning and Ending Dates of Members?
The date of the original payment is not what ALA uses as the beginning date of any member, including a joint student member. ALA uses the first of each month as the beginning date.
As you know, the summary spreadsheet I send each month indicates joint students joining or renewing the previous month. That is, each student in the report I will send next week joined or renewed in February. Since ALA uses the first of each month as the beginning date, students joining in February will have February 1, 2018, as their beginning date, and January 31, 2019, as their ending date.
Beginning with the March report, therefore, I will show all students have a beginning date of February 1, 2018, and an ending date of January 31, 2019. The April report will show all students have a beginning date of March 1, 2018, and an ending date of February 28, 2019, and so on.
Before the beginning date and ending date fields were added to the summary report (sometime in the fall of 2017), Chapters partnering with ALA in this joint student program must have assumed and worked with what in fact is this reality of how ALA considers the beginning and ending dates of members. That is, it seems to me our program partners had always understood, the summary report I sent in February, for example, was for all students joining or renewing in January (for ALA, January 1, beginning date, and December 31, ending date).
ALA’s membership is based on an anniversary date, not a calendar year. However each Chapter partner uses these summary reports—whether accepting the first or other date in January, for example, as the beginning date; waiting for the report and making March 12 the beginning date; waiting for the dues distribution payment from ALA and making March 31 the beginning date; or employing some other solution—ALA remains thoroughly appreciative of how our partners, with memberships based either on anniversary or calendar year, have worked with us to help make this joint student membership program successful.
Do you require current transcripts to prove student status?
As with all memberships, I believe, ALA relies on an honor system. Building in an extra layer of process would be overly time-consuming for what I believe must be a minute number of people claiming student status, etc. So no, ALA to my knowledge does not require proof of student or any other status.
Will we be notified of the student members who do not renew?
ALA sends renewal notices, of course, and many do renew as joint members, but no we don’t send notices of students not renewing.
Thanks to all state library associations participating in this opportunity to grow our memberships together.
Individuals currently enrolled in a traditional or distance program of study in MLS/MLIS, CAEP, or LTA schools are eligible for ALA student membership. Through its ALA Scholarship Program, the American Library Association (ALA) is committed to promoting and advancing the librarian profession. To demonstrate this commitment, the ALA and its units provide more than $300,000 annually for study in a master's degree in library and information studies from an ALA accredited program, or for a master's degree in school library media program that meets the ALA curriculum guidelines for a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredited unit. See ALA-accredited programs of library and information services and AASL-CAEP School Librarianship Education Programs.
That is, student membership is a special discounted membership available for students engaged in a program of study or certification in MLS/ MLIS, CAEP, or LTA programs for no more than 5 total years of eligibility. This special dues rate is designed to help you access the benefits, networking, and career resources that come with membership. Student Members, whether full- or part-time, are also given the best rates for conference registration, often at discounts as high as 75 percent off. Student Members are eligible to serve on committees, run for office, and participate actively in the work of the association.