ALA Student Membership: Frequently Asked Questions Answered
Who Is Eligible?
Students enrolled in MLS/MLIS, NCATE and LTA programs are eligible for ALA's discounted student membership dues and are encouraged to participate in ALA activities, including committee work, conferences, and programs. You are encouraged to get involved with your association!
What Will I Find Here?
Look here for answers to questions you may have about ALA student membership, including discounted membership dues to join ALA and an ALA division or round table, for example, and how to join ALA and your state library association, for another. (And, yes, as a student you can join simultaneously, for example, ALA and the Texas Library Association for $35, ALSC for $18, and IRRT for $5, for a total of $58. (Note: You can add additional ALA divisions and round tables, but you can join only one state library association per year through the joint membership program.)
If you're looking for answers to questions about Student Chapters, you can find them at ALA Student Chapter Answers.
Where Can I Go for More Answers?
In addition, be sure to visit ALA membership pages and the ALA Student Members page for the most current information about all types of ALA membership, as well as the ALA Student Chapter homepage, to learn about benefits such the ALA Student Member blog) and the Student to Staff program. If you have questions about ALA membership, please contact ALA Member and Customer Service. Also visit the ALA Student Support Portal.
Types of ALA Student Memberships
- Regular student membership in ALA is $33/year ($34/year, 9/1/13-8/31/14) and is limited to five total years.
- Joint student memberships is limited to five total years, as well. Visit Joint membership program to find links to joint student membership brochures (PDFs) and to secure online forms and join ALA and a Chapter (state library association) for $35/year (9/1/13-8/31/14). See 23 State Library Associations Partner with ALA to Offer Joint Student Memberships (It's now 27!)
Joining ALA Divisions and Round Tables
Each ALA Division has a student membership category, and usually with reduced dues. The links below take you directly to how to join them.
- American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
- Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS)
- Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)
- Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
- Association of Specialized & Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)
- Library & Information Technology Association (LITA)
- Library Leadership & Management Associaiton (LLAMA)
- Public Library Association (PLA)
- Reference & User Services Association (RUSA)
- United for Libraries
- Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
ALA Round Tables
Round tables have student membership categories, and usually with reduced dues (e.g., the International Relations Round Table is $5 for U.S. students and free for international students). Round tables are a good way to find a "place" in ALA and to make your voice heard on topics of interest to you.
The New Members Round Table sponsors the NMRT student chapter of the year award. See also Student and Student Chapter Outreach Committee (SASCO), which develops and maintains a network of individuals able to promote ALA and NMRT.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of the frequently asked questions. If you have other questions about the ALA Student Chapters, contact Don Wood at the ALA Chapter Relations Office. See also ALA Student Chapter Answers.
Do I have to be an ALA member to belong to an ALA Student Chapter?
No, not as far as participating in Student Chapter events and activities. Anyone and everyone should be allowed to participate. Indeed, participation should be encouraged and ALA membership should be encouraged, as well.
That said, if you want to run for a Student Chapter office, successful candidates should be ALA members. As for being an ALA member during election, in theory, all candidates should be current ALA members. If not, it seems to suggest that unless elected, candidates don’t want to join the organization they want to lead. However, in practice, flexibility can rule. If your Chapter decides to allow nonmembers to run, however, it must require them to join immediately upon election (and I stress immediately). Who in your Chapter will be assigned the task to oversee that they do join? Perhaps this should be a Bylaws change to make it official? Again, in theory, officers should be elected only by other ALA members. In practice, however, again, flexibility must rule. Indeed, most Chapters’ bylaws indicate ALA membership is only encouraged and not mandatory. This being so, then, anyone should be allowed to vote.
Do I have to be an ALA member to participate in the ALA Student to Staff program?
Can I join more than one Chapter (state library association) per year as a joint student?
No. Because it's a discounted membership for two associations, you can join only one Chapter and ALA per year through the ALA joint membership program.
Is it possible to have a student chapter of AASL, for example? We have an ALA student chapter, but we would be interested in a more specific AASL student chapter if that is possible.
Many Student Chapter members have set up subgroups under their ALA Student Chapter, for example, ACRL subgroups, IRRT subgroups, and AASL subgroups.
You might want to send a message to the e-list, firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how other ALA Student Chapters have organized them under their bylaws.