Each Annual Conference ALA provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 40 students engaged in ALA Student Chapters both to attend an ALA Annual Conference and to work behind-the-scenes with ALA staff. The Student-to-Staff Program (S2S) was created so that each of 60 schools affiliated with ALA has an equal and equitable opportunity to nominate one and only one student to fill one of 40 available slots in the program. Established in 1973, S2S offers qualifying students in the program the opportunity to attend meetings, programs, and other ALA Conference events in their spare time.
Faculty advisors nominate only one student at their school to participate in the ALA Student-to-Staff Program during the 2015 Annual Conference in San Francisco, June 25-June 30, 2015. The San Francisco conference marks the 42st anniversary of this program!
Criteria for participation can be found at The Most Current Information on the Student-to-Staff Program, The Student to Staff Program, and includes other details specific to selecting and nominating students.
In exchange for working four hours per day at the conference from Friday through Monday (16 hours total), each participating student receives:
- Free conference registration;
- Free housing (sharing a hotel room with another S2Ser); and
- A per diem for meal expenses (Friday-Monday).
To qualify for the Student-to-Staff Program, the student must meet the following criteria:
- A current ALA member;
- A member of an ALA Student Chapter, a current student, and be an ALA member through the 2015 Annual Conference;
- He or she cannot have previously participated in the program.
- Students are eligible if they graduate in May immediately before the conference.
- ALA supports student members through a wide array of programs and services. ALA Spectrum Scholars receiving funds to attend a Spectrum Leadership Institute through their scholarship are not eligible to participate in the Student-to-Staff program for the Conference in conjunction with the Leadership Institute. Required attendance at the Institute and conference events precludes the work requirements of the Student-to-Staff program. Incoming Spectrum Scholars and alumni are encouraged to apply.
Each school has its own selection process (e.g., by a random drawing, essay contest, etc.), but the chosen student’s name must be submitted to ALA by the group’s faculty advisor. Only one student from 40 schools engaged in ALA Student Chapters will be accepted.
Transportation costs (such as airfare and cabs) are the students’ responsibility! Often these costs are covered by the Student Chapter.
Students are expected to work 16 hours for four days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday). Usually this means working for one unit, such as the International Relations Office, the Public Information Office, the ALA Store, American Association of School Librarians, for the entire time. This could mean working 8 hours for one unit and 8 hours for another.
In return, each student receives free Annual Conference registration, $50 per diem [4 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) x $50 = $200] and housing (each student has a roommate whenever possible) for 5 nights (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). This means that students must be willing to arrive in San Francisco on Thursday evening and leave Tuesday morning. Registration and housing information are sent before conference to addresses provided by the students. A $200 per diem check is sent a week or so before the conference to each participating S2Ser.
Roommates are matched by gender. So, if there are 21 females and 19 males, one female and one male will not be sharing their rooms with another student-to-staff member.
Prior to conference, students must complete a short questionnaire to help us match them with appropriate ALA units (e.g., Public Library Association, Office for Library Advocacy, Conference Services). Depending on their assignment, students may be expected to perform a range of duties from clerical, to sales, to use of computers, to setting up and staffing events, etc.
Let me point out there are over 60 student chapters but only 40 available volunteer positions. Qualifying participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Be sure your faculty advisor received an e-mail announcement about S2S or show him or her this blog, if you’re in doubt or want to ensure your school participates.
Many S2S students become active in ALA as they move into successful careers. S2Sers tell us that they benefit from the behind-the-scenes involvement in ALA. ALA certainly benefits from their help, fresh perspectives, and enthusiasm.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions related to the Student-to-Staff program.