Ten Easy Ways to Get Started with ALA

ALA is an incredibly rich and varied organization and offers something for every library interest.  Whether you want to get involved with colleagues who work in the same kind of library, expand your horizons by attending conferences or continuing education events, network with members who share your interests, find a forum to discuss key issues, work on specific projects, or support libraries and librarians.

Here are 10 easy ways you can get more involved with the Association.

Read AL Direct, our weekly email newsletter – Delivering breaking news and feature stories on issues affecting every type of library, this valuable and current resource is your inside news on the next big thing in libraries and for the association.  Make sure your email address is current with ALA.  Login to “ My ALA” to update your contact information today. 

Join an ALA Connect community – We are helping members connect their ideas and interests to other members from around the world.  You will find places to interact about your worklife and the future of the profession.  Visit http://connect.ala.org for more details.

Blog, tweet and share ALA – Be a part of the conversation by volunteering to write for ALA, divisions, round tables or offices in social media settings, or stay up to the minute by reading and responding. 

Talk with Colleagues – Over 200 ALA email discussion lists cover almost every conceivable topic in library work.   Join an asynchronous colloquy with some of the most interesting people you’d ever want to meet: your fellow members.

Build Your Skills – ALA’s online Continuing Education Clearinghouse and offer the best in library and general skills to help you fulfill your personal learning requirements and for worklife enrichment.  Build your skills at affordable member rates.

Take Action – The ALA Legislative Action Center at  is your direct link to congress, the executive, state legislators, and the media about issues affecting libraries.  Make your voice heard today.

Present Your Ideas – Submit an idea for a program, paper, panel discussion, table talk or poster session at an ALA or Divisional national conference or symposium.   There is always a lot to learn when attend conference.  Why not also share your own experience.  See www.ala.org/events to get started.

Run for Office or Council – Consider this your invitation to help set the course of the association.  Contact the chair of the ALA Nominating Committee and express your interest in being nominated. Contact your chapter or division about running for a leadership post. Contact the Council Secretariat and ask how to run as a petition candidate for Council.

Join a Committee – Decisions are made by the people who show up.  There are hundreds of committees in ALA, each with specific functions, goals, and interests. Look through the Handbook for groups you’d like to work with, then contact the chair of the committee and ask how to get involved. At an ALA conference, stop by a committee meeting and listen to what’s going on. To be a member of a committee, volunteer.

Submit a Resolution – This is direct democracy in action.  Make your voice heard; express a concern; ask ALA to take a stand. Draft a formal resolution and present it at a Membership Meeting or ask an ALA councilor to present it to Council. Contact the chair of the ALA Resolutions Committee  for details, or stop by the Resolutions Table in the ALA office area at Midwinter or Annual Conference. Information on preparing and submitting resolutions is also available at the ALA website under ‘ Resolution Guidelines’.