When you take a continuing educational program, when you find the information you need from a colleague on an ALA networking e-list, when you acquire the correct training or development materials, or when you help important legislation to pass by calling your representatives in Congress, you are an active member. The benefits are personal and professional.
But it’s also a fact that involving yourself in some way with the work of 11 Divisions and 17 Round Tables makes you a contributing, vital member of the world’s largest think-tank about library issues.
In the end, the work you will do at ALA will benefit your resume and your bottom line for the traditional reasons - building job skills and related experience. But you may find the means are the ends when you help build a stronger profession, change directions in a changing world and improve service to millions of Americans who depend on our school, public, special and academic libraries.
Choose a Division based on your interests or library type
Division membership benefits include governance & participation benefits, membership journals, discounts on continuing education and conferences, discounts on other publications.
ALA has seventeen Round Tables that are less formally structured than the Divisions. Round Tables charge dues but unlike the divisions, Round Tables have no staff and no authority to speak on behalf of the organization. However, each Round Table does have an official staff liaison -- a paid staff person who helps move round table issues through the ALA processes. To start a round table, you need just 100 members.
Round Tables are a great way to get involved in the organization. The New Members Round Table (NMRT) has a structure which gives folks a taste for the organization and is often a launching pad to ALA involvement.
Currently, the largest Round Tables elect a representative to ALA Council. The remaining Round Tables, those with memberships under 1% of ALA personal membership, elect an additional Councilor whose job it is to represent the smaller Round Tables.