"As Easy as A B C:
Why you should join ALA "
by Michael Gorman, ALA Past-President 2005-2006
A is for Altruism.
It’s the right thing to do. There is one thing that all librarians have in common—the desire to serve others. We are all dedicated to the greater good, to the idea that access to recorded knowledge and information improves individuals and improves the society in which we live. No one devotes his or her life to libraries for the fame, glory, or riches and, even on the worst days, we know that what we do is done with the best of intentions—service to library users and our communities. In short, we are altruistic. That altruistic sense provides us with the first reason to join ALA—it’s the right thing to do. The association can accomplish things that none of us can accomplish individually—fighting censorship; lobbying for our causes; creating standards; and all the many other good things that can come when we work together. Good things for ourselves, for our libraries, for our communities, for our country, and for the world.
B is for Benefits.
What’s in it for you? Doing the right thing brings a warm glow, but being a member of ALA can bring many personal benefits. They include to the opportunity to learn, to grow professionally, to reap financial advantages, to work with like-minded people in areas of mutual interest in ALA’s divisions and round tables, to play a part in advancing the profession, and to make friends.
C is for Communication.
What we have here is success in communication. ALA is all about communication. It is the voice of our profession. It communicates the message of libraries and their needs to the general community and to legislators and other policy makers. It has a flourishing publication program in all media—books, monographs, periodicals, graphics, online, and video. All members receive American libraries—the country’s leading library periodical—and the journals of the divisions to which they belong. ALA’s annual conference and midwinter meetings offer an unparalleled range of educational and networking opportunities. ALA uses all the modern means of communication and provides many opportunities for social networking to its members.
Join ALA because it’s the right thing to do, because membership brings many tangible and intangible individual benefits, and because you can be a part of the most effective organization for communicating within the profession and communicating the value of libraries to the rest of society.