Planning on being a leader in the American Library Association (ALA) after you graduate? Great! For students, the best way to start gaining leadership skills and more is by participating in one of the ALA Student Chapters.
Student Chapters enhance students’ ALA membership by providing leadership and programming opportunities on the campuses. Individuals currently enrolled in a traditional or distance program of study in MLS/MLIS, CAEP, or LTA schools are eligible for ALA student membership. Through its Scholarship Program, ALA is committed to promoting and advancing the librarian profession. To demonstrate this commitment, the ALA and its units provide more than $300,000 annually for study in a master's degree in library and information studies from an ALA accredited program, or for a master's degree in school library media program that meets the ALA curriculum guidelines for a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredited unit. See ALA-accredited programs of library and information services and AASL-CAEP School Librarianship Education Programs.
That is, student membership is a special discounted membership available for students engaged in a program of study or certification in MLS/ MLIS, CAEP, or LTA programs for no more than 5 total years of eligibility. This special dues rate is designed to help you access the benefits, networking, and career resources that come with membership. Student Members, whether full- or part-time, are also given the best rates for conference registration, often at discounts as high as 75 percent off. Student Members are eligible to serve on committees, run for office, and participate actively in the work of the association.
So, if your campus does not have a Student Chapter, and if you’re interested in starting one on your campus, the best people to contact are Student Chapter leaders, who will tell you all about how to get started and all the good things ALA Chapters do. These leaders can be reached through their contact information found in the directory of ALA Student Chapters. Feel free also to e-mail Don Wood at the ALA Chapter Relations Office.
If you want to find out more about ALA Student Chapters first, visit Student Chapter Answers, which will navigate you to the answers you’re seeking.
The first ALA Student Chapter was created in 1980 at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The two most recent ALA Student Chapters were created in 2017 at McGill University and University of Central Missouri. Most of the 64 Student Chapters created since 1980 are active.
Below are three more articles explaining how wonderful the ALA Student Chapters are:
- ALA Student Chapters Making a Difference in Their Communities
- ALA Student Chapters Organize to Effect Change
- Ten Reasons Why You Should Participate in Your School's Student ALA (SALA) Chapter
Another way to be active is by joining your state library association. If you're not already a member, now, right now, is a good time to join! In fact, 44 partner with ALA to join them and ALA for one low price of $40, from September 1, 2017, through August 31, 2018. You can also renew online at this aforementioned site. Dues increase to $42 on September 1, 2018.