Did you know that most ALSC members got involved with ALSC because of encouragement from a mentor or colleague? Recruiting new members and spreading the ALSC joy is something that any member can do at any place within the organization, no formal committee appointment required. It’s not tough to do, and it can be more rewarding than you might think!
One of the primary charges of the ALSC Membership Committee is to help recruit and support new members within ALSC. Because of this, we recently kicked off a meeting by talking about how we became members. Although our stories varied, most of us were encouraged to join ALSC because of a friend, mentor, or colleague. Our conversation was consistent with the results of a recent ALSC Membership Survey issued earlier this year, in which 57% of respondents heard about ALSC from a colleague or professor.
One of the takeaways from the survey results is the importance of ALSC members encouraging new library staff and colleagues to join the organization. Personally reaching out to friends, colleagues, and mentees really does make a difference. But how to get started? There’s no need for a complicated plan. Start with the basics—talk about your experience in the organization and the impact that ALSC has had on your career.
There are a lot of benefits to membership-I feel like I’m constantly learning about new initiatives and programs to take advantage of. If you need your memory jogged on current benefits, here are a few to add to your elevator pitch of “reasons to join ALSC”:
- Professional development courses online and in-person programs at conferences (FYI: there is currently a “deal” going on for new members who join from August 16-September 16 for a 50% off coupon for online multi-week courses)
- The ALSC Mentorship program, which connects experienced librarians with early career librarians
- Opportunities to get involved through award or process committees (you can always fill out an application, although appointments are generally made in early spring and fall)
- Children & Libraries, a professional journal produced by ALSC
- The ability to apply for ALSC grants and scholarships
Know someone who might be interested in membership? Talk to them today and tell them about your experience!
This post addresses competency ALSC Core Competencies V. Outreach and Advocacy, VII: Professionalism and Professional Development
Jennifer Knight is the current chair of the ALSC Membership Committee. She is a Youth Services Librarian for the North Olympic Library System located in Port Angeles, Washington.