Professional Organizations, Joiner v Loner

So it's my one year anniversary in Library school and as a librarian. Which means for the last month or so the professional organizations that I joined last year at a low student rate are hounding me to renew my memberships. Last year I took advantage of the student price and joined ALA (American Library Association) along with two sub-groups (RUSA - Reference and User Services Association and ACRL - Association of College and Research Libraries), SLA (Special Library Association), and re-joined AHA (American Historical Association). I like joining professional organizations because it makes me feel connected. However, last year I spent well over $100 on my memberships and before I renewed I wanted to make sure that I'm getting my money's worth out of these organizations. ;)

Renewing my ALA membership was a no brainier. But did I want to maintain my subgroup memberships? While I'm interested in reference librarianship, I didn't really feel connected to RUSA. In part this was because their journal was only available digitally and there wasn't much electronic communication (emails when a new issue was available would have been especially helpful). However, I appreciated the ACRL's journal which had many articles that I used in my course projects frequently.

SLA was also an obvious renewal and not just because I'm president of the University of Maryland's SLA student group. SLA has done a great job providing resources and activities that are relevant and helpful to me in my current situation. I also joined the Maryland and DC chapters which are incredibly active and have great programming.

Finally, I also rejoined the AHA. While I prefer the idea of being a practitioner to a theorist I like to read the theories. Knowing what is going on in the field of history makes me a better teacher and librarian because I know what's of interest to the leading thinkers and can train the people I work with based on that knowledge. Reading the AHA's literature connects me to individuals who know more and care more about history. They keep my passion alive and inspire me.

Have a great day and keep smiling! :)