Choosing a Professional Organization
Published: October 6, 2017 by Kate M. Spaulding
If you are enrolled in INFO 200 this semester, then you qualify for a free one-year membership in a professional organization.
If you are enrolled in INFO 200 this semester, then you qualify for a free one-year membership in a professional organization. This is awesome, because a) the iSchool student groups are top notch, and b) membership in professional organizations has all kinds of benefits. So how to choose? Here’s where I come in!
Find Your People
First, explore the association websites. You want to look at any divisions, sections, round tables, special interest groups, chapters, etc. to see how they line up with your interests and needs. Do you want to learn more about government documents or knowledge management? Or maybe you’re interested in college and university archives or in meeting fellow LISers in the Toronto area? There are niches for all of those and many more within various professional associations. Choose a professional association that is going to connect you to like-minded folks who can help guide you on your path.
Check the Menu
While you’re investigating groups within larger associations, check which ones have journals, webinars, meetups, conferences, mailing lists, and courses that add value to your membership. Some groups have a ton going on, while others may not have many programs that serve your professional goals. Consider whether events are virtual or in-person, and whether members have access to archived recordings. Are there opportunities for publication? Are there special offerings for student members? Is the annual conference appealing?
Get the Most Out of It
Once you’ve done your research, determine which professional association memberships have the greatest value for you; this will be dependent on your career goals, professional interests, and geographical location. You may also want to take into account student membership prices. For instance, SLA student membership is $50 and ASIS&T student membership is $40. It’s worth considering having the iSchool take care of SLA while you invest in an ASIS&T membership. If you have the means, consider joining several professional organizations at rock-bottom student prices to really reap the benefits of networking and educational opportunities. And then be sure to renew your membership(s) in the week before you graduate while you still qualify for the student rate!
Introductions To and Interviews With iSchool Student Chapter Leaders: