Kickstart Your Career with Membership in a Professional Organization

Career Blog
Hands Joined together

Published: April 29, 2024 by Aryn Prestia 

San Jose State University’s iSchool has 13 recognized student groups with the goal to create community among individuals interested in similar career paths. Most student groups also include a professional counterpart that, in turn, can offer student memberships at a discounted rate, giving you an opportunity to “try out” the benefits of membership while still in library school. 

These organizations provide access to networking opportunities, mentoring programs, conferences, publications, and continuing education courses just to name a few benefits. But on a deeper level, joining these organizations early can signal to potential employers you’re serious about the information services profession and that you want to learn from others outside of the classroom.

Student Chapters

Within each student organization, a student-led board is elected each year to plan programs, keep an updated newsletter, and provide regular blog posts on topics relevant to the organization’s goals. You can read about the importance of using Alt-Text for Patron Accessibility on the ALASC’s blog, practice conversational Spanish with REFORMA, and even learn about the world of video game archiving with SAASC. 

Networking on a Larger Scale

Each organization meets on a regular basis with their members, providing an opportunity to network with other iSchool students. While it is free to be a part of any of these student groups, by choosing one or two professional groups of interest to join under a “student” membership allows you to access an even wider network of information professionals. Remember, all INFO200 students are provided with membership to one professional organization of their choice for a one-year term. Even after this has lapsed, student memberships in professional organizations are significantly cheaper than standard memberships but provide the same benefits including access to conferences, mentorship programs, and career-specific literature. Most organizations include topic-specific “Roundtables” or “Working Groups” that are only open to members – like award selection committees, advocacy groups, and more.

Getting involved in a professional organization at any level while still completing your studies can open up potential career paths and contacts. So what are you waiting for? Check out SJSU’s student organizations and their professional counterparts below:

Society of American Archivists, Student Chapter 

Professional Counterpart: Society of American Archivists

Special Libraries Association, Student Chapter

Professional Counterpart: Special Libraries Association

American Library Association, Student Chapter

Professional Counterpart: American Library Association (ALA)

The Association for Information Science & Technology, Student Chapter

Professional Counterpart: The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T)

REFORMA, Student Chapter

Professional Counterpart: REFORMA

Two More Things…

Here are a few job opportunities that might be of interest!

Remember that internships can be an especially valuable part of your learning experience at the iSchool while also helping you when it comes time to look for jobs. Learn more about the iSchool’s internship program here, where you can check out the INFO 294 Student Handbook as well as the Internship Sites database.


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