Special Libraries Association


Students interested in the special librarianship career pathway are encouraged to get involved with the Special Libraries Association (SLA). As a member of SLA, students can meet professionals working in a special library setting, stay abreast of industry news, be eligible for scholarships, and reap many more benefits.

Who does SLA represent?

Corporate librarians
Government librarians
Military librarians
Law librarians
Information consultants
News librarians
Academic librarians
Museum librariansMedical librarians
Market researchers
Information architects
Web designers
Systems analysts
Database developers

How much does it cost for students to join SLA?

Students can join SLA for $40 (US) per year for up to a total of three years. Along with membership to the Association, students get:

  • A year’s subscription to Information Outlook, the official magazine of the Special Libraries Association
  • One free membership to a chapter (geographic-based)
  • One free membership to a division or caucus (subject-based)

As a student member, you are also eligible for member discounts for SLA events (conferences, seminars, ClickU courses, etc.) and products. Student members may also be eligible for scholarships, travel stipends to attend the annual conference and other financial assistance awarded by local chapters, divisions and the Association.

How to get the Most out of Your SLA Membership

Most of SLA’s activities take place through its units — chapters, divisions and caucuses. The divisions and caucuses help develop programs for the annual conference, so the quickest way to get involved with SLA events is through a chapter. There are 56 local chapters of SLA, including three in Canada and five outside North America. Each chapter represents a certain geographic region and these regions vary considerably. For example, California is represented by five separate chapters (San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, San Andreas Chapter [in the process of changing its name to the Silicon Valley Chapter – this group covers San Jose, Monterey Bay and parts of the East Bay and Peninsula], Sierra-Nevada Chapter [Sacramento area], Southern California Chapter and San Diego Chapter) while the state of Texas has only one chapter.

A complete list of SLA units is available on its website: www.sla.org – follow the link to SLA Community. Each unit has a website, wiki and/or listserve so you can check on upcoming events. Chapters sponsor events throughout the year and large chapters like Texas often have regional meetings to enhance accessibility. Discounted student rates are usually available, so you might want to attend a local meeting before you decide to join the Association.

The main SLA website has job listings from many locations and the local chapters will have job-related information specific to that region.

iSchool Student Chapter of the SLA

Graduate students at the SJSU School of Information who are considering a career in special librarianship are encouraged to join the SLA student chapter. It’s a great way to meet your peers, build your network, and learn more about the profession. The student group hosts webinars, meet-ups, and special events. Membership in the student chapter is free! See iSchool SLA Student Chapter