Participating in professional organizations is an opportunity to meet people, develop professionally, and contribute your talents. Currently, I am a member of the Nebraska Library Association (NLA) and the Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA). Being a member of my state organization has been extremely beneficial to my career. At the first NLA event I attended, I met a woman who told me about a job opening at her library system; because of this conversation, I have the job I do today. Since then, I have been involved in the New Members Round Table and currently serve as their secretary/treasurer. This involvement has helped me meet new people and given me the opportunity to present at events. I am running for office for other sections as well. I have not participated in any MPLA activities because it has not been convenient to do so.
Recently, I have been debating about joining the American Library Association (ALA). The membership dues are higher than NLA and I am concerned that, like MPLA, it is more challenging to become involved. However, I am considering expanding my job search across the country and the conferences would be a great place to meet people from other libraries. Has anyone participated in the ALA Emerging Leaders program or in ALA? What are your thoughts on the value of being a member?
Just yesterday I had a conversation with two other young librarians about face-to-face networks. Has anyone participated in an informal “after-hours” library network? Thoughts? This could be a fun way to meet others who have a passion for libraries, to share ideas, and to help one another reach new levels in our careers.