Professional Associations

I am in the process of discovering a plethora of library and information associations across North America and throughout the globe. As I develop my professional profile, I have been encouraged to invest some time and resources into a couple of these organizations in order to share in knowledge and professional discourse, become more involved in the field, and network. Currently, there are two associations I am particularly interested in. Firstly, I am considering the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). I have been learning about what the association is, what it endeavors to accomplish, and the benefits of membership from its website: http://www.ifla.org. IFLA’s objectives are:

  • To represent librarianship in matters of international interest
  • To promote the continuing education of library personnel
  • To develop, maintain and promote guidelines for library services

IFLA’s objectives are supported by the following core values:

  • The endorsement of the principles of freedom of expression embodied in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The belief that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic and economic well-being
  • The conviction that delivery of high quality library and information services helps guarantee that access
  • The commitment to enable all Members of the Federation to engage in, and benefit from, its activities without regard to citizenship, disability, ethnic origin, gender, geographical location, language, political philosophy, race or religion. 

Furthermore, the advantages and membership benefits include:

  •    Build international professional networks;
  •    Receive IFLA’s Annual Report, the IFLA Journal and discount on various IFLA publications;
  •    Help set the professional agenda;
  •    Join professional Sections;
  •    No surcharge on IFLA ILL vouchers
  •    ….and save up to 25% on registration to IFLA’s annual conference

As an information professional, I want the opportunity to establish international contacts. I hope to work overseas for a few years, therefore joining an international association could better illicit a network of professionals in the field where I hope to move. Essentially, I want to broaden my expertise by contributing to and learning at an international level.

According to its website, a good way to get started in international librarianship is to become an IFLA member and to get involved in one of its activities. The opportunities and requirements for membership are different depending on status, whether a person is a LIS student or established professional. Student Affiliates are “Individuals who are able to provide proof of current enrollment in a course of study leading to entry-level professional qualifications in librarianship or information work. Individuals may remain in this sub-category for as long as they can prove appropriate enrollment.” New Graduates are qualified as those who have graduated in library and information science. The website explains, “New graduates are eligible for an IFLA membership at the students’ rate for the first two years after graduating. Proof of diploma is necessary to apply for membership under this incentive.”

The IFLA has multiple publications:

IFLA Library

Launched in 2013, the IFLA Library includes IFLA World Library and Information Congress papers (2013-present) and will continue to grow with the addition of new resources. Earlier conference proceedings are available on the website of each congress.

Print publications

Over the years, IFLA has also partnered with a number of publishers to produce print publications on a variety of library issues. Read more about our publishing partners for additional background on how membership in IFLA can benefit your organization.

Additional publications

Three recent issues of the publications include:

In addition, the association has an extensive social media presence. It has integrated itself in these areas:

I am impressed by the well established reputation of IFLA. It seems like the association has a lot to offer, especially for those interested in international travel and networking like myself. However, if I do join, it would not be soon. Becoming a member during the last year of my graduate work, 2015-2016 and beyond, would be more beneficial for me as I will feel more confident in my role as a librarian and probably will have more means to invest in making the membership worthwhile.

The second association I considered is the Society of American Archivists. I retrieved gainful information from its website: http://www2.archivists.org. The website explains how SAA developed a strategic plan in 1993 to define the organization’s direction and purpose. They formulated the following mission statement: The Society of American Archivists serves the education and information needs of its members and provides leadership to help ensure the identification, preservation, and use of the nation’s historical record.

Membership benefits of joining the SAA include:

Individual student membership is open to students in degree-conferring programs. The website notes: Individuals who select this option must mail, fax, or email proof of active enrollment (e.g., a dated copy of your student ID/enrollment receipt or a signed letter/email from your faculty advisor) before a membership application or renewal can be completed.

Student members are eligible:

  •    To hold any appointive position in the Society;
  •    To vote for officers, councilors, members of the nominating committee;
  •    To vote on all matters requiring a vote which come before the Society as a whole;
  •    To be members of constituent units of the Society; and
  •    To receive the benefits of the Society’s programs and services.

Annual dues for individual student members are $50 per year.

Individual full membership is open to those who are or have been engaged in the custody, study, teaching, or control of records, archives, or private papers, or who wish to support the objectives of the Society.

Individual Full members are eligible:

  •    To hold office in the Society;
  •    To hold any appointive position in the Society;
  •    To vote for officers, councilors, and members of the nominating committee;
  •    To vote on all matters requiring a vote which come before the Society as a whole;
  •    To be members of constituent units of the Society; and
  •    To receive the benefits of the Society’s programs and services.

Member discounts on:

  •    Titles in the SAA Bookstore, covering a broad range of archives topics.
  •    Registration for SAA’s Annual Meeting, the premier educational and professional networking event of the year for archives and records management professionals.
  •    Registration for continuing education workshops around the country, providing unmatched opportunities to learn about new and developing technologies, polish professional skills, and enhance knowledge.

Mentoring Program

SAA’s Mentoring Program brings together members with expertise in subjects and members who want to build their knowledge within those subject areas. To learn more or to apply, please visit the Mentoring Program page.

Section and Roundtable Membership

Connect with colleagues who share your areas of expertise and/or special interest by joining up to two sections and an unlimited number of roundtables.

Access to the SAA Membership Directory

Networking opportunities abound with contact information for all SAA individual and institutional members.

The SAA publications are:

The American Archivist (Journal)

The premier journal of the archives profession, this semi-annual periodical features research articles, literature reviews, case studies, perspectives, and international reports. Individual full members and associate members receive complimentary print subscriptions with their membership. All members receive electronic access to American Archivist Online.

Archival Outlook (Newsletter)

Stay abreast of the latest news and information essential to the archives community. This bimonthly newsletter reports on SAA activities and upcoming events; the print edition is mailed exclusively to members.

Its primary activities involve:

SAA Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists, held in late summer in different cities throughout the country, includes a wide array of informative education sessions, pre-conference workshops, networking opportunities, special events, exhibits, and tours of local repositories. Geography is a principal factor in selecting potential host cities. (With a national membership, it is important for SAA to move systematically around the country, from region to region.) Other important factors include access and affordability for attendees and SAA’s commitment to diversity, social responsibility, and sustainability in all aspects of conference planning.

Member Services

SAA today numbers approximately 5,000 individual and 650 institutional members.  The Society maintains offices in Chicago’s Loop.  Foremost among SAA’s many activities are services that the Society provides to members. These include:

  • Information:  SAA strives to keep its members abreast of the latest news and developments in the profession through a variety of high-quality programs and activities, including the American Archivist (North America’s premier professional journal for archivists), Archival Outlook (a bimonthly newsletter), In the Loop (a biweekly online newsletter), a robust book publishing program, and various e-publications.  For more about SAA periodicals and books, see below.
  • Education:  SAA offers more than 60 continuing education workshops throughout the year in locations around the country, as well as the largest gathering of archivists at its annual meeting each summer.  For more about SAA education offerings, see below.
  • Community:  SAA connects its members with colleagues who share their professional interests and aspirations through various networking opportunities, such as special-interest groups (sections and roundtables) and student chapters.
  • Advocacy:  SAA serves as an advocate—in both government and public opinion forums—on behalf of archivists on such key issues as intellectual property, copyright and fair use, declassification or destruction of federal records, abuses of privacy and confidentiality, the Freedom of Information Act, and others that may affect archivists’ ability to function in a fair, professional, and successful manner.  In addition, SAA works to improve and enhance public awareness of the importance of archives and archivists.

These are two recent publications:

Volume 77, Number 1 / Spring/Summer 2014

Journal American Archivist
Publisher Society of American Archivists
ISSN 0360-9081 (Print)
Subject History, Arts, Humanities, Cultural Heritage, Information Storage and Retrieval, Library Science, Archives, Information Professions, Perservation and Recordkeeping
Online Date Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Volume 76, Number 2 / Fall-Winter 2013

Journal American Archivist
Publisher Society of American Archivists
ISSN 0360-9081 (Print)
Subject History, Arts, Humanities, Cultural Heritage, Information Storage and Retrieval, Library Science, Archives, Information Professions, Perservation and Recordkeeping
Online Date Monday, November 18, 2013

While I am not yet fully committed to the prospect of becoming an archivist and am still leaning toward academic librarianship, I nevertheless am interested in getting the Archival Administration certificate at Wayne. However, in the same way that I am planning on waiting to join IFLA until next year, if I did join the SAA, it would not be until I have more familiarity with archives in general. This comparison and analysis was helpful for me in unpacking what this association offers and the opportunities it involves. This is my first semester and my first few months being exposed to the world of information science. I need to immerse myself one step at a time.

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