Professional Organizations for the Frugal

NOTE: I started this post back in February and obviously didn’t finish it. The first organization I list has a description, but the rest don’t. At least the list and prices could be helpful to some!

It’s only late February and I already have that itchy feeling under my nails that says, “It’s springtime! Start a project!” Unfortunately, I already have too many projects already begun to start a new one.

One of my more recent projects has been to join ALA. I’m not exactly a professional librarian (yet), but I figured I may as well join while I can sign up as a student (and only pay $33 instead of the usual $65). As an aside, for anyone in charge of Web site design over at ALA… the joining process was really confusing. First you have to create a login for the site, then you have to go through the “Renew” process, and then you have to pick committees and groups and everything else that’s a part of membership. The process wasn’t that bad, but I would suggest you streamline it a little more. And suggest to new members that they may want to take some time to research the different committees and groups they may join.

I have to admit, I haven’t had a lot of time to explore the ALA site or to figure out all of the services, tools, and education that I know have access to. For example, ALA Connect. That community looks pretty cool (from what I could tell from my very brief exploration), but I’m confused about who can sign up for what discussion boards, or even what the point of some of the discussions are.

I think I will put aside a discussion of my experiences with ALA until I have more, you know, experience with it. Joining ALA, however, has reminded me that I wanted to talk about some of the services and organizations that are out there for people interested in libraries and the information profession. Especially free or cheap organizations since I, as a student, appreciate free and cheap.

As a disclaimer, I will state that I am totally stealing parts of this list from an email sent out by one of my professors and a guest speaker that visited.

Libraro (free)
Libraro is awesome. It’s a community for library students AND provides free access to several Gale Resources and a year-long subscription to Library Journal. Take a guess who has been rolling around in stacks of Library Journals for the past month or so? If you guessed me, you would be correct. And you know what else is awesome about Libraro? IT’S FREE. All you need to do is sign up for an account and there you go! Instant access to all sorts of awesome resources. Also, the tag line for the site is “where tomorrow’s librarian superheroes shine” and ohgoodness it makes me feel like Batman.

Look for more info here.

Educause (free)
Membership is open to institutions of higher education, corporations serving the higher education information technology market, and other related associations and organizations.

Library Society of the World (free)
You’ll have to email for a username, due to spam.

IFLA ($59 for students, $136for regular members)
Check out the list servs (like libgigs!) for free library info sent to your inbox.

Society for Scholarly Publishing ($30 for students, $75-140 for regular members)

Copyright Society of America ($25 for students, $100-$425 for regular members–currently half off for new members 8/23/2012!!)

ALA (33$ for students, $65-$198 for regular members)
I’ve heard it’s not a good idea to join specific chapters while a student, but you do get access to certain parts of their sites and newsletters sent to your house. Of course, if you’re like me, you have absolutely no time to read those newsletters so they pile up on the bookcase at the end of your bed. But so be it, there will be time to read newsletters one day.

8/23/2012: ALA is offering joint membership discounts (register with ALA and your student chapter for $35).

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