Question #2: When did you first join SLA? What made you decide to join then, and why do you still belong today?
Joy M. Banks, Candidate for Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect
I joined SLA in 2005 as a student at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania. My professor for Introduction to the Information Profession required all of us to join both SLA and ALA as a class assignment (easiest A ever). As a student, it was an invaluable exercise to learn about both of these organizations and how I may fit into them as a future professional. I was elected the secretary to our student group and really enjoyed the trips to special libraries that we planned and the helpful nature of the professionals we encountered in the Pittsburgh Chapter.
I was only eligible for one year at the student rate, so I had to quickly decide which organization was the one for me. While I was going into the academic library field, a position not typically drawn to SLA (this was before the Academic Division), I ultimately determined that SLA met my professional needs better than ALA. The membership rate was more reasonable for me as a new professional who had to pay it with no institutional assistance. I appreciated the fact that SLA was an international organization filled with a wide variety of professionals who could all come together to share their knowledge. I also received great value from the various continuing education webinars that SLA offered for low or no cost to its members.
I am very glad that I have continued to invest in my professional life by maintaining my SLA membership. When I moved from a full-time job to a part-time job, I appreciated the tiered membership rates. As I’ve developed relationships with my peers through the organization, I have received advice and connections that are worth so much more than my annual rate. It took me a while to get to my first SLA Annual (New Orleans, 2010), but after seeing how much more fun we have together, I can’t imagine going very long between attending annual meetings. I appreciate the professionalism of the organization, the opportunities I have had to serve in leadership positions, and the friendships I have gained. I have a limited budget, and SLA is my one professional organization. I wouldn’t have it any other way.