We Stand Stronger Together

It's no surprise to long-time readers that I have been an active member of both state and national library associations.  I get alot of out my memberships in WLA, PLA, and ALA - mentorship; leadership opportunities; continuing education opportunities; access to award committee membership as well as serving on committees to advance youth librarianship; a chance to work together to strengthen libraries; opportunities to network with other colleagues; time to change how we approach youth services on a state and local level.

I also put my money into these associations because they stand up for me...and for you...and for us.  Our state and national associations stand up for libraries and librarians politically. They stand up for intellectual freedom and protecting everyone's right to read.  They work in partnership to ensure that there is equal access to reading and literacy regardless of format and age of user.

In our libraries and on social media we have the local advocacy and Personal Learning Network thing covered. I got that. And I still hear why do we need our associations - what do I get out of it? Well besides the above....

If we didn't have our state or national library associations, who would be standing up to be the voice of libraries on a state and national level?  Who would advocate for universal access, broadband partnerships, IF, youth services, services to seniors, ebooks accessibility and affordability?  Would YOU do it?  Could you do it? And how powerful would our voice and our money be alone?

All of this standing up costs money. I know. I have paid for my dues with very little help from my library employers for over thirty-five years. They didn't have the money either. It costs me $6-$10/week to belong to ALA, PLA and the Wisconsin Library Association.  It means weekly, I give up a couple of lattes or ice cream sundaes or a burrito or a lunch out. I don't buy that thing. For many years when I was paying back student loans and had heavy debts, it was really hard to find that money. But I know I need our associations strong so they can advocate for me and for all libraries and our services.

The 2008 recession and resulting lean years dealt heavy blows to almost everyone - individuals, municipalities and libraries. We all had to cut, re-assign priorities, pull in our belts and do the same with far less money. Being on ALA Council and the WLA board has brought home just how devastating these years have been on associations. Memberships and revenues have declined. Staff has been cut and our professional associations, like us, are working with far less money to accomplish their goals.

I see how close our associations are to the brink of losing effectiveness because they have far less money to address priorities. To me supporting our associations is a must.

We stand together far more strongly than when we stand alone. Will you join me?

Image: 'trusthttp://www.flickr.com/photos/49512158@N00/3434414425  Found on flickrcc.net


  1. I often am asked why I belong to WLA and ALA and this sums it up perfectly! Thanks for sharing your well made points.

  2. Thanks for articulating this so well, Marge. I have also paid my own way and I personally consider it a professional development cost. And, I have receive more benefits from my membership than the cost I paid.