I’m going to make an assumption here and assume that almost all of the readers of 3 Geeks and a Law Blog are members of a Professional Association. Whether it is a library association, a bar association, a marketing association, a technology association, or something else, we tend to want to be associated with our peers and have a common platform to share ideas, listen to the thoughts of others, or at a minimum, realize that others share in the problems you face everyday. This week we asked why you really belong to a Professional Association.

Thanks to all of the contributors. As with all Elephant Post contributors, you are now automatically members in the Association of Elephant Post Contributors (AEPC). Congratulations on being part of such an elite community of big thinkers willing to share their perspectives with others on a common topic.

If you have never contributed to an Elephant Post, we’re hoping that you’ll want to join AEPC and after reading this week’s post will scroll down and add your own thoughts to next week’s post, where we ask what “other job” at your workplace would you like to have.


Benefits are mostly tenure related. I must be a member because it’s the accepted major professional org in the organization I work for. I have to do committee work, I have to do presentations and publications.   Realistically, my expectations of ALA are low. That’s unfortunate but true.

Jessica King

I became a member of SLA as a graduate student and the reason was simple, to see where the jobs are. I think that when you are young in the career (which I still consider myself to be) you have to tap into any resource you can to see what jobs are open and to see where they are and what kinds of jobs are out there. I joined AALL when I got my most recent position as a solo law firm librarian because I wanted to be able to meet and stay in touch with as many info pros as possible. That’s really important as a solo, when it is so easy to feel alone in the professional sense.
I found that by attending conferences like AALL and SLA I’ve become more aware of the job market and have received guidance and inspiration in regards to what kind of work I’d like to do in the future. Everything these two associations provide (networking opportunities, webinars, reference materials online, directories, salary surveys, etc.) help me stay in tune to what is going on in the profession and where it is going. Sure there are things both can improve upon but I feel like SLA and AALL have been great potential and are essential to what I do as a librarian.

Denise Rabogliatti
BI Analyst

Networking. Both organizations attract individuals who work in areas relevant to my job. By talking to individuals from these groups, I’ve found new ideas, learned new skills and gained friends.

Tracy Z. Maleeff
Special Libraries Association

I had two major expectations when I joined the Special Libraries Association – to be provided a forum for networking and to have access to professional development opportunities.  Man, did I hit the mother lode with SLA!  I wouldn’t have the job that I have now, a job that I love with a firm that I love, if it weren’t for the vast, friendly networking opportunities available through SLA.  I feel that I am a more informed and confident information professional by being actively involved in my professional organization.  I have made professional contacts and friends that, together, make for a village type of environment in which we all help each other to succeed.  I treasure the SLA community.  Membership in SLA has exceeded my expectations and I believe the benefit is an integral part of who I am, both as a person and as an information professional.  Some critics may scoff and say that I drank the proverbial Kool-Aid.  You know what?  Pour me another, and make it a double.

Megan Wiseman

I joined professional organizations for the networking …and stayed for the information and camaraderie.  Yes, it simply makes sense that the more localized an org is, the more you will likely get out of it/get involved.  No big surprise there.  But, great programming that I can get to without boarding a plane aside, I value having accessible colleagues.  I’m a relatively young librarian and am flying solo in my firm.  Sometimes it gets a little lonely… sometimes I have questions that nobody but a wiser, more experienced librarian can answer… sometimes I hear a joke that only a librarian would find funny and need someone with which to share it.  The value I get from my professional org membership is direct and measurable – I am a better librarian for it.

Constance Ard
Information Professional

I am an active volunteer in two global professional organizations: AIIP and SLA.  I have been a member of SLA since I first started working as a professional law librarian in 1996.  SLA remains a major component of my continuing education.  In addition, as I developed relationships within SLA and now with AIIP, I am benefiting from those relationships.   I have been able to demonstrate my knowledge to individuals within the organizations.  That in turn gives me the confidence to ask for introductions to individuals within my contact’s own organization.  I have used these introductions  to grow my business and complete projects.  The value I receive from these connections and the education that I  receive continue to develop my professional expertise.

Toby Brown

I’m a bit of a ringer on this topic as I used to run numerous departments for an association. To bring value to members I focused on:  – High-value content – both in programs and publications – Networking Opportunities – to find jobs and get business referrals – Profession Building – to raise awareness about the value of the group to outside interests – Other Value-adds – use the power of ‘the many’ to get better pricing on industry tools and services.  ILTA does a great job on most of these fronts. The Annual Conference is perhaps the best I have ever attended (or produced).

Director of Training
ALA, ILTA sponsor

I wasn’t going to participate because I am now a sponsor instead of a member. I feel so strongly I gave in to temptation. The benefits of “belonging” are the tremendous wealth of shared knowledge colleagues share, valid reports from those who have already tested products I <you> may be about to test and honest information among peers. I have also made some fabulous friends within these groups that now last longer than the membership did!

Next Elephant Post

If You Could Switch Jobs at Your Workplace, Which One Would You Take? Why?

If you are like me, you absolutely love your job and would never think about taking another one. (Note: My boss reads my blog.) However… let’s just say, for argument sake, that you could take another position at your place of work (or someone else’s position at some other place of work.) What job would it be? Would you want to be the Managing Partner? Law School Dean? Alternative Fee Guy/Gal? CMO? CIO? Maybe the guy that runs documents around the corner to the courthouse appeals to you?

What would you take? Why does it look good to you?