Thursday, June 30, 2011
ALA Continuing Member
Recently I received in the mail a note thanking me for my "Continuing Membership" in the American Library Association along with a very nice pin saying that I am a "Continuing Member". My ALA Member I.D. Card says I have been a member for 42 continuous years. When I sent my dues in for the year 2011, I got a rebate which was the first point that I learned that if you are a retired librarian with 25 years of continuous service you become a member for life without having to pay dues for your basic membership. I joined ALA in 1969 after my career had been interrupted by involuntary service in the Army. When I attended my first ALA conference in Atlantic City, NJ in 1969 there was a major call for reform in the Association by a vocal segment of the membership. It was an exciting time to be a member of ALA. There was not a point in my library career that I ever considered not being a part of the nation's largest and most important library association. I dislike bureaucracies and ALA is a bureaucracy whose units often move at a frustratingly slow pace. However, for many years I actively participated in the committees, sections, round tables, and divisions of that bureaucracy. I did so because ALA is an effective voice for America's libraries and has helped make me a better librarian. As a library history buff I also feel a strong sense of community with all those ALA members who have come before me starting 135 years ago in Philadelphia. American Libraries, ALA Conferences, and the Washington Office of ALA are just a few of the things that have justified my continuing membership in ALA. I will wear my new pin with pride.