Since my last couple of posts, there have been a few interesting comments. I think it's interesting that people have their own reasons for joining their professional association - or not. My professional priorities have changed through the years, and sometimes they've been aligned with ALIA's activities... other times, not so much.
So, here's a listicle of five perfectly good reasons to join, and five perfectly good reasons not to.
1. I want to be a certified professional who has a portfolio of continuing professional development that is externally assessed and accredited.
2. It's an organisation that aligns well with my personal and professional views, and I want to support it's goals.
3. I want to support a culture of ongoing discourse, academic or otherwise, in my professional practice, and ALIA provides the forums for this to take place, whether it be at a conference or in a journal.
4. I want to make professional connections that will help me learn and develop my own career path within the industry.
5. I want to support an organisation that holds our universities accountable for what they teach our future librarians, and set the standard for accrediting people with the professional qualification.
...or not to join.
1. Membership costs money. I don't need to be a member to get a job, and being a certified professional won't help me get a better job.
2. The organisation doesn't align with my personal or professional views. (i.e. it's too conservative, it focuses too much on the library industry and not enough on the information industry.
3. It's just a platform for high-achievers to boast about their achievements and discuss idealistic best practices when the reality for most of us is we just don't have the resources or the knowhow to implement them.
4. My job already provides me with all the career development opportunities that I want or need.
5. The tertiary qualification doesn't guarantee a quality industry-ready professional, and there are plenty of GLAM industry jobs that don't even need an ALIA-accredited qualification anymore.
They all make fairly compelling arguments, depending on one's experience, priorities in life, and future aspirations. I guess the final question is not whether you should or shouldn't join, but do you want to? Is this an organisation that you want to be a part of?
If so, great! If not, then that's fine too.