Thing 13: Professional Associations

Rudaí23’s Thing 13 page provides great information on professional associations.  There are links to various associations and the benefits of subscribing are clearly set out. Being South African, I initially looked at South Africa’s Library and Information Association.  According to the website it currently has +-1,559 members.  After two unsuccessful attempts to sign up, I decided to look to ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association), because we are hoping to settle in Australia in the near future. I was able to enrol for an international membership and have not regretted this decision. My only regret is that in not being physically present in Australia, I am unable to enjoy all the benefits.  However, thinking positively, my turn will come, I’m sure.

The weekly newsletters are jam-packed with GLAM sector snippets, news and current issues in the world of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. The weekly job opportunity emails are helpful albeit frustrating for me at the moment, because until my visa is granted, those opportunities remain beyond reach.

The Professional Development plan is a wonderful tool, as it challenges and motivates one to build up points towards certification, and so remain current in skills and knowledge.

My ALIA PD capture

Image of my PD page / ALIA website

The PD plan provides a wide array of possibilities, is user friendly with PD suggestions for everyone, regardless of their position.  The couple of online courses that I have done through ALIA, via TAFE colleges (Cataloguing/RDA and Copyright), were both hugely beneficial and enjoyable. I have managed to garner several points in the short while as a member, probably because I’ve had more time on my hands being unemployed.  However, if I cannot find employment for at least a year out of those 3, certification will take that much longer, since my degree can only be vetted in  Australia once I have been employed (full-time) for a minimum of a year.

Sometimes one’s plans don’t work out…but what’s important is to keep going at them.  Never give up! Carpe diem, etc. 🙂

Photo 2014-07-12, 12 37 32 PM
(c) S Brandt

There is a monthly Twitter chat hosted by the ALIA students and newgrads group. Interesting topics are covered, and I always learn something from colleagues during these events. If I can’t make the live Twitchat, at least I can read the #auslibchat Storify.

ALIA’s website is loaded with resources, campaigns and events, and interesting news for all, such as the article written on the “Buy it now button” that is potentially on the card for libraries.

Here is a snapshot of what is on offer via the website.

ALIA web page snap

I would encourage Library and Information Science (LIS) students to enrol with their local library association as soon as they are possibly able to. I regret that I didn’t enrol earlier. As an expat utilising distance learning, I had to actively pursue contact (regardless of my insecurities and fears) with LIS professionals in my area.

LIS teachers and lecturers can play a large part in encouraging students to be more involved in the sector. Membership with an association is one way students and new grads could gain access to the reality (i.e. the changes, frustrations, highs and lows) of the LIS profession, making their knowledge experience that much richer.

Till next time, cheers.  Once again, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Featured image: courtesy of Stuart Miles at