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Monday, July 16, 2012

Why WLA?

I was recently asked to contribute a list of names of folks who might be a good fit for the Youth Services Section board of the Wisconsin Library Association.  Well--you all know that this region boasts an unusually large number of fabulous librarians who are engaged, smart, hard-working and generous.  It was easy to come up with a nice long list of names.

But then I found out that not very many of the people I recommended are WLA members--so they couldn't run.  I'm sometimes shy about urging people to join things, but it occurred to me that it might be useful for me to give you a list of reasons I am a member of WLA (and YSS).
  • The Wisconsin Library Association is responsible for creating 2 great conferences that are relevant for me as a public librarian.  Lots of chances to get inspired, commiserate, learn new things, make connections...and WLA provides the resources, planning and people-power that go into these conferences.  They wouldn't happen without members.
  • The Wisconsin Library Association helps people in our profession organize to advocate for libraries.  I like supporting an organization that helps promote libraries to the public and lawmakers alike. 
  • I care a lot about youth services in libraries.  Being a member of the Youth Services Section assures that this area of service continues to be a priority for my state organization.
  • The Youth Services Section has a great blog, a book award, and lots of wonderful people to get to know.  The section is working on creating more opportunities to get involved, and it can be very rejuvenating to make connections with folks from a broader arena.
  • I like that there is a sliding scale for membership dues.  If you are working for less money than you should have to, you don't have to pay as much to join! 
  • If you are a member for WLA, that means you are open to some great opportunities.  There are some  lucrative and prestigious awards and scholarships that you can only receive if you are a member. Want to have your voice heard about what books should be distinguished, what kind of programs should be offered at conferences, what direction our legislative agenda should go?  You can only be a part of the committees that decide these things as a WLA member.
  • WeLead is a great program that allows WLA members to apply to be paired with a mentor.  You can develop a relationship with another librarian in a similar position to get more involved in the organization, develop as a librarian, and get conference fees paid for...If you have been around for a while, you can also serve as a mentor yourself, another great opportunity.
If you have any questions about WLA, how to join, how to find out more about the ways to get involved once you do join, please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your thoughts on this Leah. I was really surprised that so many people I consider to be great potential youth leaders in our state aren't WLA/YSS members. What used to be a given, no longer is. I wish I could convince everyone how amazing and gratifying it is on so many levels to work in an association. Here's hoping that your encouragement gives lots of folks the boost to put their oar into the bracing and totally fun waters of WLA/YSS!!!