In the current economic climate when administrators are under pressure to reduce expenses and still increase productivity, they may be tempted to limit professional memberships to one staff member per organization, or they might cut the budget for joining any association altogether. This may be especially true when it comes to the budget allocation for libraries.
However, consider these compelling reasons why participating in a professional library organization can not only reduce institution costs, but also increase staff productivity and efficiency:
- Library operations, resources, and standards of practice are continuously changing. It is time-consuming and frustrating for any one staff member to try to stay informed on all of them and how they apply to your library. Being a part of a professional library association allows you to save time in evaluating these options by drawing on the experiences and strengths of others, and that allows your staff to be more productive and make wiser decisions. This, in turn, fosters success in attaining the goals of your library and your institution.
- When multiple staff from your library join an association, their connections both to the association and to the profession multiply. This produces more opportunities for sharing, learning, volunteering, and fellowship with your staff and with the staff of other libraries. A professionally “plugged in” staff is one where creative, productive and efficient solutions to problems flourish.
- Conference schedules make it impossible for any one person to be at every session. Sending multiple staff allows them to be strategic in attending workshops and presentations, making sure that the issues that matter most to your school are covered. Of course, costs for travel and lodging can be reduced when staff travel together.
- To save even more money, your staff can take advantage of consortial discounts on databases, e-book collections, library supplies, monograph purchases, and other products offered by some associations. The savings from this benefit alone will more than cover the cost of your individual membership.
- There is one caveat, however. Not all professional library organizations offer professional development and resources that will aid a librarian in a Christian institution. The Association of Christian Librarians (ACL) offers professional development and service opportunities in the practice of librarianship through the lens of the Christian faith.
Membership in the Association of Christian Librarians is incredibly affordable in terms of individual membership dues, institutional membership, and conference fees. No one offers a conference experience like ACL’s in a similar price range, so your professional development budget earns more value by including ACL. Why not encourage your library staff to consider membership in ACL today?
Frank Quinn Ph.D.
Director of Ryan Library, Point Loma University
April VanPutten, MBA
Library Business Manager, Cornerstone University
ACL Business Manager
ACL Executive Director