Professional Associations

February 16, 2013

In this post I will write about two professional associations related to LIS.

Society of American Archivists (SAA)

Basic Information
The SAA was founded in 1936 and is North America’s oldest and largest national archival professional association.

According the SAA’s An Introduction to SAA webpage (2013). Its mission is “To serve the educational and informational needs of more than 6,000 individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value.”

Membership Categories
Membership is available to anyone working in or studying archives, records, or private papers and those who wish to support the SAA.
The SAA offers four different categories of membership.
Individual Full Membership- Annual dues are based in salary and range from $48-$240
Student- Annual dues are $48. Students need to provide proof of their student status, a copy of a student ID or letter from an advisor are acceptable.
Individual Associate- Annual dues are $90 for U.S. residents or $110 for non-U.S. residents. An associate member cannot hold any positions and do not get to vote. They can however be a part of roundtables and sections and receive all benefits.
Institutional- Annual dues are $285 for “regular” institutional members and %525 for “sustaining” institutional members. The difference between the two is “sustaining” members receive two copies of the SAA’s publications and a free copy of every book published by the SAA during membership.
To apply to join the SAA visit their website at

Membership Benefits
Being a member of SAA comes with numerous benefits. First, members get access to the SAA’s two publications. They also receive discounts at the SAA bookstore, on registration fees for the annual meeting and workshops, access to mentoring programs, section and roundtable membership to connect with colleagues, and a directory of SAA members for networking.

The American Archivist, published semi-annually and available both in print and online.
This publication is about thinking about theoretical and practical developments in the archival profession, the relationships between archivists and the creators and users of archives; and about cultural, social, legal, and technological developments that affect the nature of recorded information and the need to create and maintain it.

Archival Outlook, is published six times a year, distributed as a membership benefit.
This is a newsletter that updates members about important business regarding the SAA. It also relates relevant news to the archival profession.

The SAA has three main priorities/beliefs:
Technology: Rapidly changing information technologies challenge the archival profession. It demands that the archives community accesses and preserves records in all formats.
Diversity: The relevance of archives depend somewhat on the profession’s success in ensuring that the materials they collect and manage, and the people they serve reflect the diversity of society.
Public Awareness/Advocacy: Archivists actively promote the importance of archives in order to increase public support and obtain the resources needed to protect the accessibility of archival records and ensure the protection of citizens’ rights, the accountability of organizations and governments, and the accessibility of historical records.

The SAA hosts an annual meeting every year. The annual meeting takes place in late summer and changes the host city every year. This year, it will be held in New Orleans. There are a wide variety of events including workshops, education sessions, exhibits, tours of local repositories, and of course, networking opportunities.

The SAA also observes American Archives Month. According to the American Archives Month 2012 webpage the month is “an opportunity to raise awareness about the value of archives and archivists” (2013). As part of American Archives Month, the SAA provides public relations kits designed to make archives more visible. These kits can do anything from help plan events to prepare for a media interview.

Website/Social Media Presence
The SAA has a well designed, user-friendly website. The home page has links to relevant articles and archival news. You can even apply for membership on the website.
The SAA also has a wide social media presence with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkdin. They also keep a blog called Off the Record: Join the Conversation with SAA leaders. Check out the blog at

I chose SAA because in addition to obtaining a MLIS I am also obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration. I currently work in an archives and may want continue to do so after graduation. I plan on joining SAA because it would be a great networking opportunity and I could keep up with current events in the world of archives through the publications.

Special Library Association (SLA)

Basic Information
The SLA was founded in 1909 in New York. It is currently the international organization that represents the interests of thousands of information professionals in over 80 countries.

According to the Vision, Mission, and Core Value Statements webpage (2009), the mission of the SLA “promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy, and networking initiatives.”

According to the Vision, Mission, and Core Value Statements webpage (2009) the vision of the SLA “is the global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners.”

Core Values
According to the Vision, Mission, and Core Value Statements webpage (2009) the core values are:
Leadership: To strengthen our roles as information leaders and shape information policy.
Service: To respond to our clients’ needs by adding value to information services and products.
Innovation and Continuous Learning: To embrace innovative solutions to enhance the intellectual advancement of the profession.
Results and Accountability: To deliver results with the highest level of ethics and honesty.
Collaboration and Partnering: To provide opportunities to communicate and collaborate within the information industry.

Membership Categories
The SLA offers three categories of membership.
Full Membership- Annual dues are based on salary and range from $40-
$200. A full member can also pay a flat fee of $540 for a three-year membership. This option comes with a 10% discount.
Organizational Membership- This type of membership is granted to any organization that wants to support the objectives and programs of the SLA. Annual dues are $750.
Student Membership- This type of membership is granted to any student enrolled in a LIS or IS program. Annual dues are $40. Student status must be proven to qualify for this type of membership.

Membership Benefits
There are a number of benefits available to members. First, members have access to professional development opportunities through Click University, an online portal to a myriad of learning opportunities. Members can participate in Webinars and experiment with new technologies through Innovation Lab. Click University also offers certificate programs for members to improve their credentials.
The SLA hosts an annual conference and INFO-EXPO. The conferences provide a place for networking, communication, and learning.
The SLA offers chapter membership that allows members to connect with professionals living in the same area. Division membership links members with other professionals in the same field. Members also have access to the membership directory so they can connect with other professionals. Student groups allow student members support and leadership opportunities. Members also receive a subscription to the SLA publications. These do not encompass all the benefits of membership. For a full list refer to the website

Information Outlook online provides members free access to articles in SLA’s magazine.
SLA Connections is an e-newsletter published by the SLA. You have to have a subscription or be a SLA member to access this publication.
Some chapters and divisions of the SLA have their own publications.

The SLA is dedicated to promoting the value of information professionals. This encompasses shaping public policy and advocating the profession to potential employers and the public.

Website/Social Media Presence
The SLA website is a good site and user friendly. However, I found that I liked the SAA website better. It was a little more difficult to find the different categories of membership on the SLA website. At first, I thought they did not offer different categories. It took a little digging, but I did find the list of membership categories eventually.
The SLA has both Facebook and Twitter accounts. It also has a number of blogs. The SLA has seven blogs of its own, while different chapters and divisions host their own blogs as well.

I chose SLA because I may be interested in working in a special library or non-traditional library setting. I am not sure if I will join SLA as a student. I may wait until I graduate or have a better idea of my career path.


Society of American Archivists. (2013). American archivists month 2012. Retrieved from

Society of American Archivists. (2013). An introduction to the saa. Retrieved from

Society of American Archivists. (2013). Society of american archivists. Retrieved from

Special Libraries Association. (2009). Special libraries association: Connecting people and information. Retrieved from

Special Libraries Association. (2009). Vision, mission, and core value statements. Retrieved from


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