Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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You can’t play if you don’t pay

Posted by lpearle on 15 May 2007

Doug has posted his reasons for belonging to ALA/AASL, and in most respects he’s spot on (I happen to know that the AASL staff – at least, the one I’m closest to – is grossly underpaid). If you’re not on LM_NET, you’ve probably missed the whole conversation about how expensive it is… how little you get… blah blah boring blah.

Interestingly, many writers cited membership in their state’s library association as “enough” for them. How much support do they think their LA would get if not for ALA? As a school librarian, do they really think that without AASL and Affiliate Assembly they’d get any attention? any support? anything?

Yes, it’s expensive. And I’m often miffed at school libraries (and librarians) getting short shrift from the rest of ALA, when we make up the largest division. I don’t belong to my state organization because I have a local independent school group, and a national independent school group and AASL to help me out. Wanna talk about bastard stepchild? Independent schools are it. Yet I’m complaining within the system, trying to change things (hear that, Sara Kelly Johns?!).

Thinking in a macro way, it’s like anything anyone could belong to: if you’re unhappy because your favorite cause, sub-cause, nano-cause is being ignored by the Bigger Group, don’t withhold membership and gripe from the exterior. Write letters. Blog. Join forces with others that feel as you do. Stage a coup. Make Noise. Because standing outside the tent pissing in doesn’t get you what you want, it only gives you temporary relief.

Oh, and Doug? Dine with me just the once and we’ll blow well over $160. Without blinking.

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4 Responses to “You can’t play if you don’t pay”

  1. waltc said

    “And I’m often miffed at school libraries (and librarians) getting short shrift from the rest of ALA, when we make up the largest division.”Well, actually, AASL is the third largest division. ACRL has 12,942 members; PLA has 11,541; AASL has 9,671.

  2. Doug Johnson said

    Hi there,Since I can’t tell the difference between a $8 bottle of wine and a $12 bottle of wine, the good stuff is wasted on me. Is it possible to have a tin palate?We ever have dinner, we’re going dutch!Good post!Doug

  3. […] get divisions, like AASL, trying to drive up membership numbers (in part because we’re the bastard stepchildren of ALA), but failing to think about how that plays out except in terms of sheer numbers. Where are the […]

  4. […] And from other divisions, there are book awards and summer reading programs to excite students about great new books. The problem? School librarians can’t participate. Why? Because the programs aren’t ready to go in time for most of us to start getting the word out, and they end too close to the start of school for us to really rally the troops. A great opportunity lost, if you ask me. But another example of school librarians being the redheaded stepchild at ALA. […]

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