If you are interested in learning more about the American Library Association (ALA), and getting a behind-the-scenes look at the way both the association and its component divisions operate, I can’t think of a better way than to become a part of the Student to Staff (S2S) program. Perhaps I am little biased in this case, since I had the great honor and pleasure to represent CUA and our Department at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there, I was assigned to assist the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), and as the name of the program implies, as soon as I arrived I was considered a member of staff, ready and willing to help out in any and all ways required to ensure LITA and its members enjoyed a successful, productive conference.
I certainly had time to experience and to enjoy the 2014 ALA Annual Conference as a first-time attendee, but I knew I was there not to succumb to Sin City’s many temptations, but to work as hard as possible and to make my new team’s success my all-consuming priority. As a result, on my way back home I could reflect on what I had learned and accomplished during those few days – the opportunity to give back to ALA and to LITA in particular and to the LIS profession in general; the chance to network and to expand my professional circle; and the prospect of learning about best practices and of becoming informed about some of the critical issues affecting our profession. But most of all, I learned that the ALA relies a great deal on the work carried out by its various divisions, and that these in turn rely on their members to become involved and to choose to take up leadership and other positions that will push the divisions’ missions and plans forward.
So, if you are considering ways of learning about ALA and its constituent divisions, of giving back to the LIS profession, and of expanding your personal and professional experiences by attending the 2015 ALA Annual Conference, I encourage you to apply to the 2015 S2S program. You will be expected to work hard, and you will receive certain benefits in exchange (free conference registration, free room, and per diem for meal expenses), but the intangibles you will derive from the experience, particularly the satisfaction of having collaborated in the success of the conference and of your assigned division, are simply priceless.
Contact Jack Dale at email@example.com to learn more about his experience.