Professional associations: What have you done for me lately?

There are entirely too many professional organizations out there for a woman of varied interests who’s about to leave her job.  I’m currently a member of 8 of them.  But it’s come time to pare them down.  So let’s take a look at what they’ve all done for me lately.  Because I have about zero interest in paying money to have these things on my CV just to have them there.  So here we have a value ranking of all 8 associations.  YMMV, obviously.

• Association for Information Science and Technology – Just joined this one.  Why?  Seems like (especially at the student rate of $40) that it’s worth it just for the webinar archive alone.

• National Genealogical Society – Discounts on NGS courses, plus NGS Quarterly, which is the only journal I’ve ever been known to actually pick up and read.

• Association of Independent Information Professionals – At the student rate, this one is worth it solely for the mailing list.

• Pacific Northwest Library Association – Earned a spot in my heart for letting me peer review a journal article.

• Organization of American Historians – Discounts on JSTOR plus a couple publishing companies will come in handy once I leave school.  Joined recently so not entirely sure if this one is worth it or not.

• Association of Washington Archaeologists – Free beer at the annual meeting, potentially interested in peer reviewing now that I’ve found the contact information for the journal editor.

• Oregon Historical Society – This would probably be worth more if I actually lived close to the Society and could make better use of the library.  As it stands, a main candidate for non-renewal.

• Association of Professional Genealogists – I… I don’t know.  I keep going back, but I’m real confused as to why.

Obviously different benefits are important to different people.  To be quite frank, if I’m spending my limited funds on organizational membership, nebulous benefits like “advocacy” aren’t going to cut it.  That’s part of the reason I dropped ALA after my initial free student membership was up.  Maybe advocacy is of critical importance to you.  If so, great!  But with so many opportunities out there, it’s important to figure out some sort of decision matrix for where to allocate your money, time and effort!

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