Professional Organizations

Two professional association that I have considered joining as of recently is the American Library association and the ARMA, International. I have been a member of the Society of American Archivists, the Midwest Archives Association, and the Michigan Archival Association. I have always had an interest in joining ARMA because of my ambitions to become a records manager and I am interested in the opportunities that I could gain as a member of the American Library Association.

ARMA, International, first known as the Association of Records Managers and Administrators was formed in 1955. It currently has 10,000 members in the United States, Canada, and thirty other countries. The career paths found in the ARMA membership includes corporate librarians, archivists, and IT managers as well as records managers. ARMA publishes Information Management Magazine, which members receive a subscription as a part of their benefits. ARMA actively participates in the development of records management standards including ISO-15489, the international records management standard (ARMA, 2012).

ARMA members have access to networking through local chapters and the ARMA social media sites such as facebook. They also receive discounts on publications sold at ARMA’s online bookstore. ARMA members receive discounted access to ARMA’s continuing education courses and annual conference. In addition members can access ARMA’s Career Search, post jobs, and take courses on resume building. ARMA’s website is very thorough and has a bit of a corporate feel to it. It does well answering questions about ARMA and records and information management in general. I plan on exploring the professional development module on the website extensively before begging my records management coursework at Wayne State. As a future member of the profession I am pleased that ARMA offers both web seminars and online coursework on its website.

ARMA members are encouraged to sit for the Certified Records Manager exam that is offered through the Institute of Certified Records Managers. Many records management positions require the CRM certification for employment (ARMA, 2012).

The American Library Association is a much older organization than ARMA. It was founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The ALA’s mission is to “provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all (American Library Association, 2012).” Its major publication is American Libraries, which can also be read with limited access online.

Like ARMA, ALA members receive free and discounted publications through the association’s bookstore. The ALA had also arranged for member to have discounts to various other goods and services such as car rental and homeowners’ insurance.  Finally, ALA members have free access to and discounted professional development opportunities. ALA’s website is almost overwhelming in the amount of information that it holds. Browsing the website I located educational opportunities, grant opportunities, and information on how members can contact their member of Congress. As someone new to the profession the ALA’s website will become a major source of where I obtain information about the trends and developments in the field (American Library Association, 2012).

After looking further into both organizations I feel that I could benefit from joining both organizations. As a student the time is right to join (not just because of the membership discounts.) Networking, volunteer opportunities, and access to job postings are all essential in starting careers in the LIS profession. As new members of the profession we also owe it to ourselves to try out different professional organizations to find out, which ones are the best fit for our career paths.


American Library Association. Membership Guide. (2012). Retrieved from

American Library Association. Mission and History. (2012). Retrieved from

ARMA. Help. (2012). Retrieved from

ARMA. Mission. (2012). Retrieved from

ARMA. Why Join ARMA? (2012). Retrieved from


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