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ACRL 75 Reasons….

For 75 years, ACRL has been helping academic librarians and their libraries succeed by providing professional development opportunities, up-to-date industry information, advocacy, opportunities for service and leadership, networking opportunities, and support for new members of the profession. Here’s what ACRL members have to say about the value of their membership. Help us reach 75! Help us reach 75! Share your story of how your ACRL membership has impacted your career, your library, and your constituents in the comments below or on Twitter with the hashtag #acrl75reasons or email to irwin1km@cmich.edu.

– Kathy Irwin, ACRL Membership Committee Chair

Professional Development (educational programs offered)
1. ACRL makes me smarter.
2. The ACRL conference is one of my all-time favorite conferences. I look forward to it every two years, and always come back feeling energized!
3. I still remember telling my colleagues after I returned from my first ACRL conference that I had found my tribe. The people I talked to at the conference were thinking about the same kinds of things happening at my own library and seemed to be honestly interested in how to improve/develop/create in order to better connect with patrons.
4. What I value about ACRL is the way the organization continues to come up with new ways to support librarians’ learning. I owe a lot of my professional growth to the formal and informal mentoring I’ve received from great librarians in the organization. I wouldn’t be the librarian I am now without these relationships, and ACRL made that possible.
5. ACRL has taught me that librarianship is an improvisational art. There is no recipe, although some books would suggest otherwise by providing endless and seemingly timeless do’s and don’ts. ACRL, via interaction with its members, timely articles and conferences, has taught me to frame everything I do as an experiment. Framing everything as an experiment allows me the flexibility to try new strategies, ask questions, discover what’s essential, what’s expendable, and what innovations can work.
6. The Immersion program made me a better teacher, the publications and initiatives make me more thoughtful about my work, and the conferences invigorate me with new ideas and camaraderie.
7. ACRL provides so many opportunities to continue your career development as a librarian, as well as mentor and guide others who are new to the profession, or are new to specific professional responsibilities.
8. There seems to be no end to the areas of support offered by ACRL. No matter what my current focus or interest is, there’s a group or program available to me!
9. ACRL keeps me up-to-date on profession-wide initiatives, advocates on behalf of academic libraries, and challenges me to constantly evaluate and reinvent the services and support we provide our students, faculty, and staff.
10. Committee work within ACRL can be quite satisfying.

Access to the most up-to-date information available in your field
11. Up-to-date information, guidelines, and case histories help me analyze trends and make informed decisions for managing information services.
12. ACRL provides access to resources, news, and research that keeps me informed about trends and challenges me to think critically and creatively about contributions I can make to the field.
13. ACRL takes a leadership role on the critical issues that face academic librarians. I can’t envisage what our field would be like were there no ACRL.
14. ACRL publications are a big plus for me. I consult the ACRL website in particular for all sorts of helpful resources, like the information literacy guidelines, the “toolkits,” and conference proceedings.
15. ACRL provides me the opportunity to attend conferences that are a showcase for new approaches and ideas.
16. I value the broad network, the great ideas from fellow academic librarians, and the community created through ACRL. The discussion lists to which I subscribe have been instrumental for new ideas and new ways to approach my job.

Opportunities to gain leadership experience
17. I was on the editorial board of College and Research Libraries for two terms, six years in total. During that period, I had opportunities to read, review, and recommend manuscripts from academic librarians to be published. It was most rewarding experience and it also inspired me to get my Ph. D. degree so that I could become a better consumer of ACRL’s research products.
18. ACRL has been one of my key go-to sources for sparking new service and management ideas.

Providing standards or competencies that support quality
19. I see ACRL as one of my main pipelines to the profession. I draw on its standards, guidelines, forums, etc., constantly to keep informed about what is going on in the field, and I share these resources with my students. The ACRL standards – such as the information literacy standards, or proficiencies for instruction librarians, often form a framework for my research and teaching.
20. ACRL has produced and published valuable professional literature, guidelines, and other documents. These publications, online or in other formats, have helped guide my practical work. ACRL has done an outstanding job in encouraging and inspiring academic librarians’ interests in conducting research projects and sharing their research findings through publications. In many ways, these research findings have served as the foundation on which we developed policies, programs, and best practices to serve library users.
21. I value the standards and guidelines for information literacy, and the more recent Diversity Standards: Cultural Competency for Academic Libraries.

Opportunities to network with other professionals in your field
22. Finding my tribe, which in my case is the group of science librarians around the country who face the same challenges I do.
23. I value being a part of the scholarly conversation
24. I value the constant effort to build a strong community within the academic librarian profession and providing a space for conversation, mentoring, and assistance in order to enhance the profession.
25. ACRL members are interested in sharing the best ideas and in providing each other inspiration, so that that we can implement new approaches at our own institutions.
26. The people. As a volunteer-driven organization, you make it what you want. Each of us decides what the future of academic libraries looks like. The association allows us to do this by providing a venue for us to share ideas, connect with colleagues, and act.
27. When I think about ACRL, I consider it to be an organization that effectively connects librarians with similar interests and passions.
28. We learn from talking and sharing with each other. ACRL facilitates those conversations and learning in a way that is centralized, organized, and critical to librarians’ development as teachers, scholars, and leaders.”
29. It’s where talented, committed professionals go to meet other talented committed professionals.
30. It’s where you too can experience the stars in our world.
31. I met my significant other at an ACRL program.
32. ACRL helps to foster collegiality; in many ways, its most valuable resources are the people within it!
33. ACRL offered me the opportunity to expand my network of like-minded people. I was looking for my community and pretty much found it.
34. ACRL gives me the ability to connect with other people who are as excited about their jobs as I am about mine. Enthusiasm is contagious!
35. I value the College Library Directors’ Mentors program
36. The best part about ACRL is all of the people! There is so much variety within the profession, and so many committees within the organization, that you would be hard pressed not to find a niche and a network of colleagues who share your passions. Also because of this variety, it is a place that embraces and rewards interdisciplinary thinking.
37. The networking opportunities! They are particularly valuable for those of us on the tenure track, and for those of us who serve as subject specialists in areas that are not part of our professional or academic pasts. I joined ACRL-STS to expand my knowledge of agriculture and applied sciences resources. ACRL provides so many opportunities to continue your career development as a librarian, as well as mentor and guide others who are new to the profession, or are new to specific professional responsibilities.

Supporting entry into the profession
38. ACRL gives me and every member the opportunity to give back and contribute to the profession. I value that ACRL contributes to our work as academic librarians and helps to develop the next generation of information professionals.
39. I appreciate that ACRL supports a culture of information-sharing and mentoring, which has been so useful to me since I became a librarian in 2009.
40. I’m still a relative newcomer to librarianship, but I’ve been welcomed with open arms and my own thoughts and opinions are valued.
41. I’m so grateful to ACRL for a scholarship which they awarded me earlier this year; it allowed me to attend ACRL 2013 in Indianapolis — my first ACRL conference ever! This type of funding that ACRL offers is so valuable to students and librarians alike during these difficult financial times.
42. ACRL provides an opportunity for early professionals to have a voice within the academic community.
43. ACRL is a community of thinkers willing to share their experiences to make academic libraries vibrant places to visit. As a newer librarian, I value this shared wisdom and appreciate the opportunity to join the discussion.
44. My mentor encouraged me to join just after graduating library school to meet other librarians and continue my training and education through a professional organization.
Access to career information and employment opportunities
45. It’s where I hear about upcoming open positions.
46. ACRL has allowed me to network with others, obtain resources and take continuing education courses, which have benefited myself and those who I have helped both in the library and classroom. Second, I have built my career and instructional services around ACRL’s standards. Last, I value not what ACRL has done for me, but what it has allowed me to do for others. Currently, I am a mentor with the New York chapter of ACRL and have a terrific mentee.

Promoting a greater appreciation of the role and value of the field among higher education
47. ACRL raises awareness of the essential roles of librarians in higher education instruction and research.
48. My continuing support and participation within ACRL helps make the next generation stronger.
49. ACRL provides us with a view of our profession as a whole, with collaborative learning opportunities, and with constant reminders that what we do as academic librarians matters.
50. ACRL provides the opportunity to network with working information professionals in higher education in the U.S.
51. ACRL resources are essential! We utilize ACRL standards when advocating for our library to campus administration and when we’re engaged in assessment or accreditation activities.
52. Documents like the Framework for Information Literacy gives me cred on my campus.
53. ACRL raises awareness of the essential roles of librarians in higher education instruction and research.