Complimentary ACRL Memberships Provided to SLIS Students

In an effort to make ACRL more accessible and affordable to students currently enrolled in library and information science graduate programs, the ACRL Board of Directors approved a reduced student membership rate of $5 in 2017. ACRL Associate Director Mary Jane Petrowski wrote about this limited-time offer in a recent issue of C&RL News. Given all of the costs associated with a graduate education, particularly student debt loads, membership in a professional association is not always the first priority for students even at a reduced rate.

Having recently completed a term on the ACRL Board, the university librarian at the University of Iowa (UI) was familiar with all these challenges and thought the UI Libraries was poised to pilot a test program that would provide an ACRL membership at no cost to incoming students in the University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).

The UI Libraries will work with ACRL to monitor the retention rate of this cohort of student members over the years. SLIS students are enrolled for two years as they pursue their Master of Arts in Library and Information Science degree. We have sufficient funding available and intend to renew the first cohort’s membership next year, as well as enroll incoming students in 2019. Ultimately we hope this program helps ACRL achieve its goals of maintaining membership levels but, more importantly, we want to positively influence these new professionals in getting involved and staying engaged throughout their careers. We are optimistic that our pilot project to provide free memberships to library school students will serve as a proof-of-concept for other libraries and library schools.

To read John P. Culshaw's and Mary L. Rettig's full article, click here.