Being a librarian can be a lonely profession. Joining professional organizations help connect you to other librarians who understand your goals and vision.
Many librarians don't see the need to be part of a professional organization. Yet, these groups are the place (either physical or virtual) where you can connect to others who understand what it is to be a public librarian, medical librarian, or adademic librarian. The know the passion that the cataloguer feels for making information accessable to users. They know the joy of seeing the eyes of pre-school children wide with wonder during storytime.
Professional organizations connect librarians to each other in many ways. At my first American Association of School Librarians' convention. During a chance conversation with another Catholic school librarian I learned about running a Birthday Book Club. At another convention I had a wonderful conversation with Fred McKissack as he shared his memories of fishing in the town where I live--he grew up just 30 miles away.
These moments cannot happen when we sit in our own library with no connection to others. We can feel isolated, as if no one understands what our work entails, that no one shares our frustrations. This isolation will lead to burn out.
Here are several professional organizations that you may want to explore:
American Library Association (ALA)
Strives to promote high-quality library and information services as well as public access to information.
Public Library Association
devoted to enhancing the development and effectiveness of public librarians and library services.
Association for Library Service to Children
Network of children's and youth librarians, children's literature experts, and publishers.
American Association of School LibrariansAdvocates excellence, facilitates change, and develops leaders in the school library media field.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
A worldwide organization created to provide librarians around the world with a forum for exchanging ideas, promoting international cooperation, research and development in all fields of library activity.
Association of Independent Information Professionals
An organization of owners of information businesses and brokerages.
Catholic Library Association
an international membership organization, providing its members professional development through educational and networking experiences, publications, scholarships, and other services.
Church & Synagogue Library Association
Serves librarians, many of whom are nonprofessional volunteers, through publications, a network of religious libraries, and training sessions offered at regional and national workshops.
The Association of Christian Librarians
One of the oldest and largest evangelical academic library organizations.
The Association of Jewish Libraries
promotes Jewish literacy through enhancement of libraries and library resources and through leadership for the profession and practitioners of Judaica librarianship.