I joined ARLIS/NA while a library science student and ARLIS/NA quickly became my most important source for professional development. My first conference was in Kansas City, where I sat next to a Distinguished Service Award recipient on the jazz club "pub crawl" bus and where I received a warm welcome from Texas Chapter colleagues who sought me out. The following year we met in Chicago where the 20th anniversary celebration was held at the aquarium. Some of our vendors sported lobster suits and I danced with a librarian whose articles I had read in library school only 18 month earlier. These experiences formed my impressions of ARLIS/NA as an organization filled with lively and welcoming individuals willing to take new members under their wings.
ARLIS/NA membership has offered me opportunities to network with colleagues or vendors who generously share their expertise or insights. Conference attendance and participation has helped keep me updated with developments in the field and allowed me to develop leadership and presentation skills. I have served ARLIS/NA in various capacities and have found each opportunity rewarding. If you are called upon to serve--be it in a committee, section, or division, or as a presenter, mentor, chapter officer or board member: I encourage you to seize the opportunity. But no need to wait to be called: volunteer whenever you find something that piques your interest and consider starting a new Special Interest Group if you don't see a group addressing your needs!
I treasure the contacts I have made through this organization where I have also developed lifelong friends.