March 2018 NMRT Online Discussion Forum – Service to the Library Profession

By Cat Silvers

The discussion in March focused on service to the library profession. A number of NMRT members shared how they give back to the library profession through committee work, mentorship, and advocating for libraries on social media.


Serving on committees was the most common way for NMRT members give back. ALA has many sub-committees they recruit volunteers for, and there are also multiple regional, state, and local committees that recruit every year.

Here are some important facts about committees:

  • They typically require 2 years of service, although this can vary.
  • Many hold virtual meetings. This means librarians across the country can participate without the cost of travel.
  • Some committees require conference attendance. Review the committee description and contact committee members to find out if this a requirement.
  • Every April NMRT calls for volunteers for 1-year appointments to its many committees, and acceptance is guaranteed.

Are you new to committees? Volunteer for a NMRT committee! The guaranteed acceptance allows many new librarians the opportunity to serve on their first committee. A full list of NMRT’s committees can be found here. If you’re having trouble picking a committee, let your joy and passion for librarianship guide your choices.


Participation in mentorship programs can also help give back to the profession. There are formal mentorships that may span a year, some that are for a few months, or even for just a few weeks while working on a major project. In addition to formal mentorship programs, a number of organizations offer conference buddy programs for ALA Annual, ALA Midwinter, PLA, ACRL, and more. Annual conferences can be overwhelming the first time! Conference mentorship programs are great because they pair a new professional with an experienced buddy to help them navigate their first library conference.

When you feel like you’ve learned the ropes of the library world or the conference environment, consider mentoring a new library professional.

Social Media

NMRT members also mentioned this month that social media can be a powerful tool for giving back to the profession. Libraries are constantly affected by legislature and funding decisions. The profession needs advocates to support libraries by being vocal and generating awareness. You can help serve the library profession by sharing how your library is vital to the community. Tell your followers what they can do to join the charge!

Committee work, mentoring, and social media are fantastic ways to serve the library profession. Can you think of other ways to give back?

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