Many professional associations are grappling with membership challenges. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a strategy they termed the “member-centered” approach (Romano, 2004). One feature of this approach designed to boost membership is teaming with state and specialty societies. The American Medical Association believes that “future cooperation and collaboration with state associations is vital to any membership turnaround” (Romano, 2004, p. 11). This partnership makes good business sense.
The American Library Association considers a cooperative venture with state associations as an important avenue to increase membership as well. Taking to heart the COPE recommendations and incorporating the idea of partnerships with state associations, ALA created a new membership option targeting library support staff at the state level. Alabama is the first state in which ALA will launch this cooperative endeavor. This article describes the joint staff membership initiative between a state association, the Alabama Library Association (ALLA), and the American Library Association – a unique pilot program already beginning to spread nationwide.