Whether you choose to become an ALIA member or remain a member when it comes time for renewal is a choice for the individual. But the work of ALIA has benefits for all in the sector regardless of membership status.
I joined ALIA last year as a student member, and am still a student member. This has been a worthwhile thing for me. At only $82 a year it is a bargain for the student investigating the possibilities and challenges out there. I have been able to borrow ebooks and journals I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access, I have been able to read the monthly magazine Incite and get a feel for the state of the sector, I have attended professional development seminars and unconferences run or supported by ALIA, and my library course is certified by ALIA. I have met library staff from all kinds of different institutions and received plenty of great advice. But before I joined, I had a good snoop through the services that could be accessed by everyone, and tried them out.
You can join elists or follow the special interest groups through their social media, details are available on the ALIA website. Through this, you can be aware of when events are happening near you. They might be social events or professional development events. You do not need to be a member to attend these events, but you will usually pay a little more than members. For the forthcoming unmeash 2 unconference members pay a gold coin donation, but non members pay $5. Similar pricing has applied to other recent Sydney events. You can access some content from Incite each month, and then the whole edition after a certain period (looks like 12 months at the moment). Many of the other activities of ALIA as the representative body of the sector bring benefits for members and non members alike, and I’m certain I don’t know the half of the activities currently being undertaken or planned.
Maybe it’s not the right thing for you to be a member right now. There are certainly times in your career when there are more direct and tangible benefits from membership. Networking and professional development opportunities may have a greater priority when you are gearing up for a change in work, or entering the profession. But even if you decide not to be a member, don’t lose touch.