Joining will supposedly connect me with a bunch of benefits, including the chance to be part of a group that affects the publishing world, access to forums where I can interact with and learn from writers and publishing industry professionals, discounted rates for certain SCBWI-affiliated functions, membership in a regional chapter, eligibility for writing awards, and subscription to their newsletter and publishing book.
"The Book" is more of a resource guide to all aspects of publishing, and I guess you get one when you join and that's it. It's full of cool stuff! There's a section on preparing/submitting work (including a query letter how-to and some conference-going tips!), some market surveys, a smallish selection of publishing professionals you can query or submit to, a section on how to publicize your stuff once it's published, a "school visits" section, some legal information, and some little fill-in forms at the end for if you want to use them to make your to-do lists and submission records.
I wasn't really expecting to get a resource guide or a magazine, but I do want to engage in connection with others and possibly get to some conferences (even though they're expensive and it'd be hard for me to justify). Hopefully this organization will facilitate my goals. I've also been reading a lot of blogs and joining forums and having a blast chatting with other people. Like I said in one of my previous posts, I seem to be going through a "connection" phase to fill in the blanks left where the "creative" phase would usually be front and center, so that kind of explains the recent storm of Signing Up For Everything. But I think I feel a short story coming on, so maybe I'll get a little break from this squirrely attitude soon.