ALA is home to eight membership divisions, each with a type-of-library or type-of-library-function specialization. ALA divisions publish journals, books, newsletters, and other materials; provide continuing education in a variety of venues and formats; offer awards and scholarships; sponsor institutes and conferences; and maintain networks of affiliates, chapters, and other collaborative relationships.
ALA has incorporated specialized sections and divisions from its early existence, beginning with the college and reference librarians (1889), the trustees (1890) and catalogers (1900).
By policy, each division has a statement of responsibility developed by its members and approved by the ALA Council, a set of goals and objectives to drive its activities, an executive director and other personnel (as necessary), responsibility for generating revenue to carry out its programs, and a separate Board of Directors, elected by the members of the division. Each division is represented on the ALA Council and in the Planning and Budget Assembly.
Members of ALA divisions must first be members of the American Library Association. A majority of ALA members belong to one or more division. To learn about the types of membership available, see ALA Personal Membership (includes division and round table rates). To explore the division's sites and all they have to offer:
- American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
- Assn. for Library Service to Children (ALSC)
- Assn. of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
- Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures
- Public Library Assn. (PLA)
- Reference & User Services Assn. (RUSA)
- United for Libraries (Trustees, Friends, Foundations)
- Young Adult Library Services Assn. (YALSA)