[last update 1 October 2003]


The Association's interest in recruitment of library staff encompasses all library careers, including those requiring a master's degree in library and information studies and the broad range of library support staff roles.

KEY ACTION/PRIORITY AREAS:  Diversity, Personnel Resources
RELATED ISSUES: Accreditation, Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity, Library Personnel


  • Policy 1.3 E: 8) Librarianship recruits a racially and ethnically diverse group of high caliber persons.


  • The 3rd Congress on Professional Education: Focus on Support Staff raised issues related to inclusiveness and scope.
  • First Lady Laura Bush's recruitment campaign, administered through IMLS offers opportunities for ALA and other library groups.


  • ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment/HRDR Advisory/Recruitment Assembly
  • ALA Office for Diversity/Committee on Diversity
  • ALA Divisions


  • Other national library associations - AASL, MLA, SLA and others
  • ALA chapters and affiliates


  • 1883 - A committee was appointed to consider various current projects and proposals for the education of librarians.
  • 1964 - The ALA Office for Recruitment, originally funded by a grant from the J. Morris Jones - World Book Encyclopedia ALA Goal Award, was absorbed into the ALA General Fund.
  • mid-1960s --  The ALA Office for Education was established to coordinate ALA activities related to library education.  The Office was also concerned with recruitment, accreditation, informal and continuing education, and personnel utilization.
  • 1971 - Since 1971, at ALA Council direction, a Placement Center has been featured at ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences.
  • 1974 - ALA Office for Library Personnel Resources (now HRDR) Advisory Committee formed a subcommittee on Equal Employment Opportunity.  ALA held an Affirmative Action Institute, facilitated by OLPR.
  • 1987 - OLPR (now HRDR) received the World Book/ALA Goal Award for "Recruiting Tomorrow's Leaders: An Invitational Pre-Conference to Promote Diversity."
  • 1989 - OLPR (now HRDR) produced Each One Reach One: Recruiting for the Professional Action Handbook.
  • 1989 - OLPR (now HRDR) produced Occupational Entry: Library and Information Science Students' Attitudes, Demographics and Aspirations Survey.
  • 1991 - ALA Council adopted a statement on "Decade of the Librarian," calling on ALA to "shift its major focus from libraries to librarians" through a number of strategies including an expanded recruitment effort, more scholarships, increased dialogue between educators and practitioners, a strengthened research base, creation of a workforce representing a pluralistic society, improving compensation for librarians by reaching decision-makers with information and by providing a toolkit for librarians to use, increasing recognition for librarians as information professionals in a changing society.
  • 1991 - The Special Committee on Library School Closings recommended that the ALA Executive Board "initiate an action program that will (a) recast the image of the functions of library and information science as vital to society in the information age; and (b) influence the direction of library and information science education in the modern age."
  • 1991 - The LITA/OCLC Minority Scholarship was established.
  • 1992 - The ALA Recruitment Assembly was formed, with emphasis on recruitment for diversity.
  • 1994 - The LITA/LSSI Minority Scholarship was established.
  • 1996 - In response to a report from the Council Committee on Minority Concerns (CCMC - now Committee on Diversity), Council directed CCMC to begin work on a campaign to build a $1M endowment to fund minority scholarships.
  • 1997 - The ALA Executive Board approved the Spectrum Initiative, a recruitment and scholarship plan.  The 3-year Initiative would provide 50 $5,000 scholarships/year to students from 4 under-represented groups, fund an annual Spectrum Leadership Institute, provide mentoring, fund development of recruitment materials, and provide additional staff to support the Initiative.  To support the Initiative, the Board authorized use of the return on more than $3M endowment principal.  The Spectrum Initiative was subsequently extended for a 4th year.  An active campaign, which merged with the Council-initiated (1996) campaign, was begun to build the Spectrum Endowment, to sustain the effort following the end of the Initiative.
  • 2000 - The ASCLA Century Scholarship was established with the intent of recruiting people with disabilities to the profession.
  • 2001 - ALA president Nancy Kranich appointed a Task Force on the Status of Librarians.
  • 2002 - ALA president-elect Maurice J. Freedman appointed a Presidential Committee on Better Salaries.
  • 2002 - ALA established the ALA-Allied Professional Association, to promote "the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers."
  • 2003 - The Report of the Steering Committee, 3rd Congress on Professional Education - Focus on Support Staff, included the following recommendation: An ALA or LSSIRT website recruitment effort should be aimed at raising awareness of employment opportunities at all levels in libraries and include "The Face of  "America's Libraries," a catalog pictorial of library workers in all types of libraries.


Issue Summaries

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