The ALA and Chapters Partnership works because ALA and the Chapters help each other help each other!
Revised December 7, 2018.
The ALA and Chapters Partnership will guide you to answers and explanations about how the ALA and ALA Chapters partnership works.
| Overview | Advocacy and Legislation | Chapter Activity and Programs | Chapter Councilors | Chapter Relations Committee/Chapter Relations Office | Communication | Conferences and Events/Chapter Conferences | Crisis Intervention | Education and Training | Helping United States Libraries After Disasters | Issues: Chapters Share with Each Other and ALA How They Address Issues Affecting Their Associations | Joint Membership Program | Membership Benefits | Resources for Chapters | Student Chapters | Social Networking | A Continuing Partnership: Summary | ALA and the Chapters: A Mutually Advantageous Relationship | Questions/Comments | ALA Chapter Relations Office Contacts |
The Chapter Relations Office (CRO) promotes a sense of identification between the national Association and the 57 ALA Chapters; facilitates communication between the Chapters and all ALA units (e.g., Chapter Answers, Chapter Issues, State of the Chapter Annual Report; Helping United States Libraries After Disasters), coordinates leadership development for Chapter officers (e.g., Chapter Leaders Forum), Chapter Councilors, chief paid staff members, and other Chapter leaders; strengthens membership promotion activities for ALA and the Chapters (e.g., joint membership program); coordinates the ALA Student Chapters and the ALA Student-to-Staff program and Money Smart Week; and helps raise awareness throughout the ALA of and sensitivity to Chapter advocacy and other needs (e.g., Chapter Issues, where Chapters share how they address common issues). In addition to CRO, the interests of Chapters are represented within ALA by the Chapter Relations Committee (CRC), which meets each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, and serves as an advisory committee to the CRO. Immediately below are links to resources to help you grasp an overview of the ALA and Chapters partnership.
Advocacy Resources for Chapters
CRO supports ALA's and Chapter's library advocacy efforts by working with other ALA units and other groups.
Overview of ALA Select Resources for Chapters
Links to ALA units and topics, such as key action areas.
Another quick way to find resources for Chapters.
Chapters share with each other how they address common issues.
Chapter Advocacy Exchange
Free webinars presented by the ALA Chapter Relations Office and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy.
Find Your Answers
Of the numerous pages to access information about the ALA and Chapters partnership and resources, and answers related to Chapters, this is the page to bookmark and refer to first.
State and Local Resources
CRO supports ALA’s advocacy efforts by tracking federal, state, and local legislation and other issues affecting libraries, and by working with the Office for Library Advocacy, the Communications and Marketing Office, the ALA Washington Office, I Love Libraries, other ALA units, and other groups. CRO provides advocacy assistance to ALA Chapters by several means, including helping them develop and maintain their own advocacy websites, which allow their members to contact state and federal legislators.
Many important resources are provided here. For additional resources, see either ALA Chapters or ALA Chapter Relations Office for links to resources for (a) advocacy and other assistance for libraries, (b) activities related to the ALA and Chapters Partnership, (c) Chapter leader directories, (d) conference calendars, both those of Chapters and ALA, (e) and more.
The partnership between the American Library Association and its Chapters is designed to benefit both. Each partner expects certain benefits from the partnership, and each strives to meet those expectations by accomplishing the responsibilities accompanying their partnership.
If there is a resource you would like to suggest for this or another Chapters-related page, please contact the Chapter Relations Office, either Michael Dowling, Director (email@example.com), or Mariel Colbert, Program Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Great Ways to Get Involved in ALA. ALA is an incredibly rich and varied organization and offers something for everyone, whether you want to get involved with colleagues who work in the same kind of library, expand your horizons by attending conferences or continuing education events, network with members who share your interests, find a forum to discuss key issues, work on specific projects, or support libraries and librarians.
State Ecosystem Initiative
American Association of School Librarians, Office for Library Advocacy, and Chapter Relations Office have embarked on a yearlong initiative to strengthen state library ecosystems through unified messaging and identification of shared priorities for action.
The Chapter Relations Office supports ALA’s advocacy efforts by tracking state and federal legislation affecting libraries and by working with the Office for Library Advocacy, the ALA Washington Office, other ALA units, and other groups. CRO provides assistance to Chapters by helping them develop and maintain their own advocacy “take action” websites, powered by Engage, which allow their members to contact state and federal legislators.
- ALA currently provides support for all state chapters to set up their own Engage Legislative Action Center and participate in the Engage affiliate program. Visit also the ALA Legislative Action Center, How to Contact Your Representatives and Chapter Advocacy Exchange.
- To take action on federal legislation affecting libraries and to take action for libraries in your state via Engage, visit CRO’s Take Action for Libraries and Save Libraries in Your State.
- Chapter Engage contacts will be subscribed to a CRO business e-list, email@example.com.
- How to Contact Your Representatives (i.e., Engage, advocacy software ALA provides to Chapters) indicates which Chapters use Capwiz and which Chapters have migrated to Engage.
To further assist the Chapters with advocacy:
- See Advocacy Resources for Chapters.
- ALA has an Office for Library Advocacy, which provides resources and other assistance to Chapters.
- ALA has an Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. The office has created Libraries Respond as a space for us to help keep current events in conversation with libraries' ongoing work in and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- If libraries in your states are in danger of being closed, etc., and you think ALA can help in any way, please contact the Chapter Relations Office: Michael Dowling at 312-280-3200 or Don Wood at 312-280-2429, or contact the Office for Library Advocacy: Marci Merola at 312-2880-2431. See also Crisis Intervention.
- Chapter Advocacy Exchange
- Perhaps the best way to find out what Chapters do is to explore their websites, in particular, their advocacy efforts on behalf of the libraries within their states and their annual conferences. Start by joining your state library association!
- Another way to find out how Chapters function is by studying their self-reported activities, either in their newsletters, on their websites (including blogs), or in the annual survey they submit to ALA. This survey is called the State of the Chapter Annual Report. These snapshot reports (All State of the Chapter Reports) help Chapters and ALA assess the health and vitality of state and regional library associations. These reports help highlight notable activities and achievements that can be modeled, and identify challenges and needs that may be addressed collectively.
- Chapter Leaders Forum. Forum held at ALA Midwinter and Annual Conference provides a full agenda on a variety of topics to help prepare Chapter leaders to lead their association.
- Each State Chapter has a councilor on ALA Council.
- The Chapter Relations Office provides a webpage of resources for the Chapter Councilor that includes a job description and other information to prepare them to serve (see Chapter Councilors: First Things First).
- ALA also provides a general orientation for new Councilors at Midwinter. Chapter Councilors meet in three, all-Council forums. In addition, Chapter Councilors meet on Sunday in their own Chapter Councilors Forum. The forum is held on Sunday to meet between the two CRC meetings (CRC I on Saturday; CRC II on Monday). See Select ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Schedule for Chapters.
- Chapter Councilors help Chapters promote general library service and librarianship within its geographic area, provides geographic representation to the ALA Council, and cooperates in the promotion of general and joint enterprises with ALA and other library groups.
- Chapter Councilors have specific duties (see Chapter Councilors: First Things First, including helping complete the State of the Chapter Annual Report and promoting ALA at their associations' annual conferences (e.g., ordering ALA materials to display at the conference (Word)). For other duties, see Chapter Checklist to Provide Information to the ALA Chapter Relations Office (Word).
The Chapter Relations Committee and the Chapter Relations Office work together to provide guidance and assistance to the ALA Chapters. See also Overview of Select Resources for Chapters, Chapter Answers, Chapter Issues, and Advocacy Resources for Chapters.
ALA's role with chapters is overseen by the Chapter Relations Committee, established by the ALA Council upon the recommendation of the ALA Executive Board on January 11, 1967, and executed by the Chapter Relations Office, established by the Council in 1979. CRO is headed by a half-time director (who also directs the International Relations Office) and staffed with a program officer.
Chapter Relations Committee
The Chapter Relations Committee (CRC):
- Established January 11, 1967;
- Develops and recognizes Chapters as integral components of ALA;
- Encourages discussion, activities, and programs that support the mutual interests of ALA and the Chapters;
- Advises when requested on proposals and actions of other ALA units that may affect Chapters;
- Provides a forum wherein Chapters can share ideas and concerns of common interest and identify common needs and goals;
- Communicates these Chapter needs and goals to ALA and ALA goals, programs, and priorities to the Chapters;
- Encourages and maintains a cooperative and supportive relationship among ALA, its units, and the Chapters;
- Formulates and reviews periodically requirements for Chapter status; and
- Serves as an advisory committee to the Chapter Relations Office.
- The CRC meets at each ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.
- Presents the Chapter Leaders Forum each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.
- Sponsors one or more programs at the ALA Annual Conference.
- After every Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, the CRC provides the ALA Council with a report on its activities. See Committee Information Update Report.
- CRC members are subscribed to two CRO business e-lists, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Chapter Relations Office
The Chapter Relations Office (CRO):
- Established 1979;
- Promotes a sense of identification between the national Association and the 57 ALA Chapters;
- Facilitates communication between the Chapters and all ALA units;
- Coordinates leadership development for Chapter officers, Chapter Councilors, chief paid staff members, and other Chapter leaders
- Strengthens membership promotion activities for ALA and the Chapters;
- Coordinates the ALA Student Chapters and the ALA Student-to-Staff program; and
- Helps raise awareness of and sensitivity to Chapter needs throughout the ALA.
- Along with the ALA Office for Library Advocacy and other ALA units, assists Chapters, when requested, to address crises in their states.
- The ALA Chapter Relations Committee serves as an advisory committee to the CRO
Chapters Share with Each Other, and ALA, How They Address Issues Affecting Their Associations
Model Letters in Response to Issues Affecting Chapters
Links to model letters in response to issues affecting ALA Chapters. Organized under topics.
Model Resolutions in Response to Issues Affecting Chapters
Links to model resolutions in response to issues affecting ALA Chapters. Organized under topics.
The American Library Association (ALA) is now providing members a common virtual space to engage in ALA business and network with other members around issues and interests relevant to the profession.
Chapter Conferences (ALA Connect)
Shared information about and resources to help in planning and accomplishing Chapter Conferences.
ALA and Chapters currently use these discussion lists, hosted by ALA for communication (e.g., distributing information of interest not only from ALA but also from the Chapters):
The alacro-l e-list subscribers are chapter leaders (presidents, executive directors and staff, chapter councilors), members of the Chapter Relations Committee, CRO staff, and some other ALA staff. ALA press releases are sent once a week to the alacro-l e-list.
The Chapcoun list is only for Chapter Councilors. The messages sent to this list relate to ALA Council activity, meetings of the Chapter Councilors at meetings.
The chapterleadersforum list is for registrants for the Chapter Leaders Forum.
CRO provides assistance to Chapters by helping them develop and maintain their own advocacy “take action” websites (powered by Engage), which allow their members to contact state and federal legislators. Chapter advocacy representatives are subscribed to this e-list.
This is the e-list for the Chapter Relations Committee.
This e-list is for the International Council of Library Association Executives (ICLAE). ICLAE members are the Chapter executive directors or other Chapter managers and administrators. ICLAE members and other interested persons meet at each ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. (See Select ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Schedule for Chapters.)
This e-list is for the Student Chapter leaders and advisors. Chapters and the CRC can send messages to CRO to send to this e-list.
These are webinars conducted by the ALA Chapter Relations Office, listed in alphabetical order by topic. Check for current webinars and sign up! Webinars are always available after they are presented. Chapter Advocacy Exchange is another free webinar resource.
- Chapters and ALA currently interact through each others’ conferences in a number of ways:
- Chapters may provide space for ALA promotional materials at their conferences and invite ALA leaders and staff to participate and contribute to programming at their conferences. See Chapter Councilor Answers.
- ALA has created a menu of host and contiguous benefits for the Host Chapters (associations in states where ALA holds its Midwinter and Annual Conferences and Contiguous Chapters (associations in states contiguous to the Host Chapters). These benefits vary, depending on the state and negotiations with the ALA Conference Services staff.
- The ALA conferences provide the opportunity for Chapter leaders and staff to meet and interact.
- When the American Library Association drafts its strategic plan, ALA holds planning forums at Chapter and Affiliates conferences to obtain feedback/input. For example, see ALA 2015 Environmental Scan.
- ALA leaders and staff are available to participate in Chapter Conferences to provide presentations and programs. Chapters wishing to invite an ALA President, President-elect, or Executive Director may do so directly or through the Chapter Relations Office.
- ALA leaders have travel budgets to attend conferences. If the Chapter is able to provide some support (complimentary hotel rooms, ticketed meals, etc) that is appreciated. ALA staff also have some resources to travel to do programs and presentations at Chapter Conferences. Please feel free to contact specific staff directly as well.
- See also ALA and Chapters and ALA conferences and meetings (which explains the special business relationship between the ALA Chapters and ALA).
Please let us know whether any libraries in your states are in danger of being closed, your state is facing tough legislation, etc., and you want to know how the American Library Association can help in any way. Contact the Chapter Relations Office: Michael Dowling at 312-280-3200 or Don Wood at 312-280-2429, or contact the Office for Library Advocacy: Marci Merola at 312-2880-2431.
Advocacy Implementation Plan. ALA and its members work with libraries, the broader library community and members of the public to advocate for the value of libraries and for public support for libraries of all types at the local, state, federal and international level.
ALA Strategic Directions
ALA Mission; Core Organizational Values; Key Action Areas; and Strategic Directions: Advocacy, Information Policy, Professional and Leadership Development, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Libraries Transform. Designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact, and services provided by libraries and library professionals, the Libraries Transform campaign will ensure there is one clear, energetic voice for our profession. Showcasing the transformative nature of today’s libraries and elevating the critical role libraries play in the digital age. See also the Libraries Transform Toolkit.
Protocol for Monitoring and Responding to State and Local Library Crises. The American Library Association (ALA) has adopted a protocol to respond to library crises at the state and local level. The goal of ALA's involvement is to advance the advocacy efforts of the library and/or the appropriate state-level library organization. ALA can only become involved when its efforts are welcomed by and coordinated with the library and/or the state-level library organization.
- For over 20 years the Chapter Relations Committee has provided the Chapter Leaders Forum, a forum for incoming Chapter leaders at each ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. Each forum usually attracts up to 40 participants. ALA also occasionally provides one or more ALA Annual Conference programs for Chapters on a specific association management area, such as member development, or on special events (e.g., Money Smart Week). See the Select ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Schedule for CRO and CRC meetings, events, and programs during these annual conferences.
- ALA with its credentialing programs for Public Library Management and Support Staff provide an opportunity for Chapters to create courses for these programs.
- The Certified Public Library Administrator program is a voluntary post-MLS certification program for public librarians with three years or more of supervisory experience. For more information, visit the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association.
Helping United States Libraries After Disasters. Please let us know whether any libraries in your states were damaged (e.g., by a natural disaster) and whether the American Library Association can help in any way toward recovery. Contact the Chapter Relations Offce: Michael Dowling at 312-280-3200 or Mariel Colbert at 312-280-2429.
Chapter Issues. Chapters share with each other how they address these issues. Each discussion is sorted alphabetically by state library association (Chapter). See also Model Letters in Response to Issues Affecting Chapters and Model Resolutions in Response to Issues Affecting Chapters. See also State of the Chapter Annual Report.
Joint Student Membership Program
Forty-four Chapters partner with ALA to allow students to join ALA and one Chapter for one membership fee. See also Joint Student Membership Partnership between ALA and Chapters: How Does It Work?
- Chapters pay the lowest organization rate ($150) to be a member of ALA.
- Each State Chapter selects one of their members to represent the library community in their state on ALA Council.
- Every Chapter receives a subscription to American Libraries magazine, and 10% discounts on ALA books.
- Chapters are able to take advantage of service discount programs ALA offers to organization members. For a list of current benefits, contact Michael Dowling, ALA Membership Director,
- Chapters are also able to receive free mailing lists of ALA members in their state or region.
- ALA has an Online Community Space called ALA Connect (at http://connect.ala.org/).
- Forty-three chapters participate in the ALA joint student membership program.
Information and resources related to the Chapter Relations Office.
Information and resources for and about Chapters.
Chapter Councilor Answers
Information and resources for and about ALA Chapter Councilors.
Student Chapter Answers
Information and resources for and about ALA Student Chapters.
ALA Chapter Relations Committee
Mission, roster, and more.
- The first ALA Student Chapter was created in 1980 at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The most recent ALA Student Chapter was created in 2009 at Chicago State University. Each Student Chapter has its own character and purpose. ALA Student Chapters enhance students’ ALA membership by providing leadership and programming opportunities on the campuses.
- Coordinated by the ALA Chapter Relations Office.
- See Student Chapter Answers.
- Student Chapter leaders are subscribed to a CRO business e-list, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Each year 40 library students are chosen to assist ALA staff during ALA Annual Conference in the Student-to-Staff Program. In exchange for working about four hours a day, these students receive free conference registration, housing, and a per diem for meal expenses. During free time, they may attend programs and participate in other conference activities. Participants are subscribed to a CRO business e-list, email@example.com
The relationship between the ALA and the chapters began in 1913 and has changed through the ensuing years. It was not rigidly constructed by its founders; this has enabled the partnership to develop according to the needs of the time.
Part of the partnership's vast potential has been reached, but it is incumbent on both the ALA's leadership and the chapters' leadership to interpret and develop the relationship in terms that meet the needs of all parties. To this end, the Chapter Relations Committee develops a strategic plan. The relationship between ALA and its chapters has never become static. Flexibility and change will continue to characterize this mutually beneficial partnership.
The following list was developed by the Chapter Relations Committee, and shows the All of the advantages are reciprocal: that is, both ALA and chapter benefit from each.
- Chapters contribute to strengthening a national voice on issues facing libraries; ALA, particularly through the Washington Office, may more confidently speak out on the spectrum of issues with the advice and support of chapters.
- Clout, a contemporary catchword for power and influence, can be felt in the combined approach of ALA and chapters to library issues, such as intellectual freedom and legislation.
- Through the mechanism of state library associations, the governance of the national association (the ALA Council) has the assurance of geographic representation; and through the chapter councilor, chapters have a voice in creating and implementing resolutions and other policy-making decisions of ALA.
- The chapters may draw upon ALA for specialized consulting and expertise in given areas; ALA may draw together, through the chapters, an overview of diverse approaches to problem-solving in the library profession.
- An official communications flow exists between ALA and the chapters, improving the climate for understanding and cooperative efforts. valuable networks in the profession exist through the state and regional library associations as chapters.
- Association membership promotion activities are accelerated through the affiliation of ALA and its chapters.
- Avenues for leadership development through local, regional and national arenas may be followed by ALA and its chapters.
- Continuing education for librarians can be provided, replicated, and enhanced nationwide through the sharing of ideas, plans, and programs of ALA and its chapters.
- Chapters and ALA may share more directly and regularly in the development of knowledge and information about chapters and ALA.
- Programming, necessary for well-informed librarians, is readily accessible through the ALA and its chapters and is enhanced by cooperation between ALA and chapters.
- ALA, with its chapters, constitutes an invaluable pr effort for libraries, keeping before the American public the essential role of libraries in providing the access to information resources that are so critical a foundation to our society.
- Chapters, with ALA, can readily enter into joint ventures through carefully planned and mutually beneficial agreements.
Additional questions or comments? Please feel free to contact Mariel Colbert, Chapter Relations Office.