Interest Groups

Connect to your profession. Join an ASCLA Interest Group.

The Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) is excited to introduce its new interest groups. Features include:

  • Access through ALA Connect
  • Formal recognition for participation

What is an Interest Group?

ASCLA Interest Groups are virtual groups hosted on ALA Connect, the active online member community site of ALA. Each community comes together to share knowledge and enthusiasm for a specific subject and makes valuable contributions to ASCLA and its core interests of strengthening the usefulness, efficiency and services of:

  • Library agencies and individuals which provide library materials and service to populations with special needs, such as those with sensory, physical, health or behavioral conditions or those who are incarcerated or detained
  • State library agencies, which are state organizations created to promote library services in the state through a variety of library services
  • Library cooperatives, which are combinations, mergers, or contractual associations of one or more types of libraries
  • Independent librarians who work outside of traditional library settings

Why should you join?

When you’re part of an ASCLA Interest Group, your efforts might result in an educational webinar, a program for the ALA Annual Conference, an article for ASCLA’s Interface e-newsletter, a discussion forum for members, or even a new ASCLA product. The possibilities are limitless! ASCLA’s Interest Groups offer you a valuable opportunity to contribute to your profession and engage with colleagues throughout the world.

What are the requirements?

The only requirement is a desire to make a difference. There are no appointments or terms. You can join (and leave) Interest Groups at your discretion.

What can Interest Groups do?

Interest groups are not limited to the following activities, but these are some of the most popular:

  • Present or sponsor webinars and online courses
  • Plan and present programs for the ALA Annual Conference
  • Plan and present preconferences and institutes for the ALA Midwinter and Annual Conferences
  • Write articles for ASCLA’s Interface e-newsletter
  • Set up discussion forums for members
  • Publish standards, guidelines, books or professional codes of ethics
  • Create a new ASCLA product, such as an online tutorial or tip sheets in ASCLA's 4 core interest areas
  • Hold social gatherings and networking sessions for members to connect with each other and share their ideas, passions and experiences

What is ALA Connect and how can you logon?

ALA Connect is an engaging member community sponsored by ALA. Many groups and committees do virtual meetings and work on it, while others simply logon to join an interesting discussion. To get started, follow these instructions . Once you’re inside ALA Connect, there are plenty of detailed documents to help you make the most of your time there.

What Interest Groups can you join?

You may join as many as you like. If you don’t find one that excites you, create a new one!

How do I start a new ASCLA Interest Group?

ASCLA welcomes your ideas and passions! If you’re interested in leading a new Interest Group, follow these simple steps !

Please keep in mind, while you do not have to be an ASCLA member to join an Interest Group, you must be an ASCLA member to lead one. ASCLA has established basic guidelines to outline the scope of Interest Group leadership. As an Interest Group Leader you will be expected to:

  • Encourage involvement in the Interest Group
  • Ensure that the Interest Group generates discussion topics, articles, programs, projects etc. within the purview of the Interest Group’s charge.
  • Regularly communicate with Interest Group members regarding Interest Group activities as well as initiatives coming from the ASCLA Board, staff, or other interested parties.
  • Communicate with the Interest Group Coordinating Committee. This will include a brief annual report on Interest Group activity. Reports will be posted on the Interest Group site.
  • Communicate with the Interest Group Coordinating Committee if, for any reason, you determine that you are unable to fulfill the responsibility of leading the Interest Group.
  • Notify the ASCLA office of any changes in leadership.
  • Coordinate the overall activities of the interest group and for reporting on group activities.

How does an Interest Group operate?

  • Interest groups establish their own process for nominating and electing their leadership.
  • Interest group leaders must be Association members.
  • No leader shall serve more than four (4) consecutive years in office.
  • Any member of ASCLA may join as many interest groups as desired by joining the group in ALA Connect.
  • Each Interest Group defines its own functions, subject to the approval of the Interest Group Coordinating Committee
  • Each Interest Group shall manage its own affairs, provided that no interest group shall adopt rules for the transaction of its business inconsistent with those of the Association, or engage in any activity in conflict with the program of the Association.
  • Interest groups may plan and sponsor programs at conferences, may sponsor pre-conferences, prepare publications, or carry out other activities with the approval of the Interest Group Coordinating Committee and the Board of Directors.
  • Interest group elections are held during the Midwinter Meeting. Unless otherwise approved by the ASCLA executive director, interest groups will conduct their own elections and not utilize the formal ALA election system

What resources are available for Interest Group leaders?

PLA has prepared an extremely helpful webinar for their Community of Practice Leaders that will help ASCLA Interest Group Leaders. It is under "PLA Communities of Practice Leaders/Liaisons Orientation Webinar".