Student Chapter Answers

This page is designed to assist already established ALA Student Chapters. If you are interested in starting an ALA Student Chapter, visit How to Start an ALA Student Chapter.

If you have other questions about the ALA Student Chapters, contact Don Wood at the ALA Chapter Relations Office.

| What Are the ALA Student Chapters?What Can the ALA Student Chapters Do for Themselves and Others?What Does ALA Do to Help Student Chapters? |

What Are the ALA Student Chapters?

| What Are ALA Student Chapters? | Chapter and Student Chapter Resources | Leading Your Chapter | Who to Contact at the ALA for Answers about ALA Student Chapters? |

What Can the ALA Student Chapters Do for Themselves and Others?

| What Can the ALA Student Chapters Do for Themselves and Others? | Promote the ALA Joint Membership Program | Raise Money to Support Your Chapter | Brainstorm | Arrange for Visits | Arrange Tours and Other Get-togethers | Participate | Social Network | Help Others/Transform Your Communities | Establish a Relationship with Your State Library Association | Do I have to be an ALA member to belong to an ALA Student Chapter? | Membership Drives for Your Student Chapter | Membership and Elections | Other Student Groups |

What Does ALA Do to Help Student Chapters?

| What Does ALA Do to Help Student Chapters? | Provides a Business E-list and Student Chapter Directory | ALA Student-to-Staff Program | Volunteering at Conference | Encourages Ways to Participate in ALA | Provides Information about Jobs | Provides Monetary Support for Your Chapter | Encourag4es Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | Provides Information about Awards, Grants, Scholarships | Provides Promotional Materials and More | Provides  Accreditation | Public Awareness Campaign | Social Media |

What Are ALA Student Chapters?

Chapter and Student Chapter Resources

ALA Student Chapters
Links to information and resources for and about ALA Student Chapters.

ALA Student Chapter Projects
Information on projects accomplished by ALA Student Chapers (created prior to the ALA Student Member Blog. Several articles discuss projects).

Chapter Answers
Answers to frequently asked questions about ALA and Chapters

Chapter Councilor Answers
Information and resources for and about ALA Chapter Councilors.

CRO Answers
Information and resources related to the Chapter Relations Office.

Overview of ALA Resources for Chapters
Links to key action areas, resources by subject, and more

Joint Student Membership Program
Forty-two Chapters partner with ALA to allow students to join ALA and one Chapter for one membership fee.

Student-to-Staff Program
The Student to Staff program is only offered to ALA Student Chapters, which nominate 40 library students to assist ALA staff during ALA Annual Conference. If these students meet the criteria established under the program, in exchange for their working four hours a day for a total of 16 hours, 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.

Leading Your Chapter

Who to Contact at the ALA for Answers about ALA Student Chapters?

  • Send comments and questions regarding ALA Student Chapters to Don Wood, Chapter Relations Office, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611, or call: Toll-free 1-800-545-2433 x2429, in Chicago 1-312-280-2429, or FAX: (312) 280-4392.
  • Send contact information and updates about contacts and other information to Don Wood.

What Can the ALA Student Chapters Do for Themselves and Others?

Promote the ALA Joint Membership Program

Students, join ALA and Your State Library Association for one low price. If your state association is interested in participating in a joint membership program, please contact the Chapter Relations Office.

See also ALA Student Membership: Frequently Asked Questions Answered.

Here are reasons why you should promote joining your state library association, not just because you can through the ALA Joint Student Membership program, but also because it's a good way to advocate for libraries! A State Association by Any Other Name is Still a Home to You! Need more!: Many library school students are more oriented towards their state than they are to the national scene and plan to remain in the state after graduation. Student chapter connection with the state association allows students to learn the workings of a smaller association, to make contacts with professionals in their area, and to attend local conferences and workshops. Many individuals begin their association "careers" in state associations. Interested? Contact the president of the state library association or the executive director if there is one. Ask to be put on their mailing list to receive publicity for their programs. A list of state associations and their presidents and/or executive directors will be found on the online directory maintained by the Chapter Relations Office.

Raise Money to Support Your Chapter

Your chapter may support its programs through fundraising activities, dues paid to the student chapter group, or contributions from the school administration.

Brainstorm

Brainstorm ideas with other student chapters (an online directory is found on the ALA website). In other words, the business e-list and the ALA Connect Community Student Chapter Leadership are two additional ways you can communicate with and share ideas and questions with your colleagues.

Arrange for Visits

Arrange campus visits from ALA Officers, ALA Councilors, or ALA committee chairs. Visitors may be invited to visit classes or give a formal presentation, with informal gatherings either preceding or following the presentation. In order to keep costs to the student chapter to a minimum, such a campus visit might be added to a previously planned trip or draw on ALA members in your area. The Staff Liaison can help you to determine which ALA staff or members would be available to visit your school on a certain date.

Arrange Tours and Other Get-togethers

Arrange student tours of local libraries might be arranged with active ALA members, giving students an opportunity to investigate current library practice from a professional perspective. Host brown-bag lunches on campus to which local ALA members are invited to share experiences and career development ideas with students in an informal atmosphere.

Participate

Attend local events, such as your state library association’s annual conferences and ALA national and division conferences when you can.

Social Network

Start a website, e-list, blog, Facebook page, or other social networking tools for student chapter members, with news from conferences, a calendar of campus events, and interviews (see "Social Networking" below). Include articles on curriculum changes, new faculty members, and fellowships available to students from off-campus sources. Use chapter communication tools for humorous articles and to publicize student chapter programs. See also Social Media.

Help Others/Transform Your Communities

Libraries transform communities. So can your Student Chapter. Your chapter can raise funds for library relief, get involved in volunteer work for your community, become active in library advocacy, book drives, any project . . . . “Imagination is stronger than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world.”—Albert Einstein

Establish a Relationship with Your State Library Association

Whenever possible, make a connection with the state library association in addition to ALA. In fact, it would be good to join your state association as well as ALA. Many library school students are more oriented towards their state than they are to the national scene and plan to remain in the state after graduation. Student chapter connection with the state association allows students to learn the workings of a smaller association, to make contacts with professionals in their area, and to attend local conferences and workshops. Many individuals begin their association "careers" in state associations.

Contact the president of the state library association or the executive director if there is one. Ask to be put on their mailing list to receive publicity for their programs. A list of state associations and their presidents and/or executive directors will be found on the online directory maintained by the Chapter Relations Office.

Do I have to be an ALA member to belong to an ALA Student Chapter?

No, not as far as participating in Student Chapter events and activities. Anyone and everyone should be allowed to participate. Indeed, participation should be encouraged and ALA membership should be encouraged, as well.

That said, if you want to run for a Student Chapter office, successful candidates should be ALA members. As for being an ALA member during election, in theory, all candidates should be current ALA members. If not, it seems to suggest that unless elected, candidates don’t want to join the organization they want to lead. However, in practice, flexibility can rule. If your Chapter decides to allow nonmembers to run, however, it must require them to join immediately upon election (and I stress immediately). Who in your Chapter will be assigned the task to oversee that they do join? Perhaps this should be a Bylaws change to make it official? Again, in theory, officers should be elected only by other ALA members. In practice, however, again, flexibility must rule. Indeed, most Chapters’ bylaws indicate ALA membership is only encouraged and not mandatory. This being so, then, anyone should be allowed to vote.

Like Student Chapters, Chapters (state library associations) are affiliated with ALA. Article V. Chapters, Section 2, of the ALA Bylaws states, “A chapter may admit members who are not members of the American Library Association.” Similarly, Student Chapters may also admit members who are not ALA members. However, unlike Chapters, Student Chapters are granted Charter Memberships as Student Chapter Groups of the American Library Association. Therefore, ALA can and does require Student Chapter officers to be ALA members. Both Chapter and Student Chapter officers encourage their members to join ALA. In addition, Student Chapter members appointed to ALA committees or selected to participate in ALA-related activities, such as the Student-to-Staff program, are required to be ALA members.

ALA doesn’t require Student Chapter events and activities to be strictly for Student Chapter members to encourage participation as learning experiences and opportunities to provide assistance to local communities. That is, ALA encourages volunteerism. Events and activities organized by Student Chapters include book drives and reading to children and seniors, as well as social get-togethers, which can include Student Chapter membership drives.

See also How to Start an ALA Student Chapter and Participate in Your Student Chapter! If Your Campus Doesn't Have One, Start One!

Membership Drives for Your Student Chapter

Arrange an informational and organizational meeting at the school for all interested students. The officers of existing groups can serve as a steering committee and can be of great assistance in helping to promote the chapter group. Students who have already joined ALA as student members should be identified and included in the chapter group. At the informational meeting, distribute ALA student membership forms and sign up students. (See Joint Student Membership Program.) Once a nucleus of members is established, a constitution should be drafted. Sample constitutions are available online from the ALA Chapter Relations Office. A nominating committee should be appointed and a meeting held to elect officers and approve the constitution. A chapter group program committee should be appointed to work with the officers to develop program ideas. A faculty advisor should be designated to work with the organizers on chapter formation.

Membership and Elections

Successful candidates for Student Chapter leadership positions (named in your constitution and bylaws) should be ALA members. As for being an ALA member during election, in theory, all candidates should be current ALA members. If not, it seems to suggest that unless elected, candidates don’t want to join the organization they want to lead. However, in practice, flexibility can rule. If your Chapter decides to allow nonmembers to run, however, it must require them to join immediately upon election (and I stress immediately). Who in your Chapter will be assigned the task to oversee that they do join? Perhaps this should be a Bylaws change to make it official? Again, in theory, officers should be elected only by other ALA members. In practice, however, again, flexibility must rule. Indeed, most Chapters’ bylaws indicate ALA membership is only encouraged and not mandatory. This being so, then, anyone should be allowed to vote. As far as participating in events and activities of the Student Chapter, anyone and everyone should be allowed to participate. Indeed, participation should be encouraged and ALA membership should be encouraged, as well. (All leaders, election rules, and governance procedures should be spelled out in your constitution and bylaws.)

Other Student Groups

There are often several student groups on the library school campus to handle student problems and concerns. The student chapter is concerned with external relations with ALA as a professional organization. All groups can exist side-by-side without any role conflict. In fact, if time constraints or other considerations seem to dictate it, groups can be combined, sharing officers and activities.

What Does ALA Do to Help Student Chapters?

Provides a Business E-list and Student Chapter Directory

If you are a Student Chapter leader, faculty advisor, or dean, be sure you are subscribed to the CRO business e-list, stuchapt@lists.ala.org. The Chapter Relations Office created an e-list to allow students to connect with other chapters and exchange information regarding chapter activities, events, and other ideas. This e-list is the primary means of direct communication from the Chapter Relations Office to the Student Chapters. To be subscribed, please contact Don Wood.

Because this e-list is the primary means of direct communication (and there’s also the phone! . . . 1-800-545-2433, ext. 2429, or 1-312-280-2429), please send all leadership contact updates to Don Wood.

  • Student Chapter Directory. Contact information for Student Chapter leaders, including presidents, faculty advisors, and directors, and more.
  • Student Chapter presidents and faculty advisors are subscribed to the Student Chapter e-list (stuchapt@lists.ala.org). The ALA Chapter Relations Office—liaison to the ALA Student Chapters—communicates to the ALA Student Chapters via this business e-list.
  • Please send any comments, questions, or changes to Don Wood, Chapter Relations Office.

Brainstorm ideas with other student chapters (an online directory is found on the ALA website). In other words, the business e-list and the ALA Connect Community Student Chapter Leadership are two additional ways you can communicate with and share ideas and questions with your colleagues.

ALA Student-to-Staff Program

The Student-to-Staff Program is only offered during ALA Annual Conference. There are no volunteer opportunities offered during ALA Midwinter Meetings.

The Student to Staff program is only offered to ALA Student Chapters, which nominate 40 library students to assist ALA staff during ALA Annual Conference. If these students meet the criteria established under the program, in exchange for their working four hours a day for a total of 16 hours, 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.

Volunteering at Conference

Thanks for your interest in volunteering!

As of now, there is only one permanently established, formal program for volunteering at an ALA conference and that is the Student-to-Staff Program (see also immediately above), which is only held at Annual Conference. There are no volunteer opportunities offered during ALA Midwinter Meetings.

Encourages Ways to Participate in ALA

Join one of the ALA Round Tables. Of particular interest may be the New Members Round Table, which offers grants, scholarships, and awards, such as the Student Chapter of the Year Award.

Provides Information about Jobs

Links to information about ALA Conference Placement Service, JobList, scholarships, and more, can be found at the ALA Office for Human Resource Development & Recruitment.

Want a great resume? Go to the NMRT Resume Review Service!

Provides Monetary Support for Your Chapter

Good news! Your chapter can be reimbursed for up to $100 per fiscal year (ALA’s fiscal year, which would be, for example, Sept. 1, 2016, through August 31, 2017) for programs and events it holds. All you need to do is send your original receipts to the ALA Chapter Relations Office at 50 E. Huron St., Chicago IL 60611, attention, Don Wood., with a letter requesting the reimbursement and to whom or what the check should be made out and  to whom it should be sent. We do ask that if possible, receipts are sent together rather than smaller requests throughout the year. Much thanks!

NOTE: Please don't save up year's worth of receipts. ALA Accounting Department prefers receipts are dated within the corresponding fiscal year. Plus, the Chapter Relations Office budgets its expenses for each fiscal year. Thanks! And do let us know what you spent the money on that we are reimbursing you (e.g., annual membership drive).

Encourages Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services oversees the ALA Annual Diversity Research Grant, which addresses critical gaps in the knowledge of diversity issues within library and information science, and the Spectrum Scholarship Program, ALA’s national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future. See also Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Libraries Respond
The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services 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. This page will be a resource for the library community to share information, find resources, and connect as they serve their communities. Follow #LibrariesRespond

Provides Information about Awards, Grants, Scholarships

Through its ALA Scholarship Program, the American Library Association (ALA) is committed to promoting and advancing the librarian profession. To demonstrate this commitment, the ALA and its units provide more than $300,000 annually for study in a master's degree in library and information studies from an ALA accredited program, or for a master's degree in school library media program that meets the ALA curriculum guidelines for a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accredited unit. See ALA-accredited programs of library and information services and NCATE/AASL-accredited program.

If you are considering a degree in library and information science, or if you know a student, library worker, or college graduate from an underrepresented group who might help shape the future of library services, the time is now to learn more about the American Library Association's Spectrum Scholarships.

Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA's national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future.

See also ALA Awards and Grants.

Provides Promotional Materials and More

If you would like an ALA leader to speak at your Student Chapter, or if you would like ALA promotional and informational materials, we will try to arrange this. Contact Don Wood with all the particulars (i.e., who you would like to speak, when, on what topic, if any, etc.; what kinds of materials you would like, for example, membership brochures).

Provides  Accreditation

The American Library Association (ALA) accredits master’s programs in library and information studies across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Accreditation is achieved through a review process conducted by an external review panel of practitioners and academics that verifies that the program meets the Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies.

Graduating from an ALA-accredited program provides flexibility in the types of libraries and jobs you can apply for and enhances career mobility. Many employers require an ALA-accredited master's degree for professional level positions, and some states require an ALA-accredited degree to work as a professional librarian in public or school libraries.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is a national accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education authorized by the U.S. Department of Education. NCATE determines which schools, colleges, and departments of education meet rigorous national standards in preparing teachers and other school specialists for the classroom. The American LibraSocial ry Association and the American Association of School Libraries were pleased at recent interest expressed by students and faculty at a number of schools in forming ALA Student Chapters to foster professional affiliation. As a result ALA has expanded its Student Chapter program so that NCATE-accredited programs can establish ALA Student Chapters.

Public Awareness Campaign

  • 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.

Social Media