ALA Student Chapter Answers and Resources

This FAQ helps explain how the ALA and ALA Student Chapters partnership works and provides easy access to ALA resources for Student Chapters. It also shows ways to get involved in ALA Student Chapters. These are just some of the frequently asked questions. If you have other questions about the ALA Student Chapters, contact Don Wood at the ALA Chapter Relations Office. See also Student Chapters, a page which includes quick answers for newly elected Student Chapter presidents.

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

What Are ALA Student Chapters?

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

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. Brown-bag lunches on campus where 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, 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.

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

What Does ALA Do to Help Student Chapters?

Provides a Business E-list

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.

Provides a Directory and an ALA Connect Community

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.

Established and Maintains the 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.

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.

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 three year's worth of receipts. Our Accounting Department prefers receipts are dated within the corresponding fiscal year. Plus, the Chapter Relations Office budgets its expenses for each fiscal year. Thanks!

Encourages Diversity and Inclusion

The Office for Diversity 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.

Provides Information about Awards, Grants, Scholarships

For other Awards and Travel Grants, see ALA Awards and Grants and ALA Scholarship Program.

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 Mentoring

ALA has launched MentorConnect in ALA Connect so you can find or become a mentor.

MentorConnect is an informal mentoring network implemented within ALA Connect that allows all ALA members to participate and only requires that you actively choose to join the network in order to begin serving as a mentor or seeking a mentor.

Mentoring others is one of the most powerful ways you can give back to the profession, but it’s not a relationship to be entered into lightly. If you join MC, you’re making a commitment to help someone else. A strong mentoring relationship requires consistent contact between the mentor and mentee so think carefully about making this commitment before offering your services as a mentor.

Having effective mentors is important for your professional and personal growth. Asking someone to take the time to mentor you is a serious commitment. When someone agrees to mentor you, they’re making an investment in your future. Plan on spending time with your mentor via MentorConnect in order to get the most from this important relationship.

See Looking for a Mentor? Want to Be a Mentor? MentorConnect Is Here! and What is MentorinG? and How Can I Find a Mentor? and How to Get Started?

Provides Business E-list, Facebook Pages, Twitter, and More

The Chapter Relations Office created an e-list, STUCHAPT, for members of ALA student chapter groups and their faculty advisors. The purpose of the list is to allow students to connect with other chapters and exchange information regarding chapter activities, events, and other ideas. It will also be used by the Chapter Relations Office to keep in closer contact with the students and better serve them. To subscribe, please contact Don Wood.

Provides Ways to Engage in ALA

You may also be interested in resources available through the ALA New Members Round Table (NMRT) and Office for Diversity (e.g., ALA Annual Diversity Research Grant and Spectrum Scholars).

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 Library 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.