ALA has been a leader in education since it was founded. The association plays a unique role in assessing the continuing education needs of its members and of those in the profession; delivering programs to meet those needs; communicating their availability; and offering training where appropriate. As a priority for the association, continuing education is sponsored and delivered by every division, round table and office within ALA — including ALA Online Learning, which provides a host of resources for training and learning opportunities.
“Align your training with strategic priorities,” says Lorelle Swader, director of ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment. “Staff training is different than public training. Make sure that all of your training supports those outcomes and priorities for your library. Think in terms of outcomes rather than trainings. What outcome or result are you looking for? What problem are you trying to address? Once you’ve determined your outcome then you can determine if training is the best way to reach that outcome. Don’t invest time and resources in training that’s not needed.”
ALA's Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment ( HRDR) is dedicated to education and learning programs and the development of management and human resource policies that best serve the needs of libraries and their employees. HRDR also offers financial and employment information and assistance to librarians.
HRDR assists a number of committees and round tables including the Learning Round Table ( LEARNRT). This group provides leadership and a forum for ideas and concerns among library and information personnel responsible for continuing education, training and staff development.
The Committee on Education makes policies and recommendations in the area of continuing library education and acts as a clearinghouse of information on all aspects of education for library and information studies, for the profession and for the public-at-large.
ALA offers a number of scholarships to graduate students pursuing degrees in library and information studies. These include the Spectrum scholarships, designed to recruit African Americans/African Canadians, Asian/Pacific islanders, Latinos/Hispanics and Native People of the U.S. or Canada to the profession.