ALA awarded $239,416 to study library networks and cooperatives

Contact: Denise M. Davis, Director
ALA Office for Research & Statistics
For Immediate Release
October 11, 2005

ALA awarded $239,416 to study library networks and cooperatives

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) announced that it has been awarded $239,416 from the Institute for Museum and Library Service (IMLS) for its research proposal “Library Networks, Cooperatives, and Consortia: A Definitional Study and Survey.” This project was one of 41 selected from a total of 259 museum and library requests.

In partnership with the ALA Office for Research and Statistics (ORS) and the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), ALA will conduct a research project to carefully investigate and then develop a comprehensive system of knowledge about the universe of library cooperatives. For the first time since 1987, the ALA study will: define the universe of library networks and cooperatives; describe the range of activities of this group; and collect operational level data required to understand library networks and cooperatives' services, staffing, revenues, and expenditures.

“Library cooperatives provide so many services that help libraries work together efficiently and effectively,” said ASCLA President Diana Paque. “ASCLA is delighted both with ALA's initiative in seeking this grant and in the opportunity to gather and analyze information about networks and cooperatives. Gathering this information will assist ASCLA in better addressing member needs and in identifying programs and services that ASCLA can develop and provide for our network and cooperative members.”

“Having worked for many years in the area of library networks and cooperatives, I am very pleased that IMLS has made this award to ALA,” said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “It represents the first major external research award to our Office for Research and Statistics. The level of research we will accomplish under this grant fits perfectly with the ALA Ahead to 2010 Strategic Plan, which ranks research as the first strategic objective in its first goal, to advocate for libraries and the profession.”

Denise M. Davis, Director of ORS, will lead the project. An advisory committee will be formed in fall 2005 and meet at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio. Representatives to the advisory committee will include the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies Committee on Research and Statistics, the chair of the State Library Agency Survey Steering Committee, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, and leaders in existing library networks, cooperatives, and consortia.

The ALA Office for Research provides leadership and expert advice to ALA staff, members, and public on all matters related to research and statistics about libraries and librarians, and initiates projects to expand the knowledge base of the field through research and the collection of useful statistics.

ASCLA is the ALA division devoted to the development of specialized and cooperative library activities. Its 1,000 members represent state library agencies, specialized library agencies, multitype library cooperatives and librarians who work outside of traditional library settings.

For more information, contact the ALA Office for Research and Statistics at