CHICAGO — The Council of the American Library Association (ALA) approved for adoption the 2015 Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies on February 2 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.
Brought forward into the new Standards with greater clarity is the emphasis on planning, assessment, and evaluation to sustain quality. The requirement to demonstrate how the results of evaluation are applied is now a culminating aspect of each of the standards.
The five-plus-year review process included three drafts issued for comment. The final, approved version of the Standards reflects suggestions from all sectors of the profession, including, most notably, employers of library and information studies program graduates, library and information studies program faculty and students, the ALA Council and Executive Board, and affiliated associations.
The revision was prepared and brought to the Council by the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA) and endorsed by the ALA Committee on Education. The COA charge is to “to formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of Council” and “to be responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA.”
Implementation of the 2015 Standards begins immediately for programs with comprehensive review visits in spring 2017 and later. Programs currently in the comprehensive review cycle will continue to report to the 2008 Standards until after the accreditation decision is made.
The ALA COA is a leading force in accreditation, having evaluated educational programs to prepare librarians since its creation in 1924. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes the ALA COA as the authority for assessing the quality of education offered by graduate programs in the field of library and information studies.