The ALA and Chapters Partnership

Overview

The Chapter Relations Office (CRO) promotes a sense of identification between the national Association and the 57 ALA Chapters; facilitates communication between the Chapters and all ALA units (e.g., Chapter Answers, Chapter Issues, State of the Chapter Annual Report; Helping United States Libraries After Disasters), coordinates leadership development for Chapter officers (e.g., Chapter Leaders Forum), Chapter Councilors, chief paid staff members, and other Chapter leaders; strengthens membership promotion activities for ALA and the Chapters (e.g., joint membership program); coordinates the ALA Student Chapters and the ALA Student-to-Staff program and Money Smart Week; and helps raise awareness throughout the ALA of and sensitivity to Chapter advocacy and other needs (e.g., Chapter Issues, where Chapters share how they address common issues). In addition to CRO, the interests of Chapters are represented within ALA by the Chapter Relations Committee (CRC), which meets each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference, and serves as an advisory committee to the CRO.

ALA and Chapters currently interact through a variety of activities and services (see also Chapter Answers). This page, repeating somewhat information found on pages What Chapters Are and What ALA Does for Chapters (which includes links to select resources), will guide you to answers and explanations about how the ALA and ALA Chapters partnership works.

The relationship between the American Library Association and its Chapters has varied during the ALA's history. The relationship is flexible: it can be active or passive. Each partner expects certain benefits from the relationship, but each must also recognize the responsibilities that accompany a partnership.

| Advocacy and Legislation | Chapter Activity and Programs | Chapter Councilors | Chapter Relations Committee/Chapter Relations Office | Communication | Conferences and Events/Chapter Conferences | Crisis Intervention | Education and Training | Helping United States Libraries After Disasters | Issues: Chapters Share with Each Other and ALA How They Address Issues Affecting Their Associations | Joint Membership Program | Membership Benefits | Resources for Chapters | Student Chapters | Social Networking | Summary |

Advocacy and Legislation

The Chapter Relations Office supports ALA’s library advocacy efforts by tracking state and federal legislation affecting libraries and by working with the Office for Library Advocacy, the ALA Washington Office, I Love Libraries, other ALA units, and other groups.

CRO provides assistance to Chapters by helping them develop and maintain their own advocacy “take action” websites (powered by Capwiz), which allows their members to contact both state and federal members of Congress. This year, during National Library Week, CRO assisted 30 Chapters to mount an alert and message on their Capwiz sites to “Let Your State Officials Know How Important Libraries Are to You!”

For links to resources and other information:

Chapter Activity and Programs

  • Perhaps the best way to find out what Chapters do is to explore their websites, in particular their advocacy efforts on behalf of the libraries within their states and their annual conferences. Start by joining your state library association!
  • Another way to find out how Chapters function is by studying their self-reported activities, either in their newsletters, on their websites (including blogs), or in the annual survey they submit to ALA. This survey is called the State of the Chapter Annual Report. These snapshot reports (All State of the Chapter Reports) help Chapters and ALA assess the health and vitality of state and regional library associations. These reports help highlight notable activities and achievements that can be modeled, and identify challenges and needs that may be addressed collectively.

Chapter Councilors

Chapter Relations Committee/Chapter Relations Office

The Chapter Relations Committee and the Chapter Relations Office work together to provide guidance and assistance to the ALA Chapters. See also Chapter Answers, especially What ALA Does for Chapters.

ALA's role with chapters is overseen by the Chapter Relations Committee, established by the ALA Council upon recommendation of the ALA Executive Board on January 11, 1967, and executed by the Chapter Relations Office, established by the Council in 1979. CRO is headed by a half-time director (also director of the International Relations Office) and staffed with a program officer.

Chapter Relations Committee

The Chapter Relations Committee (CRC):

  • Develops and recognizes Chapters as integral components of ALA (see What Chapters Are);
  • Encourages discussion, activities and programs that support the mutual interests of ALA and the Chapters;
  • Advises when requested on proposals and actions of other ALA units that may affect Chapters;
  • Provides a forum wherein Chapters can share ideas and concerns of common interest and identify common needs and goals;
  • Communicates these Chapter needs and goals to ALA and ALA goals, programs and priorities to the Chapters;
  • Encourages and maintains a cooperative and supportive relationship among ALA, its units, and the Chapters;
  • Formulates and reviews periodically requirements for Chapter status; and
  • Serves as an advisory committee to the Chapter Relations Office.
  • The CRC meets at each ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.
  • Presents the Chapter Leaders Forum each Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference
  • CRC members are subscribed to two CRO business e-lists, crc@ala.org and alacro-l@ala.org

Chapter Relations Office

The Chapter Relations Office (CRO):

Chapters Share with Each Other, and ALA, How They Address Issues Affecting Their Associations

Chapter Issues. Chapters share with each other how they address these issues. Each discussion is sorted alphabetically by state library association (Chapter). See also What Chapters Are, What ALA Does for Chapters (including links to resources), and The ALA and Chapters Partnership, which are pages of answers and explanations about how the ALA and ALA Chapters partnership works.

Communication

  • ALA and Chapters currently use three discussion lists, hosted by ALA for communication (e.g., distributing information of interest not only from ALA but also from other Chapters).
    • The ALACRO-L list subscribers are chapter leaders (presidents, executive directors and staff, chapter councilors), members of the Chapter Relations Committee, CRO staff and some other ALA staff.
    • The Chapter Editors list subscribers are editors of Chapter publications. The information sent to this list is primarily ALA programmatic information for possible inclusion in Chapter newsletters.
    • The Chapcoun list whose subscribers are only Chapter Councilors. The messages sent to this list relate to ALA Council activity, meetings of the Chapter Councilors at meetings.
    • ALA offers an ALA Chapters Facebook page for networking.
    • To help both ALA and Chapters get a better picture of the library associations across the country, each Chapter provides ALA with a "State of the Chapter Annual Report."

Conferences and Events/Chapter Conferences

  • Chapters and ALA currently interact through each others’ conferences in a number of ways:
    • Chapters provide space for an ALA table top display at their conferences and invite ALA leaders and staff to participate and contribute to programming at their conferences. See ALA Chapter Councilors.
    • Some examples of ALA programs that have been offered at Chapter Conferences include the “Advocacy Institute” and “Lawyers for Libraries.”
    • Since ALA and their divisional conferences are located in different states, ALA has created a menu of host and contiguous benefits for the Host Chapters (associations in states where ALA holds its Midwinter and Annual Conferences and Contiguous Chapters (associations in states contiguous to the Host Chapters).
    • The ALA conferences provide the opportunity for Chapter leaders and staff to meet and interact.
    • When the American Library Association drafts its next strategic plan, ALA holds planning forums at Chapter and Affiliates conferences to obtain feedback/input. See ALA 2015 Environmental Scan.
    • ALA leaders and staff are available to participate at Chapter Conferences to provide presentations and programs. Chapters wishing to invite an ALA President, President-elect, or Executive Director may do so directly or through the Chapter Relations Office.
    • ALA leaders have travel budgets to attend conferences. If the Chapter is able to provide some support (complimentary hotel rooms, ticketed meals, etc) that is appreciated. ALA staff also have some resources to travel to do programs and presentations at Chapter Conferences. Please feel free to contact specific staff directly as well.

Crisis Intervention

Please let us know whether any libraries in your states are in danger of being closed, your state is facing tough legislation, etc., and you want to know how the American Library Association can help in any way. Contact the Chapter Relations Offce: Michael Dowling at 312-280-3200 or Don Wood at 312-280-2429, or contact the Office for Library Advocacy: Marci Merola at 312-2880-2431.

Education and Training

  • For 20 years the Chapter Relations Committee has provided the Chapter Leaders Forum, a forum for incoming Chapter leaders at each ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. Each forum usually attracts 20-25 participants. ALA also occasionally provides a program for Chapters on a specific association management area, such as member development, or a program on special events (e.g., Money Smart Week). See The Select ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Schedule for CRO and CRC meetings, events, and programs during these annual conferences.
  • ALA with its credentialing programs for Public Library Management and Support Staff provide an opportunity for Chapters to create courses for these programs.

Helping United States Libraries After Disasters

Helping United States Libraries After Disasters. Please let us know whether any libraries in your states were damaged by the hurricane and whether the American Library Association can help in any way toward recovery. Contact the Chapter Relations Offce: Michael Dowling at 312-280-3200 or Don Wood at 312-280-2429.

Issues: Chapters Share with Each Other and ALA How They Address Issues Affecting Their Associations

Chapter Issues. Chapters share with each other how they address these issues. Each discussion is sorted alphabetically by state library association (Chapter). See also What Chapters Are, What ALA Does for Chapters (including links to resources), and The ALA and Chapters Partnership, which are pages of answers and explanations about how the ALA and ALA Chapters partnership works.

Joint Membership Program

Membership Benefits

  • Chapters pay the lowest organization rate ($150) to be a member of ALA (see ALA and Chapter Relationship).|
  • Each State Chapter selects one of their members to represent the library community in their state on ALA Council.
  • Every Chapter receives a subscription to American Libraries magazine, and 10% discounts on ALA books.
  • Chapters are able to take advantage of service discount programs ALA offers to organization members. The current services are DriveSavers Data Recovery, First National Merchant Services for credit card processing, 4imprint promotional merchandise.
  • Chapters are also able to receive free mailing lists of ALA members in their state or region.
  • ALA has an agreement for use of the Webinar tool OPAL.
  • ALA has an Online Community Space called ALA Connect (at http://connect.ala.org/).
  • Chapters participate in the ALA joint membership program.

Resources for Chapters

See What ALA Does for Chapters, Select Resources

Student Chapters

  • The first ALA Student Chapter was created in 1980 at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The most recent ALA Student Chapter was created in 2009 at Chicago State University. Each Student Chapter has its own character and purpose. ALA Student Chapters enhance students’ ALA membership by providing leadership and programming opportunities on the campuses.
  • Coordinated by the ALA Chapter Relations Office
  • See also ALA Student Chapters Frequently Asked Questions
  • Student Chapter leaders are subscribed to a CRO business e-list, stuchapt@ala.org
  • Each year 40 library students are chosen to assist ALA staff during ALA Annual Conference in the Student-to-Staff Program. In exchange for working about four hours a day, 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. Participants are subscribed to a CRO business e-list, student2staff@ala.org

Social Networking

Facebook logo Find your ALA committees, round tables, other groups; start new communities. Take action for America's libraries. Partial map of USA

Find more social networking resources for Chapters.

See also What ALA Does for Chapters

Summary

A continuing partnership

The relationship between the ALA and the chapters began in 1913 and has changed through the ensuing years. It was not rigidly constructed by its founders; this has enabled the partnership to develop according to the needs of the time.

Part of the partnership's vast potential has been reached, but it is incumbent on both the ALA's leadership and the chapters' leadership to interpret and develop the relationship in terms that meet the needs of all parties. To this end, the Chapter Relations Committee developed a strategic plan, which is included in the preceding section. The relationship between ALA and its chapters has never become static. Flexibility and change will continue to characterize this mutually beneficial partnership.

ALA and the chapters: A mutually advantageous relationship

The following list was developed by the Chapter Relations Committee, and shows the  All of the advantages are reciprocal: that is, both ALA and chapter benefit from each.

  • Chapters contribute to strengthening a national voice on issues facing libraries; ALA, particularly through the washington office, may more confidently speak out on the spectrum of issues with the advice and support of chapters.
  • Clout, a contemporary catchword for power and influence, can be felt in the combined approach of ALA and chapters to library issues, such as intellectual freedom and legislation.
  • Through mechanism of state library associations, the governance of the national association (the ALA council) has the assurance of geographic representation; and through the chapter councilor, chapters have a voice in creating and implementing resolutions and other policy-making decisions of ALA.
  • The chapters may draw upon ALA for specialized consulting and expertise in given areas; ALA may draw together, through the chapters, an overview of diverse approaches to problem solving in the library profession.
  • An official communications flow exists between ALA and the chapters, improving the climate for understanding and cooperative efforts. valuable networks in the profession exist through the state and regional library associations as chapters.
  • Association membership promotion activities are accelerated through the affiliation of ALA and its chapters.
  • Avenues for leadership development through local, regional and national arenas may be followed by ALA and its chapters.
  • Continuing education for librarians can be provided, replicated, and enhanced nationwide through the sharing of ideas, plans, and programs of ALA and its chapters.
  • Chapters and ALA may share more directly and regularly in the development of knowledge and information about chapters and ALA.
  • Programming, necessary for well-informed librarians, is readily accessible through the ALA and its chapters and is enhanced by cooperation between ALA and chapters.
  • ALA, with its chapters, constitutes an invaluable pr effort for libraries, keeping before the american public the essential role of libraries in providing the access to information resources that is so critical a foundation to our society.
  • Chapters, with ALA, can readily enter into joint ventures through carefully planned and mutually beneficial agreements.