A.10 Relationships to Other Organizations (Old Number 9)

A.10.1 The Use of ALA’s Name and Formal Relationships (Old Number 9.1)

The American Library Association is a non-profit organization operated in the interest of libraries and to promote library service and membership.

All ALA units are responsible to Council which determines policies. Council’s actions, however, may be overset by the membership. Therefore, primarily and ultimately the responsibility for the use of the American Library Association name rests with the aggregate membership.

The Association is governed by Council and administered by the Executive Board, which in its role as central management board, appoints the executive director, who is in charge of headquarters and its personnel.

The executive director delegates authority within ALA headquarters to ALA’s department heads, who, in carrying out their assigned duties, are called upon to use ALA’s name and, in that name, to commit the Association to programs, activities, and binding agreements.

The American Library Association’s Executive Board, divisions, executive director, and department heads (consisting of the associate executive directors for the Washington Office, Communications, Finance, Member Programs and Services, Publishing, and Staff Support Services) who must use ALA’s name in executing their responsibilities or in entering into formal relationships with other organizations abide by stated ALA policies and principles. A formal relationship is an arrangement with another non-profit organization if (a) the other organization is an affiliate of ALA (as defined in 10.3 below); (b) ALA has appointed an official representative to the other organization (as defined in 10.4); and/or (c) the other organization is permitted to use the name of ALA or an ALA unit other than as identification of the provider of information services.

  1. ALA’s primary objective for entering into formal relationships with other organizations and business enterprises should be:
    1. To help the Association achieve its mission to promote and improve library and information services and librarianship, or to assist libraries in achieving their mission.
    2. To fulfill a specific need related to current ALA goals and objectives or to contribute in a significant way to the cooperating organization while using ALA’s name and its resources effectively.
    3. To benefit as much as possible from a reciprocal relationship in the form of finances, expertise, experience, public relations, or other advantages.
  2. Formal relationships should be entered into with other organizations and business enterprises whose strength and reputation have been evaluated.
  3. Formal relationships should be based on the following criteria:
    1. The relationship is, as much as possible, reciprocal in that there are mutual needs and a sharing of purposes.
    2. The structure and level of the relationship represents the best method of accomplishing the purpose or meeting the need.
    3. The appropriate personnel are available and the time and talent are being or will be used effectively.
    4. Costs in time and money are justified by the results.
    5. Useful reporting devices are designed and used.
    6. The need for the relationship is evaluated periodically.
  4. Formal relationships which permit the other organization to use the name ALA or ALA Unit, other than to identify the provider of information or services, must be based on a written agreement pursuant to which ALA retains control of the use of its name or the unit’s name.
  5. Formal relationships with other organizations or business enterprises do not necessarily imply ALA endorsement of their policies, products, or services.
  6. None of the American Library Association’s published reports, findings, etc., shall be circulated under the imprint of the cooperating agency without the permission of the Association. The ALA Publishing Committee shall control the use of the ALA imprint.

While endorsements, or boycotts, by the American Library Association are not explicitly authorized in the Constitution and Bylaws, implicit authorization can be derived from the Constitution, Article VI (a) and (b).

Commendations honoring outstanding efforts of an individual, institution, or organization may be issued in the name of the Association by Council or units designated by Council through a formal resolution. (See Policy Manual 4.2.3(6): Memorial resolutions, tributes, and testimonials.)


A.10.2 Affiliation with other Organizations (Old Number 9.2)

Criteria have been established to guide the Council in considering applications for affiliation with ALA of national and international organizations which must: be not for profit; have interests consistent with those of ALA; have sufficiently large membership and length of existence to ensure continued support under constitutions and bylaws not in conflict with ALA and its policies; and do not discriminate in membership on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disabilities, or national origin. 

(See “Policy Reference File” for full text of ALA Guidelines for Affiliate Membership - PDF, 5 pgs)


A.10.3 Definition of Affiliate (Old Number 9.3)

An affiliate is a group having purpose or interests similar to those of the Association or its Divisions/Round Table which has made successful formal application for affiliate status to Council (national and international group) or Division/Round Table (local, state or regional groups.) No subdivision of the Association may separately affiliate itself with an organization with which ALA as a whole is affiliated.

(See "Policy Reference File" for full text- ALA CD# 19.1 Revised - PDF, 2pgs).



A.10.4 Representatives (Old Number 9.4)


A.10.4.1 Formal Relationships (Old Number 9.4.1)

Official representatives to outside organizations serve either at the request of Council or at the direct request of an ALA unit whose approved budget includes membership dues and whose representative plays an active role in the governance or affairs of the outside organization. Official representatives participate in meetings or in the establishment of Councils, joint committees and other groups, which work together in activities of mutual interest.

Should an outside organization request an official representative from the Association, or should an outside organization submit a request to send an official representative to the Association, the request goes to the Executive Board and Council. If approved by Council, the Committee on Organization identifies the appropriate ALA unit and makes a unit recommendation to the Executive Board.

An official representative to an outside organization is an ALA member who is appointed to an outside organization at the request of Council or an ALA unit. An official representative from an outside organization must be a personal member of the ALA.

A representative to another ALA unit is an appointed member of an ALA unit whose duties include attending meetings of other ALA units for such purposes as communication or information dissemination.


A.10.4.2 Informal Relationships (Old Number 9.4.2)

Members of ALA or one of its units may be appointed to provide service, information, or to network with organizations outside the association for the purpose of accomplishing mutual goals. Such representatives have no formal role in the governing structure of the other unit or organization and the appointment of such representatives does not, in and of itself, constitute a “formal relationship” or an “affiliation” as defined in A.10.1-A.10.3.


A.10.5 Relationships with Organizations Violating Human Rights (Old Number 9.5)

The American Library Association shall have no affiliation with, memberships in, or formal relationships with organizations which violate ALA principles and commitments to human rights and social justice as set forth in ALA’s policies, procedures, and position statements and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.