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54.1 Library and Information Studies and Human Resource Utilization: A Statement of Policy

To meet the goals of library service, both professional and supportive staff are needed in libraries. Thus, the library occupation is much broader than that segment of it which is the library profession, but the library profession has responsibility for defining the training and education required for the preparation of personnel who work in libraries at any level, supportive or professional.

Skills other than those of librarianship also have an important contribution to make to the achievement of superior library service. There should be equal recognition in both the professional and supportive ranks for those individuals whose expertise contributes to the effective performance of the library.

The title 'Librarian' carries with it the connotation of 'professional' in the sense that professional tasks are those which require a special background and education.

(See "Current Reference File": ALA Library and Information Studies Education and Human Resource Utilization: A Statement of Policy 2001-2002 CD#3)

54.2 Librarians: Appropriate Degrees

The master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master's level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country) is the appropriate professional degree for librarians.

(See "Current Reference File": Historical Note on the Use of Terminology Pertaining to Degree Programs Accredited by the American Library Association.)

54.2.1 Academic Librarians

The master's degree in library science from a library school program accredited by the American Library Association is the appropriate terminal professional degree for academic librarians.

54.2.2 School Library Media Specialists

The master's degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master's degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education is the appropriate first professional degree for school library media specialists. (Adopted July 6, 1988, by ALA Council.)

54.3 Equal Employment Opportunity

The American Library Association is committed to equality of opportunity for all library employees or applicants for employment, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, individual life-style, or national origin; and believes that hiring individuals with disabilities in all types of libraries is consistent with good personnel and management practices. Key factors in the selection of library personnel are training, knowledge, job interest, and the particular physical or mental abilities to do a specific job. Modification of the work environment should be considered if necessary to assist an individual in performing the job.

(See "Current Reference File": ALA Equal Employment Opportunity Policy: A Public Policy Statement on Employment; also, Employment of the Handicapped.)

54.3.1 Affirmative Action Plans

Member libraries and library schools with 15 or more staff shall formulate written affirmative action plans and shall submit these plans to HRDR for review.

54.3.2 Library Services for People with Disabilities

The American Library Association recognizes that people with disabilities are a large and neglected minority in the community and are severely underrepresented in the library profession. Disabilities cause many personal challenges. In addition, many people with disabilities face economic inequity, illiteracy, cultural isolation, and discrimination in education, employment and the broad range of societal activities.

Libraries play a catalytic role in the lives of people with disabilities by facilitating their full participation in society. Libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people.

ALA, through its divisions, offices and units and through collaborations with outside associations and agencies is dedicated to eradicating inequities and improving attitudes toward and services and opportunities for people with disabilities.

For the purposes of this policy, 'must' means 'mandated by law and/or within ALA's control' and 'should' means 'it is strongly recommended that libraries make every effort to.' Please see for the complete text of the policy, which includes explanatory examples.

  1. The Scope of Disability Law

    Providing equitable access for persons with disabilities to library facilities and services is required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, applicable state and local statutes and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

  2. Library Services

    Libraries must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities and shall ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to library resources.

    Libraries should include persons with disabilities as participants in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of library services, programs, and facilities.

  3. Facilities

    The ADA requires that both architectural barriers in existing facilities and communication barriers that are structural in nature be removed as long as such removal is 'readily achievable.' (i.e., easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.)

  4. Collections

    Library materials must be accessible to all patrons including people with disabilities. Materials must be available to individuals with disabilities in a variety of formats and with accommodations, as long as the modified formats and accommodations are 'reasonable,' do not 'fundamentally alter' the library's services, and do not place an 'undue burden' on the library.

    Within the framework of the library's mission and collection policies, public, school, and academic library collections should include materials with accurate and up-to-date information on the spectrum of disabilities, disability issues, and services for people with disabilities, their families, and other concerned persons.

  5. Assistive Technology

    Well-planned technological solutions and access points, based on the concepts of universal design, are essential for effective use of information and other library services by all people. Libraries should work with people with disabilities, agencies, organizations and vendors to integrate assistive technology into their facilities and services to meet the needs of people with a broad range of disabilities, including learning, mobility, sensory and developmental disabilities. Library staff should be aware of how available technologies address disabilities and know how to assist all users with library technology.

  6. Employment

    ALA must work with employers in the public and private sectors to recruit people with disabilities into the library profession, first into library schools and then into employment at all levels within the profession.

    Libraries must provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities unless the library can show that the accommodations would impose an 'undue hardship' on its operations. Libraries must also ensure that their policies and procedures are consistent with the ADA and other laws.

  7. Library Education, Training and Professional Development

    All graduate programs in library and information studies should require students to learn about accessibility issues, assistive technology, the needs of people with disabilities both as users and employees, and laws applicable to the rights of people with disabilities as they impact library services.

    Libraries should provide training opportunities for all library employees and volunteers in order to sensitize them to issues affecting people with disabilities and to teach effective techniques for providing services for users with disabilities and for working with colleagues with disabilities.

  8. ALA Conferences

    ALA conferences held at facilities that are 'public accommodations' (e.g. hotels and convention centers) must be accessible to participants with disabilities.

    The association and its staff, members, exhibitors, and hospitality industry agents must consider the needs of conference participants with disabilities in the selection, planning, and layout of all conference facilities, especially meeting rooms and exhibit areas. The ALA Conference Services Office and division offices offering conferences must make every effort to provide accessible accommodations as requested by individuals with special needs or alternative accessible arrangements must be made.

    Conference programs and meetings focusing on the needs of, services to, or of particular interest to people with disabilities should have priority for central meeting locations in the convention/conference center or official conference hotels.

  9. ALA Publications and Communications

    All ALA publications, including books, journals, and correspondence, must be available in alternative formats including electronic text. The ALA Web site must conform to the currently accepted guidelines for accessibility, such as those issued by the World Wide Web Consortium.

    (See "Current Reference File": Library Services for People with Disabilities Policy, 2000-2001 CD#24)

54.4 Comparable Rewards

The American Library Association supports salary administration which gives reasonable and comparable recognition to positions having administrative, technical, subject, and linguistic requirements. It is recognized that all such specialist competencies can be intellectually vigorous and meet demanding professional operational needs. In administering such a policy, it can be a useful guide that, in major libraries, as many nonadministrative specialties be assigned to the top classifications as are administrative staff. Whenever possible there should be as many at the top rank with less than 30 percent administrative load as there are at the highest rank carrying over 70 percent administrative load.

54.5 Faculty Status of College and University Librarians

The intellectual contributions made by academic librarians to the teaching, research, and service mission of their colleges and universities merit the granting of faculty status. Faculty status for librarians should entail the same rights and responsibilities granted to and required of other members of the faculty.

54.6 Fair Employment Practices in Libraries and Among Suppliers to Libraries

The American Library Association Council instructs the Library Administration and Management Association to:
  1. Guide libraries in the process of soliciting fair employment practice information from suppliers.
  2. Advise libraries on the enforcement of fair employment practice laws in their employment practices and policies.
  3. Submit an annual report to Association membership on the status of such actions.

54.7 Security of Employment for Library Employees

Security of employment means that, following the satisfactory completion of a probationary period, the employment of a library employee under permanent appointment* carries with it an institutional commitment to continuous employment. Job competence, in accordance with the aims and objectives of the library, should be the criterion for acceptable performance for a library employee with permanent appointment. Library employees shall not be terminated without adequate cause and then only after being accorded due process.

*Permanent appointment in different types of libraries is variously called tenure, continuous appointment, career service, regular contract, etc.

Employing anyone for successive, limited periods with the intent to avoid the granting of permanent appointment is deemed unethical.

Security of employment, as an elementary right, guarantees specifically:

  1. 1) Intellectual freedom, defined as freedom to assume the responsibility placed upon a person by a democratic society to educate oneself and to improve one's ability to participate usefully in activities in which one is involved as a citizen of the United States and of the world, and institutional adherence to the Library Bill of Rights.
  2. 2) Appointments and promotions based solely on merit without interference from political, economic, religious, or other groups.
  3. 3) A sufficient degree of economic security to make employment in the library attractive to men and women of ability.
  4. 4) The opportunity for the library employee to work without fear of undue interference or dismissal and freedom from discharge for racial, political, religious, or other unjust reasons.

54.8 The Library's Pay Plan

Libraries should have a well-constructed and well-administered pay plan based on systematic analysis and evaluation of jobs in the library and which will assure equal pay for equal work.

(See "Current Reference File": The Library's Pay Plan: A Public Policy Statement.)

54.9 Permanent Part-Time Employment

The right to earn a living includes a right to part-time employment on a par with full-time employment, including prorated pay and fringe benefits, opportunity for advancement and protection of tenure, access to middle- and upper-level jobs, and exercise of full responsibilities at any level.

ALA shall create more voluntarily chosen upgraded permanent part-time jobs in its own organization and supports similar action on the part of all libraries.

54.10 Equal Opportunity and Salaries

The American Library Association supports and works for the achievement of equal salaries and opportunity for employment and promotion for men and women.

The Association fully supports the concept of comparable wages for comparable work that aims at levels of pay for female-oriented occupations equal to those of male-oriented occupations; ALA therefore supports all legal and legislative efforts to achieve wages for library workers commensurate with wages in other occupations with similar qualifications, training, and responsibilities.

ALA particularly supports the efforts of those library workers who have documented, and are legally challenging, the practice of discriminatory salaries, and whose success will benefit all library workers throughout the nation.

54.11 Collective Bargaining

The American Library Association recognizes the principle of collective bargaining as one of the methods of conducting labor-management relations used by private and public institutions. The Association affirms the right of eligible library employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, or to refrain from organizing and bargaining collectively, without fear of reprisal.

(See "Current Reference File": Collective Bargaining, Statement of Guidelines.)

54.12 Residency and Citizenship Requirements

The American Library Association is opposed to any rule, regulation or practice, imposed as a condition of new or continued employment in any library, a requirement of residence or U.S. citizenship except where a demonstrable danger to national security is involved.

54.13 Drug Testing

The American Library Association opposes mandatory drug testing of library employees and advocates employee assistance programs as the best way for library employers to respond to performance deficiencies due to drug use.

(See "Current Reference File": 1987-88 CD #61.)

54.14 Information and Referral Services

ALA provides, through its offices, divisions, round tables, and committees, information and referral services regarding tenure, status, fair employment practices (including discrimination and sexual harrassment), and the principles of intellectual freedom as set forth in policies adopted by Council.

54.15 Institutional Support of ALA Members to Attend ALA Conferences

The American Library Association supports the principle of giving preference, in libraries, to members of ALA in providing financial support and administrative leave to attend ALA Conferences. ALA supports encouraging staff in both administrative and non-administrative positions in libraries to attend the annual ALA Conference.

54.16 On Professional Ethics

As members of the American Library Association, we recognize the importance of codifying and making known to the profession and to the general public the ethical principles that guide the work of librarians, other professionals providing information services, library trustees, and library staffs.

Ethical dilemmas occur when values are in conflict. The American Library Association Code of Ethics states the values to which we are committed, and embodies the ethical responsibilities of the profession in this changing information environment.

We significantly influence or control the selection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information. In a political system grounded in an informed citizenry, we are members of a profession explicitly committed to intellectual freedom and the freedom of access to information. We have a special obligation to ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations.

The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

  1. We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests.

  2. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.
  3. We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
  4. We recognize and respect intellectual property rights.
  5. We treat co-workers and other colleagues with respect, fairness, and good faith, and advocate conditions of employment that safeguard the rights and welfare of all employees of our institutions.
  6. We do not advance private interests at the expense of library users, colleagues, or our employing institutions.
  7. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.
  8. We strive for excellence in the profession by maintaining and enhancing our own knowledge and skills, by encouraging the professional development of co-workers, and by fostering the aspirations of potential members of the profession. Adopted by the ALA Council, June 28, 1995

54.17 Gay Rights

The American Library Association Council reaffirms its support for equal employment opportunity for gay librarians and library workers. The Council recommends that libraries reaffirm their obligation under the Library Bill of Rights to disseminate information representing all points of view on this topic.

(See also 54.3.)

54.18 Advertising Salary Ranges

Available salary ranges shall be given for positions listed in any placement services provided by ALA and its units. A regional salary guide delineating the latest minimum salary figures recommended by state library associations shall be made available from any placement services provided by ALA and its units.

All ALA and unit publications printing classified job advertisements shall list the salary ranges established for open positions where available and shall include a regional salary guide delineating the latest minimum salary figures recommended by state library associations for library positions.

54.19 Reproduction of Noncommercial Educational and Scholarly Journals

ALA encourages authors writing primarily for purposes of educational advancement and scholarship to reserve to themselves licensing and reproduction rights to their own works in the publishing contracts they sign.

ALA, in cooperation with other educational organizations, urges publishers to adopt and include in their journals or similar publications a notice of a policy for the noncommercial reproduction of their materials for educational and scholarly purposes.

54.20 AIDS Screening

The American Library Association opposes mandatory AIDS screening of library employees and advocates employee assistance programs as the best way for library employers to respond to performance deficiencies related to [such illness as] AIDS and AIDS-Related Complex (ARC).

(See "Current Reference File": 1988-89 CD #22.)



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