ALA Council Adopts Revised Standards for Accreditation

Contact: Laura Dare

Program Officer, ALA Office for Accreditation


For Immediate Release,

January 22, 2008

ALA Council Adopts Revised Standards for Accreditation

CHICAGO - The Council of the American Library Association (ALA) adopted a revision of the Standards for Accreditation of Master's Programs in Library and Information Studies, 1992, on Jan. 15 at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

The revision places stronger emphasis on systematic planning, student learning outcomes, assessment and diversity, tying the Standards directly to ALA policies 60 and 60.5 on diversity. Policy 60 specifies that ALA "promotes equal access to information for all..." and that "ALA recognizes the critical need..." for "those who may experience language or literacy-related barriers; economic distress; cultural or social isolation; physical or attitudinal barriers; racism; discrimination on the basis of appearance, ethnicity, immigrant status, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression; or barriers to equal education, employment, and housing...." Policy 60.5, Library Education to Meet the Needs of a Diverse Society, specifies that the Committee on Accreditation "will encourage graduate library and information science programs seeking accreditation or re-accreditation to ensure that their student bodies, faculties, and curricula reflect the diverse histories and information needs of all people in the United States. Collaboration between these programs and local libraries and community-based organizations serving diverse populations is to be particularly encouraged." The revision is the result of a five-year review process that included two periods of comment collection, analysis and discussion.

The revision was prepared and brought to the council by the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA), which is charged by the ALA "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," as stated in the ALA Handbook of Organization 2007-2008.

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 ALA COA as a reliable authority to determine the quality of education offered by graduate programs in the field of library and information studies.