Libraries have one of the longest and most important histories in the world. Dating back many centuries, these institutions have always been valued for their devotion to promoting knowledge, information, and education. They not only help provide education for the future but they help to maintain a strong link to the past by archiving millions of different pieces of information and documents that are important to hold on to. And while there are libraries scattered throughout the world of all sizes and focused on all different things, the fact is that there are also many associations related to the library field. Taking a closer look at these is very important for all new librarians since they’ll have a big impact on various aspects of one’s career.
Here are some of the main associations that new librarians need to familiarize themselves with.
- American Library Association – This is the primary association that needs to be learned about. It is devoted to helping improve the overall field of librarianship in a variety of different ways. It publishes a newsletter as well as a news magazine, and is located at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There are also several subgroups of the ALA, some of which are referenced below.
- Library Associates – This group has been around since 1986 and is focused on offering professional level support for libraries around the nation of all sizes. It offers things like staffing services, consulting, processing, cataloging, and more and is regularly relied on for its quality work and its devotion to helping libraries.
- American Association of School Librarians – Also called the AASL, this is a subdivision of the ALA. As its name suggests, it provides references and resources to school libraries around the country. The organization works to help through things like grants, online courses, Q and A services, and more. It’s the best resource for school libraries of any size and helps to improve library media services in these libraries.
- Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) – This is another division of the ALA and it focuses on helping enhance the services and capabilities of research libraries and university based academic libraries. This group releases a regular newsletter and also provides numerous resources that libraries can use to enhance their services significantly.
- Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) – Yet another subdivisions of the ALA, LITA is focused on helping to integrate information technology into the library world. The organization makes it much easier for libraries to utilize the latest technologies to enhance their overall level of service to patrons.
- Public Library Association (PLA) – This group is committed to improving the effectiveness of public libraries and helping boost the skillset of public librarians. It offers communication, education, advocacy, and other resources and also publishes the Public Libraries Magazine.
- Association of Research Libraries (ARL) – This is the official association for research libraries, and it provides information, career resources, publications, and more to help enhance the overall effectiveness of research libraries of all sizes and types.
- American Theological Library Association (ATLA) – This group has more than 650 professional members. It’s focused on religious or theological fields and libraries related to those subjects. The group helps to provide services to its members and enhance their ability to offer information to patrons.
- Music Library Association (MLA) – The MLA is just what it sounds like and is an organization that focuses on providing support services to libraries that host music materials. Many libraries have large collections of sheet music as well as recordings, and this group helps oversee these types of items.
- North American Sport Library Network (NASLIN) – This group’s overall goal is to help foster strong resource sharing and communication among all sports librarians and libraries and to help communicate with various related organizations.
- American Society for Information Sciences (ASIS) – While not technically a library association, the ASIS is vital for libraries due to the increasing reliance of information technology in the librarianship field. It helps provide information on techniques, theories, and technologies that can improve libraries and their ability to access and offer information.
- United for Libraries – This organization is made up of more than 2,000 member groups. It focuses on helping to teach local communities around the country with developing ‘Friends of the Library’ type organizations that will raise funds to help local libraries as well as promote the overall importance of these historic institutions.
Nothing operates in a vacuum, and this is true of libraries as well. This list of 12 organizations should help highlight just how many different groups are out there committed to helping enhance the overall effectiveness of libraries around the nation. It’s actually just a short, partial list, and many additional groups do exist. Those entering the librarianship field will want to become familiar with the many different groups out there committed to helping libraries.