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Association of College and Research Libraries

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals. It is dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic library and information professionals to serve the information needs of the higher education community and to improving learning, teaching, and research. ACRL serves librarians in all types of academic libraries at the community college, college, and university level and also serves librarians that work in comprehensive and specialized research libraries.

Association of College and Research Libraries
Purpose Professional library association
Headquarters Chicago, IL
Executive Director
Mary Ellen K. Davis
Website Association of College and Research Libraries

ACRL is the largest division of ALA. ACRL currently has a membership of approximately 12,000, accounting for nearly 20% of the total ALA membership. ACRL provides a broad range of professional services and programs for a diverse membership.[1]

The Association publishes an open access journal, College & Research Libraries.



ACRL has its roots as the College Library Section section of ALA which was which first met in 1890, attended by 15 librarians representing major colleges located on the east coast of the United States.[2] In 1897 the section was renamed the College and Reference Library Section in recognition of the participation of reference librarians. In 1923, the section established bylaws and began charging dues.[2] In 1938, the section adopted new bylaws which moved the section to the Association of College and Reference Libraries which allowed for more autonomy and for the creation of subsections for college and junior college libraries, teachers college libraries, university libraries, and others.[2] In 1940, ACRL became ALA's first division. In 1956, when the Library Reference Services Division was established as a separate ALA division, ACRL changed the "Research" to "Reference" in its name and became the Association of College and Research Libraries.[2] In 1978, they held their first standalone conference.[3]


ACRL supports seventeen sections:

  • African American Studies Librarians Section
  • Anthropology and Sociology Section
  • Arts Section
  • Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Section
  • College Libraries Section
  • Community and Junior College Libraries Section
  • Distance Learning Section
  • Education and Behavioral Sciences Section
  • Instruction Section
  • Law and Political Science Section
  • Literatures in English Section
  • Rare Books and Manuscripts Section
  • Science and Technology Section
  • Slavic and East European Section
  • University Libraries Section
  • Western European Studies Section
  • Women and Gender Studies Section


ACRL issues a number of awards annually to honor academic and research librarians for significant achievements. These awards include a citation, and in some cases also a cash award.

  • Academic/Research Librarian of the Year
  • Excellence in Academic Libraries Awards
  • Hugh C. Atkinson Memorial Award
  • CLS Innovation in College Librarianship Award
  • CJCLS EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Award
  • CJCLS EBSCO Community College Library Achievement Award
  • Routledge Distance Learning Librarianship Conference Sponsorship Award
  • EBSS Distinguished Education and Behavioral Sciences Librarian Award
  • Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award
  • Instruction Section Innovation Award
  • LPSS Marta Lange/SAGE-CQ Press Award
  • STS Innovation in Science and Technology Librarianship Award
  • WGSS Career Achievement in Women & Gender Studies Librarianship Award
  • WGSS Significant Achievement in Women & Gender Studies Librarianship Award

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About ACRL | Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)". Retrieved 2015-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. 1 (3rd ed.). New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 2010. 
  3. ^ Demeter, Michelle (June 2015). "ACRL in the 1970s: Organizational identity, social change, and technological advancement". College & Research Libraries News. 76 (6): 334–5. 

External linksEdit