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Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)[1] is a division of the American Library Association (ALA), which is the oldest and largest library association in the world.[2] In the ALA elections of 2018, the name was voted to be changed to Association of Specialized, Government, and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA) to implement the merger with the former Federal and Armed Forces Librarians Round Table.[3] [4]

Association Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)
ASCLA logo RBG 3.jpg
Purpose Professional library association
Headquarters Chicago, IL
Website [2]



ASCLA: Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies

In 1977 two ALA divisions, the American Association of State Library Agencies (founded in 1957) and the Health and Rehabilitative Library Services Division (founded in 1956 as the Association of Hospital and Institution Libraries) merged and took on the name ASCLA. The independent librarians joined ASCLA in 1998 when their ALA round table, Independent Librarians’ Exchange Round Table (ILERT), voted to merge with the division. In the election of 2017, the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table (FAFLRT) voted to merge into ASCLA. That merger will take place during 2017/18 and will be complete on August 31, 2018 (the end of ALA's fiscal year).

The Association of Hospital and Institution Libraries included the former Division of Hospital Libraries and the former Institution Libraries Committee. The Division of Hospital Libraries was established by Council in 1944, following a petition by 300 ALA members. The Division replaced the Hospital Libraries Round Table, and formed the beginnings of the new division, which was authorized by Council in June 1956.

The State Library Agencies Division became a division of ALA on January 1, 1957. It was created out of the Committee on State Library Agencies. The Committee on State Library Agencies had been established by the Executive Board, January 1950, with a charge to "outline a proposal for a study of state library agencies as a basis for setting standards and strengthening services." The officers of the National Association of State Libraries constituted the Organizing Committee of the State Library Agencies Division.

In 1958 the National Association of State Libraries, founded in 1889, disbanded. [5] Its membership merged with that of the American Association of State Libraries (AASL), a division of ALA since January 1, 1957. [6] The State Library Agencies Division (SLAD) was founded on January 1, 1957 [7] and in 1958 SLAD merged with the AASL[8] to become the State Library Agency Division[9] and AASL changed its title to the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA).[10])

ASCLA is responsible for functions pertaining to library services performed by state library agencies, specialized library agencies, and mutitype library cooperatives. It has the specific responsibility for:

  1. Synthesis of appropriate ALA unit activities with the development and evaluation of programs which extend and improve user services in state and specialized libraries and multitype library cooperatives.
  2. Representation and interpretation of the roles, functions, and services of these types of libraries within and outside the profession.
  3. Development of policies, studies, and activities relative to government funding, grants and appropriations, and inter-governmental relationships in matters which affect these types of libraries, coordinated with appropriate ALA unit archives.
  4. Establishment, evaluation, and promotion of standards.
  5. Identification of user needs, and the creation and promotion of services to meet those needs.
  6. Stimulation of the development and participation in appropriate type-of-activity divisions of librarians engaged in these types of libraries.
  7. Coordination of the activities of ALA units which have a bearing on the concerns of this association.
  8. Granting recognition for outstanding library service enacted.
  9. Disseminating information and stimulating publishing and research.

ASCLA is governed by an Executive Committee and a Board. The Executive Committee includes the president, the vice-president/president-elect, the secretary, the past-president, and the ALA divisional councilor. The executive committee is responsible for management of the Association between Annual and Midwinter meetings of ALA. The Association executive director is an ex officio member of the Executive Committee. All decisions of the Executive Committee are reported to the Board of Directors.[11]

The Board of Directors consists of the officers, the ALA divisional councilor, and eight directors, five of whom are designated directors. The five (5) designated directors represent the types of library organizations and agencies: state library agencies (1), library agencies and individuals who serve special populations (2), library cooperatives (1), and independent librarians (1). The executive director and the editor of the Association publication serve as ex officio non-voting members of the Board. Other non-voting members may be appointed by the president, with approval of the Board of Directors.


ASCLA has the following committees:[12]

  • Accessibility Assembly
  • Awards Committee
  • Board of Directors
  • Conference Programming Committee
  • Executive Committee
  • Finance and Planning Committee
  • Guidelines for Library & Information Services for the American Deaf Community
  • Interest Group Coordinating Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Nominating Committee
  • Online Learning Committee
  • President's Program Planning Committee
  • Publications Committee [currently inactive]
  • Web Presence Committee

Interest GroupsEdit

ASCLA Interest Groups[13] are virtual groups hosted on ALA Connect, the active online member community site of ALA. Each community comes together to share knowledge and enthusiasm for a specific subject and makes valuable contributions to ASCLA and its core interests of strengthening the usefulness, efficiency and services of:

  • Library agencies and individuals which provide library materials and service to populations with special needs, such as those with sensory, physical, health or behavioral conditions or those who are incarcerated or detained
  • State library agencies, which are state organizations created to promote library services in the state through a variety of library services
  • Library cooperatives, which are combinations, mergers, or contractual associations of one or more types of libraries
  • Independent librarians who work outside of traditional library settings

List of ASCLA Interest GroupsEdit

  • Alzheimer's & Related Dementias Interest Group
  • Bridging Deaf Cultures @ your library Interest Group
  • Collaborative Digitization Interest Group
  • Consortial eBooks Interest Group
  • Consortium Management Discussion Interest Group
  • Consumer Health Information Librarians Interest Group
  • Future of Libraries Interest Group
  • Interlibrary Cooperation Interest Group
  • Library Consultants Interest Group
  • Library Services to the Incarcerated and Detained
  • Library Services to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities that Prevent Them from Reading Standard Print Interest Group
  • Library Services for Youth in Custody
  • LSTA Coordinators Interest Group
  • Physical Delivery Interest Group
  • State Library Agencies – Library Development Interest Group
  • Tribal Librarians Interest Group
  • Universal Access Interest Group
  • Youth Services Consultants Interest Group


The archives of ASCLA are in the archives of the American Library Association, housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ American Library Association, [1], "American Library Association", 2017
  3. ^ "2018 Election Results". ASCLA Direct. 2018-04-11. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  4. ^ "Bylaws Changes - ASCLA Election 2018" (PDF). February 2018.
  5. ^ ALA Bulletin, December 1958, p. 886
  6. ^ ALA Bulletin, December 1958, p. 842
  7. ^ ALA Bulletin, December 1957, p. 868
  8. ^ ALA Bulletin, March 1958, p. 172
  9. ^ ALA Handbook of Organization, 1979-80, p. 37 in 1977-78
  10. ^ ALA Handbook of Organization, 1979-80, p. 31 in 1977-78
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^