Thursday, November 12, 2009

The American Library Association

The ALA, American Library Institution, is an important resource for teachers, parents, and librarians across the country. The ALA is largest and oldest library organization in the world, founded in Philadelphia in 1876. Currently, this association has over 67,000 members, including school, government, academic, business, and historical library staff. There are different degrees of membership: student, personal, organizational, and corporate. The ALA promotes librarianship and library service by adhering to its mission: “To provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” This will be achieved through seven key action areas: diversity, equitable access to services, education and lifelong learning, advocacy for libraries and librarians, intellectual freedom, organizational excellence, and literacy. The ALA consists of a variety of divisions, based on various specialties and interests in the library science field. Some include the Assn. of College and Research Libraries, American Association of School Librarians, Reference and User services Assn, Library and Information Technology Assn, and Assn. of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies. The ALA’s next national meeting, which is open to all prospective members, will occur January 15-19th in Boston. On January 18th, the conference will release the names of the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals.

The most useful element of the ALA site for undergraduate students is its list of accredited programs in library science. The following link will take you to an interactive google map with all of the accredited programs in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.,-93.515625&spn=89.94393,163.125&z=3

Some of the accredited masters programs near The College of New Jersey Include Rutgers University, University of Pittsburgh, University at Albany SUNY, Long Island University, Syracuse University, Catholic University of America, and Southern Connecticut State University. The ALA page includes admissions information, types of degrees offered, financial aid statistics, and links to the individual University’s department pages. Once a student is accepted into a masters or doctorate program, he or she is able to join a student chapter of the ALA. This provides many benefits for networking, learning, and teaching.
Later in the week, I will be exploring various degree programs at the accredited institutions mention above to determine what classes I will be taking and what materials I will be studying as a graduate student in library and information technology.

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