Background Reading for ALA Civics Class

I’m still putting together our first class materials (actually, @thearystocrat is doing the heaviest, but awesomest, lifting for some of it), so here are some background materials for you to go over in the meantime.

Here’s the official 2011 ALA Organizational Chart (47.3Kb PDF). You can see the typical silos-like structure that org charts are meant to show, but I think of it as a representation of how staff and dues are organized.

After you look at the official org chart, take a look at the informal one that Mary Ghikas created a few years ago. It’s more of a representation of the interactions between various pieces of ALA. I think it illustrates why we’re having Civics class in the first place – there’s a lot going on there. Did I mention that ALA is 134 years old?

You’ll need help decoding acronyms as we go through class, so keep this link to the list of ALA & LIS Acronyms handy. And of course, “LIS” stands for “Library and Information Science Studies.” Γ‚Β πŸ˜‰

Although we’re going to take a different approach, ALA member Michael Golrick took a stab at ALA 101 in 2010. You can get a head start on a few of the things we’ll cover by reading through his posts.

If you’re really brave, you can look through the ALA Constitution and Bylaws or try virtually thumbing through the Handbook of Organization, where you’ll find listings for things like the Committee on Committees and the Committee on Organization. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, they’re actually useful and necessary. And double yes, we’ll talk about why later on. True policy wonks can dive into the ALA Policy Manual.

Technically, you don’t need to read any of this ahead of time, although we’ll reference some material from the Bylaws and the Handbook down the road. This is just background info as we gear up.

You should, though, take a break and watch The Wheel of Confusion video we did a few years ago to poke some fun at all of this. Keep score and see how well you do playing along.

5 Responses to “Background Reading for ALA Civics Class”

  1. Karen O'Brien Says:

    Where ALA is concerned, LIS refers to Library and Information Studies (not Science) as in the ALA Council adopted Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. Of course it’s different for ALISE (Assoc for Library and Information Science Education) which adopted Science instead. Just sayin’… πŸ˜‰


  2. Jenny Says:

    Thanks, Karen – I stand corrected. Fixing that now…. πŸ™‚

    For those of you who feel overwhelmed by ALA, I’m still learning something new every day!


  3. Karen O'Brien Says:

    Just another bit of ALA arcanity to relish


  4. Louise Gruenberg Says:

    Here’s a great piece of work to explore, produced by one of our very own 2010 Emerging Leaders Groups:


  5. Professional association memberships – the greater good - Web Kunoichi Says:

    […] Several people cited “greater good”-related reasons for not joining, as well: distrust, ineffectiveness, and a lack of alignment with personal values came up, especially for ALA. (Insert my rant about an association for libraries instead of an association for librarians.) The lack of trust is hard to fight, in ALA’s case, because such a large organization can make every possible effort to be transparent and still remain incomprehensible, due to its complexity. […]

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