ILA Chapter of ACRL

As ILA Academic and Special Libraries Division members know, a move begun in recent years to create a state chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Previous division leaders Kim Leeder and Jenny Semenza began exploring the possibility of applying for chapter membership during their involvement with the division.  A survey of Idaho academic librarians indicated enough interest in chapter creation to pursue the matter. Recently, a letter detailing the some possible options for creating a chapter was sent members of the division, and further discussion of these possibilities took place at the division’s annual meeting in Pocatello. This article’s purpose is to share information related to chapter membership with other members of the Idaho library community, especially academic librarians who may not be members of ILA.

A detailed explanation of chapter possibilities may be found in the article, but to summarize the main points:

  • It is not mandatory to be a national ACRL member to join a state chapter.
  • Holding an academic library position is not required for membership in the chapter.
  • Chapter creation need not result in any extra dues for members.
  • The election of officers separate from division officers is not required.

Two main benefits accrue to states that have a chapter. First, individual chapters receive $1 per member from the national ACRL, or a minimum of $100.  This money can be used for division activities, including paying speakers at annual chapter meetings. Perhaps more importantly, state chapter membership offers the opportunity to have representation in the ACRL Chapters Council. The goals of this national group are as follows:

  • To support the goals and initiatives of ACRL National
  • To facilitate communication between ACRL members and ACRL leadership
  • To encourage and support local ACRL chapters goals and initiatives
  • To build membership of ACRL at the local and national levels

ACRL requires that state chapters be formed in one of two manners: by becoming an independent non-profit entity or by affiliating with a state library association.  During 2012, the Idaho Library Association Board was informed of the division’s interest in pursuing chapter membership and asked if it would support a chapter affiliation with ILA.  Board members expressed interest in the idea, and asked for a formal proposal from the division once decisions about the potential chapter’s structure were made. For reasons related to the work required to form a separate non-profit, the division’s past-chair, current chair, and current vice-chair favor an affiliated chapter rather than an independent chapter. Division members present at the ILA Annual Meeting on Oct 5, 2012 in Pocatello also supported this arrangement.

ACRL gives state chapters the ability to make independent decisions regarding dues and membership requirements.  State chapters can codify these decisions in member approved by-laws. Regarding dues, state chapters may but do not have to charge additional dues beyond those required by the state library association. For comparison, Washington’s chapter (which is not affiliated with their state association) charges national ACRL members $5.00 for state chapter membership and those not members in the national ACRL $10.00 for state chapter membership. Oregon charges $10 for state chapter membership on top of the regular Oregon Library Association dues.  Montana, however, does not charge anything for state chapter membership after members have paid their Montana Library Association dues. Regardless of how dues are decided, the ILA Board has offered to create a separate bank account for a chapter, which would be administered by the board’s treasurer.

Membership requirements are likewise left up to the discretion of the individual state chapters. It is not required for all state chapter members to be members of the national ACRL although at least one member of the division must be a national member. State chapters do have the ability to require membership in the state library association (if the chapter is affiliated with the state library association), and Oregon and Montana chapters do this. It is not required for state chapter members to be academic librarians although some chapters such as Montana’s make this a requirement. With regard to chapter leadership, it is possible but not required that the division chair and vice-chair also act as chapter chair and vice-chair.  (Should a division chair or vice-chair be from a special rather than an academic library, it might make sense to have a separate chapter chair for that particular year).

In order to make decisions about a potential chapter, division leaders have set up an online survey to gauge preferences.  To complete this survey please visit: The survey is open to all librarians, regardless of ILA membership status or division status. Should enough librarians express an interest in forming and joining a chapter, the division’s past chair, present chair, and present vice-chair will draft a formal proposal to take to the ILA Board.  The proposal will make a recommendation for chapter structure as indicated by survey results.  We would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this survey, as we look forward to proceeding with possible chapter creation.

For questions or additional information, please contact Rami Attebury at, Jeremy Kenyon at, or Marilia Antunez at


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