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Library Association

1. Introduction: The existence of a profession rests on the bonds among the practitioners and these bonds can take the shape of a formal association. So the professional associations are by and for the professionals in the concerned field. It serves as a forum for coordinate efforts for the concerned profession.
In the context of libraries, the association means the organization of the library staff members, persons or institutions related to the library matter and profession. The library associations are those professional organizations of learned people which foster a spirit of public service among the members, promote the library services, and protect the interest of their members and builds up the image of the library profession in the society.

2. Historical Account: In 1852 a group of librarians, scholars, teachers and clergymen met in New York for the foundation and management of a collection of books or knowledge for public use. In May, 1876 a few library devotees, by taking the hint from the meeting of 1852, proposed a like gathering in connection with the great exhibition in Philadelphia. The announcement of the meeting that would be held in October 4, 1876 was sent to the leading libraries and to the leading librarians abroad. As a result of this gathering, the American Library Association (ALA) was formally inaugurated on October 4, 1876 and this was followed only a year later i.e. 1877 by the Library Association (LA) in the United Kingdom which later on in 2002 merge with Institute of Information Scientists (founded in 1958) to form the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP).

3. Functions and Activities of Library Associations: The functions of a library association depend upon the particular pursuit for which the association is formed. Generally, a library association performs the following functions
a) Act as a Common Forum: Library association acts as a common forum for library professionals for exchange of information, ideas, experience and expertise.
b) Library Movement: Library association works as the backbone of library movement in a country. It spreads knowledge and information.
c) Planning: The library association puts a behavioral future planning of the present position of libraries, library staff and library services after proper evaluation of its present state of affairs.
d) Put Pressure on Authority: The association forces the government to accept their demand by the right movement for the welfare of the library staff, like enacting the library legislation.
e) Development of the Profession: The association works for the betterment of salaries, grades, service and working conditions for the library professionals and also for improving their status in the society.
f) Problem Solving: Library association works hand in hand to find out solution for the adhoc professional problem.
g) Conduct Survey and Research: Library association conducts surveys and research of library facilities and services to ascertain the existing conditions so as to take necessary steps for improvement.
h) Code of Conduct: Library association prepares the code of conduct for the librarians and other library staff to maintain the professional standard.
i) Resource Sharing: Library associations works for the sharing of resources to avoid duplication of efforts.
j) Make General Public Conscious: Library association makes the general public conscious towards the utility of the library and information centers.
k) Holds Conferences, Seminars, Meeting, and Lectures: To discuss and exchange ideas and experiences library associations hold conferences, seminars, meeting, lectures, etc.
l) Training Courses: Library associations also conduct training programmes for self improvement of the professionals.
m) Standardization: A library association establishes and encourages the adoption of standards to improve the quality of library services.
n) Institute Prizes, Rewards, and Fellowship: Library association institutes prizes, rewards for library science students, research scholars and professionals in recognition of their contribution to the profession.
o) Publication: A library association creates and publishes professional literature in the subject areas.
p) Cooperation: Library associations maintain cooperation and healthy relation with other professional associations of various levels within and outside the country.

4. Types of Library Associations: Library associations can be grouped into the following categories-
4.1 Based on Geographic Area Covered: Based on the geographic area covered by a library association, it can be grouped into International, National, State and Local.
a) International Library Associations: Several professional organizations and private foundations around the world work to promote international cooperation in establishing new libraries and in improving services of the existing libraries. These organizations provide the platform for the librarians in which they can exchange ideas, develop networks for sharing resources and create compatible standards and protocols for various library procedures. Some of the most prominent international library associations are- International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) founded in 1927; American Library Association (ALA) founded in 1876; The Special Libraries Association (SLA) founded in 1909; International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) founded in 1951; International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries (IATUL) previously known as International Association of Technological University Libraries (IATUL) founded in 1955; International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) founded in 1971; International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) founded in 1959; Commonwealth Library Association (COMLA) founded in 1972; Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) founded in 1937 (It was first established as American Documentation Institute (ADI) in 1937, became the American Society for Information Science (ASIS) in 1968 and American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) in 2000 and to Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) in 2013); Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) founded in 1900 (successor to the Association of American Library Schools (AALS) founded in 1900) and International Council on Archives (ICA) founded in 1948.
            The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded in 1945 and the British Council founded in 1934 though are not library association, however, they did a lot for the growth and development of library and library professionals at the national and international level. Again, organizations like the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) also play important role in library and information science activities.
b) National Library Associations: The Canadian Library Association (CLA) founded in 1946; Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) founded in 2002 (it was formed by merging of  Library Association (LA or sometimes LAUK) founded in 1877 and the Institute of Information Scientists founded in 1958); the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) founded in 1932; the Society of American Archivists (SAA) established in 1936, etc are some of the most popular national library associations in the world.
In India, Indian Library Association (ILA) founded in 1933; Indian Association of Special Libraries and Information Centers (IASLIC) founded in 1955; Indian Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science (IATLIS) founded in 1969; Society for Information Science (SIS) established in 1975; Society for the Advancement of Library and Information Science (SALIS) founded in 2002; Central Government Library Association (CGLA) founded in 2004; Ranganathan Society for Social Welfare and Library Development (RSSWLD) founded in 2009; Library & Information Science Academy (LIS Academy) are some of popular library associations. The Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) founded in 1972 play a vital role for the growth and development of public libraries in India.
c) State Library Associations: Andhra Pradesh Library Association (APLA) founded in 1914 (formerly known as Andhra Desa Grantha Bhandagara Sangham) is the 1st library association in India. In case of state level library association, Punjab Library Association (PLA) founded in 1916 and rejuvenated in 1989; Bengal Library Association (BLA) or Bangiya Granthagar Parishad (formerly known as All Bengal Library Association) founded in 1925; Assam Library Association (ALA) founded in 1938, Delhi Library Association (DLA) founded in 1939; Kerala Library Association (KLA) founded in 1972; Gujarat Library Association [Gujarat Granthalaya-Seva Sangh (GGSS)] established in 1976; Sadau Asom Gramya Puthibharal Santha (SAGPS);  Karnataka State Library Association (KSLA) etc are functioning properly.
Among the state level associations, the Andhra Pradesh Library Association’s (APLA’s) “Granthalaya Sarvaswamu” first published in 1915 is the oldest professional journal which is still in publication.
d) Local Library Associations: Madras Library Association (MLA) founded in 1928, Bombay Science Librarian’s Association (BOSLA) founded in 1975, Guwahati Library Association (GLA), Jorhat Library Association, etc. are very active local level library associations in India.
4.2 Based on Functioning Areas: Based on the functioning areas, library associations can be grouped into two- General Library Association and Special Library Association.
a) General Library Association: Indian Library Association (ILA), Assam Library Association (ALA) are general library association where any professional can be a member.
b) Special Library Association: Indian Association of Special Libraries and Information Centers (IASLIC), Indian Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science (IATLIS), etc. are special library association where membership is allowed only to those professionals that work in that particular field.

5. Conclusion: The professional associations address issues like financial support for libraries, censorship, and cooperative acquisition of library materials. They also attempt to influence legislation that affect libraries, establishes policies and standards relating to libraries and librarians, and support continuing education for librarians. Almost all of these organizations publish journals or monographs relating to their particular areas of interest. Professional library associations hold conferences on a regular basis so that librarians may come together in order to develop policies and share ideas. Most professional librarians belong to at least one professional organization.
Private foundations also promote increased and improved library services around the world. Private philanthropic organizations also provide leadership in the establishment and maintenance of libraries around the world. In the early 20th century, the Carnegie Corporation of New York was instrumental in establishing free public libraries in Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific, but the organization stopped this programme in 1917. Today, the Ford Foundation, based in New York City provides vital financial support for libraries in the developing nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

How to Cite this Article?
APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.
Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.
MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.

Badan BarmanDr. Badan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJSE) (, UGC NET Guide (, Assam Archive ( and LIS Study ( website.

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