ASGCLA Transitions 2020

ASGCLA has always represented our constituencies with passion and determination.  It is up to us, the leadership and the members, to continue to serve people who are marginalized and underserved by finding a new way to work within ALA.

So, what can you do? Help us in beginning the discussion and sharing your ideas. Think about how best to put forward the needs of libraries, librarians and patrons that you represent in a new way within ALA…

Future of ASGCLA, (ASGCLA Connect, 4-18-2020) Sherry Machones, President and Carrie Banks, President Elect:Sherry Machones, ASGCLA


Update: Resolutions to Disband ASGCLA Approved.

ASGCLA disbanding?


Where can I find Updates

Frequently Asked Questions:

Update: Resolutions to Disband ASGCLA Approved.

The ALA Council at meetings on June 23 and June 27 approved the resolutions to disband ASGCLA and to incorporate ASGCLA members into other parts of ALA. ASGCLA will be dissolved as a division of the American Library Association (ALA) as of September 1, 2020. This letter includes a general description of what will happen next.

We are proud that ASGCLA member expertise and energy from our five unique areas will contribute to and thrive in these other parts of ALA. ASGCLA’s unique areas and their new places in ALA are:
  • ASGCLA Federal and Armed Forces Libraries moves to Reference and User Services (RUSA)
  • ASGCLA Library Consulting moves to Core Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures
  • ASGCLA Library Cooperatives and Consortia moves to Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures (except Physical Delivery moves to RUSA)
  • ASGCLA Library Services to Underserved Populations moves to Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach (ODLOS)
  • ASGCLA State Library Agencies moves to Chapter Relations Office (CRO)
More details specific to each of the ASGCLA Interest Groups will be sent in August. ASGCLA members do not need to take any action at this time. ALA will make the switch of membership records behind the scenes, based on each member’s selection of Interest Group(s). If you have questions about the continuing work or projects of your Interest Group, you can contact ASGCLA Staff at

If you have questions about your ASGCLA membership, contact ALA Member Relations & Services at or call 1.800.545.2433 (international callers, use 1.312.944.6780).

It has been our pleasure to work with and represent the dedicated ALA/ASGCLA members. We look forward to ASGCLA’s expertise, enthusiasm, and energy having impact throughout the American Library Association in 2020-2021 and beyond.

ASGCLA Board of Directors & Staff

ASGCLA disbanding?

The necessity for ASGCLA disbanding as an independent division has come up quickly this year. The issues that make ASGCLA vulnerable are not new. Over several years, ASGCLA, like other divisions of ALA has seen falling membership and revenues. Having a small member base, the drop in membership has a larger impact. ASGCLA Board learned about, discussed, and immediately prepared for action at two meetings in April. ASGCLA Board recognizes that it is in a vulnerable position, not only financially, but as a critical mass of members to accomplish the goals of the division.

  • There will be no Executive Director for ASGCLA after the end of September 2020
  • ASGCLA membership has been decreasing.
  • The decreasing membership also means a loss of dues revenue. ASGCLA relies on dues and continuing education (online learning and pre-conferences) revenue.
  • The ASGCLA Board fully expects that ALA will no longer be able to support a Small Division Subsidy.
  • ALA’s current financial shortfalls need long term solutions, including the drastic and long-term reduction of expenses.

ASGCLA, has grown since 1977 by merging disparate groups. This diversity is a strength in enabling members to come together around the concepts of equity, diversity, and inclusion. ASGCLA members are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, dedicated, and passionate about their specialties and the users they serve. However, with decreasing revenues, ASGCLA cannot effectively administer services and activities needed for the division’s five areas of responsibility:

  • Services to populations who are underserved due to sensory, physical, health, developmental, learning, attention, or behavioral conditions, and people who are incarcerated or detained. (formerly known as special populations).
  • State Library Agencies
  • Federal and Armed Forces Libraries
  • Cooperatives and consortia,
  • Independent librarians and consultants

As ASGCLA disbands, the option of merging the whole division into another division, is not a practical option. Members in ASGCLA’s five areas have unique areas of expertise and needs for professional growth, and networking. These are currently expressed through the Interest Groups in ASGCLA. No one ALA division can match them all. ASGCLA members and ASGCLA leaders, with the support and guidance of ALA executive director Tracie Hall, are holding initial  conversations to identify divisions or units of ALA that can incorporate the ASGCLA groups with similar interests and expertise.


April 2020

  • Awareness of the need to disband, review of overlap and options
  • ASGCLA Board meetings April 1 and April 27

May 2020

  • Conversations with ALA divisions and units
  • Conversations with ASGCLA leaders
  • ASGCLA Membership Meeting May 21

June 2020

  • Follow up and agreements with divisions and units
  • Preparation of a resolution for COO and ALA Council
  • ASGCLA Board meeting June 11
  • COO meeting June 15
  • Council meetings June 23 and 27

July and August 2020

  • ASGCLA staff work with ALA Membership and IT to prepare divisions and units to incorporate ASGCLA members
  • ASGCLA Board meeting July 20
  • ASGCLA Membership Meeting and Awards Ceremony July 23
  • ASGCLA Board meeting August 27

September 2020

  • ALA FY21 begins, membership records updated

This accelerated timeline is ambitious with the hope that most of the work can be completed before ASGCLA is without an executive director. There are contingency plans if some parts of the Transition 2020 plan cannot be completed by September 2020.

Where can I find Updates

Updates will be posted to the on ASGCLA Connect group [], in the monthly ASGCLA eNewsletters, and on the ASGCLA Transition 2020 web page. You can also contact ASGCLA Board members [] (log in to see contact emails).

A virtual ASGLCA Membership was held May 21.

The documents are available in the ASGCLA Connect group Library.

The recording for the meeting is available here in the ASGCLA Connect Group Library

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Questions about ASGCLA’s dissolution as a Division
  • Why are different parts of ALA identified to assume the responsibilities for ASGCLA interests?

ASGCLA represents the interests of five diverse types of library organizations and agencies. ASGCLA members participate in 18 Interest Groups representing specific interests within the five diverse types of organizations. Though all members of ASGCLA respect and support each other, their professional interests are diverse enough to prohibit merging all ASGCLA members into a single other division.

  • Can each of the five types of library organizations or agencies become their own division or roundtable

Just as ASGCLA, representing all five types of library organizations and agencies finds that it is too small to provide the needed services for a division, the even smaller single types of library organizations and agencies would not be sustainable. Divisions and roundtables need a critical mass of member volunteers and dues support to provide value and services to the .

  • ASGCLA was formed from small groups that do not fit anywhere else. How can members avoid getting lost, being overwhelmed, and having the voices of underserved populations diluted by moving to larger organization?

ASGCLA Board and leaders are involved in discussions about potential incorporation of ASGCLA interests with ALA divisions and units. In most cases, Interest Groups within a type of library organization (such as state library agencies or library consortia) will transition together into a new ALA division or unit. ASGCLA members already collaborate with ALA members in other divisions that have similar interests. This transition will build on that. ASGCLA member expertise and experience is valued. The contributions, voices, and issues of ASGCLA will .

  • Questions about a member’s dues
  • Will my membership dues change?

Your new membership will officially go into effect at the beginning of ALA’s fiscal year and the dues for the new unit will appear on your membership bill at your renewal (based on anniversary date). ALA division dues for regular personal membership range from $50-$77 per year. ASGCLA’s dues of $56 per year fall at about the mid-point.

  • What if I do not like the new division selected for my interest? Can I choose my own division?

ALA members can add and drop divisions or round tables at any time. It is easy to add a membership online and your dues are prorated if you make this change in the middle of your membership year. No one is “stuck” in a division.

  • Can I get a refund if I do not want to be in the division selected for my interests?

At the time of your renewal, you can remove the new division selected for you if you are not interested in being a member. Therefore, you would not owe any dues to the new division. Your ASGCLA dues which were already paid will not be refundable.

  • Questions about the process for ASGCLA’s Transition and the incorporation of ASGCLA members in other parts of ALA?
  • What governance groups need to be involved?

The ASGCLA Bylaws do not address discontinuing the division. ASGCLA’s Transition 2020 will follow the procedures set in the ALA Bylaws which states that “Council by a vote of two consecutive meetings may discontinue a division when, in the opinion of the Council, the usefulness of the division has ceased.” ASGCLA will also present the plan for dissolution and arrangements with other divisions and units to the Committee on Organization.

  • What will be the status of ASGCLA liaisons to ALA Committees?

ASGCLA is requesting that current liaisons to ALA committees and groups will serve out their terms. Members can continue to volunteer and seek appointments within ALA.

  • Questions about communications for the Transition
  • Are other divisions aware of ASGCLA’s plans?

In early May, preliminary discussions are scheduled with ALA staff on possibilities for incorporating ASGCLA members with similar interests and issues. When these preliminary discussions are successful, additional discussions will include Board leaders. ASGCLA Board leaders are sharing information with their counterparts in other divisions. As planning identifies possibilities and options, ASGCLA will share  more information within ALA.

  • How is ASGCLA communicating with members?

ASGCLA members are being kept informed through the monthly eNewsletter, ASGCLA Connect messages, and virtual Member meetings.

  • How can I share my ideas and comments

ASGCLA members can add ideas and comment at


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