Thursday, November 16, 2023

Alabama Library Association's (ALLA)

Here is a story about the Alabama Library Association's (ALLA) remarkable journey towards inclusivity. In 1904, ALLA was established as a professional organization for librarians and workers, but it only admitted White members in its early days, excluding Black members. However, in 1949, ALLA set out to promote inclusivity, forming a Biracial Committee of ten Black librarians and six White ALA members. Despite the initial enthusiasm, integrating the association while navigating the state's segregation laws proved an enormous challenge, leading to the committee's disbandment after three years.

ALLA's status as an ALA State Chapter was lost when it refused to admit Black members. Only after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed segregation did the association take a step forward. On December 4, 1964, the ALLA council passed an official resolution that ended the screening of membership applications based on race. This marked a pivotal moment in the association's history and paved the way for a desegregated future.

The first desegregated meeting of the Alabama Library Association was held in the spring of 1965, marking a significant shift in the organization's culture. The commitment to inclusivity was now a fundamental principle, and ALLA began to rebuild itself as an association that embraced diversity and welcomed librarians of all races.

The Alabama Library Association is a shining example of transformation and progress today. The organization has not only survived but thrived in the face of adversity. It is dedicated to promoting literature and education in the state, maintaining a valuable Alabama Authors database, and holding annual conventions at rotating locations throughout Alabama. With three divisions – College, University, and Special Libraries (CUS), Public Library (PLD), and Youth Services and School Library (YSSLD) – ALLA continues to serve Alabama's library community with vigor and inclusivity.

In conclusion, the Alabama Library Association's journey from exclusivity to inclusivity is a testament to the enduring spirit of change and progress. Its commitment to diversity and its determination to overcome past challenges have shaped Alabama's literary landscape. As librarians and library workers, we can draw inspiration from ALLA's transformation, reminding us that libraries are not just repositories of knowledge but also agents of positive change in society.

Link Description URL
Alabama Library Association Handbook
Alabama Authors
Alabama Library Association website

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