Canadian Library Association

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) was founded in Hamilton, Ont, in 1946, and was incorporated under the Companies Act on November 26, 1947. CLA is a non-profit voluntary organization, governed by an elected executive council, which is advised by over 30 interest groups and committees. The Association's five constituent divisions are:

• Canadian Association of College and University Libraries (CACUL), including the Community and Technical College (CTCL) section (600 members)
• Canadian Association of Public Libraries (CAPL), including the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians (CACL) section (600 members)
• Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS), with chapters in Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, Ottawa, Toronto and Atlantic Canada (900 members)
• Canadian Library Trustees Association (250 members)
• Canadian School Library Association, including the School Library Administrators (SLA) section (250 members)

The CLA's mission is to promote, develop and support library and information services in Canada and to work in co-operation with all who share its values in order to present a unified voice on issues of mutual concern.

In 1968 the CLA became a unilingual association, leaving the formal representation of francophone librarians to ASTED (Association pour l'avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation). CLA membership is open to anyone with an interest in libraries. It consists of a diverse group of individuals and organizations involved or interested in library or information sciences. A large proportion of CLA members work in college, university, public, special (corporate, non-profit and government) and school libraries. Others sit on the boards of public libraries, work for companies that provide goods and services to libraries, or are students in graduate level or community college programs. Membership categories of the Canadian Library Association include Personal, Institutional, Associate and Trustee. Total membership at May 15, 2002 was 2721, including 2216 Personal, 505 Institutions, and 187 Associates.

Priorities for the association are public policy concerning all issues that relate to library and information services, continuing education and professional development, and member services and communications.

Important achievements of the CLA include advocating the creation of the National Library of Canada; acting as a joint publisher of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, the cataloguing standard; and launching Information Rights Week. The association supports research and advocacy on issues critical to the library and information community, including succession planning, copyright, the General Agreement on Trades and Services (GATS) and intellectual freedom. Partnerships exist between the CLA and other not-for-profit organizations, such as the Media Awareness Network and the Copyright Forum.

From time to time the CLA prepares written and oral comments on government initiatives. Often prepared upon the request of the government, these papers outline and provide descriptions of the real and potential impact of government activities on library programs and make recommendations on various courses of action. In addition, the CLA is involved in issues of concern to the library profession and provides a role in the international liaison with other library associations, including the American Library Association (ALA) and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). The CLA collaborates with other national and international library associations on global information issues such as GATS.

The CLA meets annually in a major Canadian city in mid-June for a conference and trade show. The cities chosen for CLA conferences are intended to represent a regional cross section of the country. The CLA also provides scholarships to students attending library school, grants for research and education in library and information science, and awards for excellence in literature for children and young adults and for professional excellence and innovation in the field of library and information science. Professional development programs, including the annual conference, local seminars and teleconferences are also a key component of the association's work.

The association publishes monographs relating to Canadian library issues, such as copyright and telecommunications policies, and produces Feliciter, a bimonthly magazine devoted to the Canadian library profession. The CLA Web site is intended to provide current and historical information, in electronic format, on the activities, organization and policies of the association, as well as on the library profession and Canadian libraries. The site is designed to encourage regular visits by CLA members and those interested in learning more about the Canadian Library Association and the library profession.

See also Libraries; Library Science.