6. Frequently asked questions about Standards review

Q: The ALA Executive Board approved the Final Report of the Task Force (PDF). Does that mean that the recommendations from the Task Force will automatically become part of the Standards?
A: The Final Report of the Task Force was approved for “discussion and referral to the ALA Committee on Accreditation (COA). The COA will consider the Task Force recommendations as part of its five-year Standards review process.

Q: What is COA’s response to the final report of the Task Force?
A: The COA’s response to the Final Report of the Presidential Task Force on Library Education can be found on page four of this site. This response was transmitted to the Executive Board on June 1, 2009, and presented at the Executive Board meeting of July 13, 2009.

Q: Is the COA soliciting comments from a wide group of stakeholders?
A: Yes. The Office for Accreditation has sent calls for comment to many stakeholders. See the Standards Review Plan Timeline (PDF) for a complete list of constituent groups.

Q: What is the timeline for commenting?
A: Collection of comment on the Task Force Recommendations concluded on Oct 1, 2009. Comment on the Standards will continue through the five-year review process. See the Standards Review Plan Timeline (PDF format).

Q: Can I provide comment to COA without using this site?
A: We encourage you to comment directly on this site, but if this is not possible or desirable, please send your comment to the Office for Accreditation:
Mail: American Library Association, Office for Accreditation, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611
Email: kobrien@ala.org

Q: Can I post anonymously?
A: In order to comment on this blog, you are required to enter a user name and email address in the Leave a Comment section of the page you wish to comment on. Your email address will not be visible to others viewing the blog, but your user name will. If you wish to remain anonymous, choose your user name accordingly.

Q: Can anyone post a comment?
A: Anyone can post a comment once they enter a user name and email address. To prevent spam from appearing on the blog, all comments must first be approved by the blog administrator. There may be a lag time of up to one business day before your comment appears on the blog.

Q: What is the charge of COA?
A: The Committee on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA. The committee also develops and formulates standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of Council. See the Committee on Accreditation page on the ALA website.

Q: Who is on COA?
A: See the COA Roster.

Q: Is the COA overseen by any outside agency?
A: While COA is a Committee of the ALA, it serves a wider range of stakeholders. (See the Standards Review Plan Timeline [PDF] for a list of stakeholders.)  COA is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). As a recognized programmatic accrediting organization, ALA COA must adhere to the CHEA Recognition Policy and undergo periodic review.

Q: What is the process for Standards review?
A: Standards review and development is an ongoing five-year process. The current cycle was begun in 2008 following the adoption of the 2008 Standards. The COA develops standards for accreditation through a consensus-building process that involves various communities of interest, including educators, students, and professionals in library and information studies. Throughout the standards-development process, the COA seeks, receives, and uses comments and suggestions from the communities of interest in both the United States and Canada. See Accreditation Process, Policies, and Procedures (AP3), Section I.6 for more information. See also the Standards Review Plan Timeline (PDF).

Q: What is the official ALA policy on LIS education?
A: ALA Policy B.7.1 (Old Number 56.1) states:
The American Library Association supports the provision of library services by professionally qualified personnel who have been educated in graduate programs within institutions of higher education. It is of vital importance that there be professional education available to meet the social needs and goals of library services. Therefore, the American Library Association supports the development and continuance of high quality graduate programs in library and information studies (LIS) of the quality, scope and availability necessary to prepare individuals in the broad profession of information dissemination.

The American Library Association supports education for the preparation of professionals in the field of library and information studies (LIS) as a university program at the master’s level. LIS programs are central to a discipline that will continue to concern itself with the development of information literate citizens and to fill a necessary role in the information society of the next century. LIS education is currently challenged by dynamic changes in the society it serves and prepares students for a rapidly growing information profession that can extend well beyond the customarily defined parameters of libraries. It is undergirded by a growing research base that is diverse and draws upon a broad range of disciplines, and its faculty members are expected to translate their knowledge into improved library and information services. See ALA Policy Manual: Section B.

ALA policy B.9.2 (Old Number 54.2) states: “The master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master’s level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country) is the appropriate professional degree for librarians.” See ALA Policy Manual: Section Two (PDF). For ALA policy on other categories of library personnel, see the Library and Information Studies and Human Resource Utilization Policy Statement (PDF).