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Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)

Historical Note:

According to its 1980 statement of Responsibility, "The mission of the ACRL is to represent academic and research librarians and libraries. This includes all types of academic libraries-community and junior colleges, college and university-as well as comprehensive and specialized libraries and their professional staffs. ACRL also has as its mission the enhancement of library service, in the broadest sense, to the academic research communities" (1).

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) fulfills its mission through programs of identification and evaluation of book and nonbook materials, by issuing statements on library standards, and by concerning itself with the role, function, and status of the academic librarian (2).

The Association first met in 1889, under the title of the College and Reference Section of ALA (3). In June of 1938, the membership voted to change the name to the Association of College and Reference Libraries (4). Under this name, ACRL was accepted as a division by the ALA Council in May, 1940 (5). A 1942 revision of ACRL bylaws provided for the establishment of state, regional, and local chapters (6). The name was changed to the Association of College and Research Libraries in 1957 (7).

The organizational structure of ACRL was streamlined in 1979-80 to provide for a 13-member Board of Directors which includes the three officers )President, Past President, and Vice-President/President-Elect) and the Executive Director (8). ACRL publications include the bimonthly College and Research Libraries, the monthly College and Research Libraries News, the monthly book selection journal Choice, and occasional ACRL Publications in Librarianship. ACRL has sponsored national conferences and has presented the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award annually since 1978 (10).


1. ALA Yearbook, 1976, p. 91.

2.  ALA Yearbook, 1981, p. 53.

3.  ALA Bulletin, December 1958, p. 842.

4.  ALA Bulletin, October 15, 1938, p. 810.

5.  ALA Bulletin, December 1957, p. 850.

6.  ALA Bulletin, September 1942, p. 49.

7.  ALA Bulletin, December 1957, p. 850.

8.  ALA Yearbook, 1981, p. 54.

9. ALA Yearbook, 1976, p. 92.

10. ALA Yearbook, 1980, p. 55.

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