Canadian Library Association

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Canadian Library Association
Abbreviation CLA
Formation 1946
Type Library Association
Purpose advocate and public voice, educator and network
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Region served
60 organizations
Official language

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is a national, predominantly English-language association which represents 57,000 library workers across Canada. It also speaks for the interests of the 21 million Canadians who are members of libraries. CLA members work in all four types of libraries: academic (college and university), public, special (corporate, non-profit and government) and school libraries. Others sit on boards of public libraries, work for companies that provide goods and services to libraries, or are students in graduate level or community college programs.

CLA's Mission Statement is: "CLA is my advocate and public voice, educator and network. We build the Canadian library and information community and advance its information professionals." The statement reflects the Association's role as the national voice for the Canadian library and information community.

As of January, 2016, the organization claimed it had 924 paid members, although it is unclear whether this means personal members, or total membership (including corporate, associate, institutional, and honourary members). The executive council claims it had spent several years dealing with the difficulties of declining membership, efficiency, and financial power.[1]

On January 27th, 2016, the CLA membership formally voted to disband the organization.[1] The last CLA Annual Conference will be in June of 2016.


The Canadian Library Association (CLA) was founded in Hamilton, Ontario 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 forty interest groups and committees.

In May of 2002, the membership was at a grand total of 2,721, including 2216 personal, 505 institutional, and 187 associate members.[2]

As of December 2014, the last time at which information was available, total membership in the CLA (through its various membership types) was 1,283:

  • Personal – 957
  • Institutions – 249
  • Corporate – 50
  • Associate – 27[3]


The CLA is supported by two types of committees: advisory committees and standing committees.[4] As the need arises, new committees are formed by the Executive Council. Existing CLA members are primarily considered in the member selection process.

Advisory committees[edit]

The Executive Council creates advisory committees to address topics of strategic professional interest to the CLA. These committees can be either long-term or short-term. The CLA currently is supported by these advisory committees:

  • Copyright Advisory Committee
  • Information Policy Advisory Committee
  • Intellectual Freedom Advisory Committee
  • School Libraries Advisory Committee
  • Royal Society of Canada: Brief Development Team for CLA Submission

Standing committees[edit]

The Executive Council creates long-term standing committees to actively govern the CLA. These committees contribute to the continuing operation of the CLA, and include:

  • Conference Standing Committee
  • Elections Standing Committee
  • Finance Standing Committee
  • Member Communications Standing Committee
  • Monograph Publications Standing Committee
  • Nominations Standing Committee
  • Participation Standing Committee
  • Resolutions Standing Committee

Student chapters[edit]

Recognizing that there is a need for close association between the Canadian Library Association and students in library school, the Canadian Library Association has always encouraged students to join CLA, network and become involved active members of the library community.

In March 1999, CLA's first Student Chapter was officially launched at the University of Western Ontario.

Since that time, Student Chapters have been launched at the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Alberta, McGill University and Dalhousie University and in 2006 at the Nova Scotia Community College Institute of Technology Campus.[5]

Student chapters of the Canadian Library Association allow for professional development and networking opportunities for students enrolled in library and information science programs.

Book awards[edit]

CLA presents three annual awards recognizing books for young people that have been published in Canada during the preceding year (and nominated by the end of November).[6][7][8] The writer, or the illustrator for the Howard-Gibbon Award, must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.[6][7][8]

The Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award has been presented every year since it was inaugurated in 1971, when the winner was Elizabeth Cleaver for The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada, which she wrote and illustrated.[6]

The Book of the Year for Children Award has been presented every year from 1963 when the winner was Sheila Burnford for The Incredible Journey (also adapted as a Disney film that year). The Book of the Year was inaugurated in 1947, recognizing the 1943 novel Starbuck Valley Winter by Roderick Haig-Brown, and it was awarded ten times prior to 1963.[7]

The Young Adult Book Award has been presented every year since it was inaugurated in 1981, when the winner was Kevin Major for Far from Shore (1980).[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Canadian Library Association | Canadian Library Association Results of the Special General Meeting". Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  2. ^ "Canadian Library Association". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  3. ^ "Canadian Library Association | CLA at Work". Retrieved 2016-01-30. 
  4. ^ "Committees, Task forces, and Teams". Canadian Library Association. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Canadian Library Association Student Chapters".
  6. ^ a b c Book Awards, "Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award". With linked list of winners.
  7. ^ a b c Book Awards, "Book of the Year for Children". With linked list of winners.
  8. ^ a b c Book Awards, "CLA Young Adult Book Award". With linked list of winners.
  • Book Awards (subsite). CLA at Work. Canadian Library Association ( Retrieved 2015-07-24.

External links[edit]