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Catholic Library Association


The Catholic Library Association (CLA) was founded in 1921. Since then it has actively pursued its originally stated purpose: to coordinate the exchange of ideas among librarians; to provide a source of inspirational support and guidance in ethical issues related to librarianship; and to foster fellowship for those who seek, serve, preserve, and share the word in all its forms. The association carries out its mission by encouraging the establishment of religion-oriented libraries; promoting accepted standards of library service; serving as an educational resource for professional librarianship, and fostering research and development in the field. Membership is open to individuals who share the values of the association regardless of the types of libraries in which they serve. Organizational membership is open to institutions and libraries that support the mission and goals of the association.

The association supports and provides for the creation, compilation, publication, and use of religious reference tools and develops cooperative relationships with associations having mutual interests. Its official publication is the Catholic Library World. Published quarterly, the journal includes topics of interest to children's, high school, and academic libraries as well as parish and community libraries, archives, and library education. The journal reviews books of interest to professional librarians as well as library users. The CLA also publishes the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index, a quarterly index of Catholic periodicals, national Catholic newspapers, essays, book reviews, and monographs. Coverage began in 1930 and since 1981 the reference resource has been available in both print and electronic formats.

The association established the Regina Medal in 1959 to honor an individual's continued distinguished contribution to children's literature. Other awards made annually include: the Aggiornamento Award (established 1980), presented by the Parish and Community Libraries Section to recognize contributions made by an individual or an organization for the renewal of parish and community life in the spirit of Pope John XXIII; an annual Certificate of Merit (established 1966) is presented by the High School Libraries Section in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the growth of high school librarianship; the Jerome Award (established 1992) is given by the Academic Libraries Section in recognition of outstanding contributions and commitment to excellence in scholarship that embody the ideals of the association. The John Brubaker Memorial Award recognizes an outstanding work of literary and professional merit published in Catholic Library World. Two scholarship awards are made each year: the Reverend Andrew L. Bouwhuis Memorial Scholarship for graduate study toward a master's degree in library science and the World Book Award for scholarships for continuing education in school or children's librarianship.

The CLA holds its annual conference in conjunction with the National Catholic Educational Association, underscoring the strong and consistent commitment of the organization to religious education. Headquarters of the CLA are located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Bibliography: catholic library association, Handbook and Membership Directory, 19992001 (Pittsfield, Mass. 1999).

[a. r. chwalek]

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