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TLA FAQs

The Texas Library Association (TLA) is a 501(c)3 educational, charitable non-profit. It was established in 1902 to promote library services in Texas.

TLA has more than 6,000 members made up of librarians and library workers from academic, public, school and special libraries. Membership also includes library advocates, educators, vendors, and others who support libraries, reading, and literacy.

What are the benefits of TLA Membership

TLA exists to serve libraries and librarians in Texas. Here are some of the benefits of membership:

  • Advocacy to communicate the value of libraries and librarians, to improve library funding, and to influence public policy about library-related issues at the local, state and national levels.
  • Awards to recognize excellence in the profession, scholarships to promote library careers, and grants to nurture quality library programming.
  • Communication and networking through TLA publications, Continuing Education events, and members-only Distribution Listservs for TLA groups.
  • Continuing education opportunities.
  • Stipends for attending Annual Conference.
  • Employment assistance through Jobline, an online service that connects employers and jobseekers; and the Placement Center at Annual Conference.
  • Intellectual Freedom materials and assistance.
  • Links to TLA’s corporate sponsors and an online Buyer’s Guide for library-related products and services.
  • Professional support including leadership training, Continuing Education opportunities, liability insurance for librarians, and advocacy to promote fair salaries.
  • Public relations campaigns to promote libraries and reading.
  • Reading lists for tots through adults.
  • Texas Library Disaster Relief Fund to assist libraries devastated by natural disasters.
  • Standards and guidelines for school and public libraries to ensure quality service for library users.
  • Free registration to webinars on a wide variety of library topics.
How is TLA structured?

TLA is governed by its membership through an elected Council and Board of Directors. The Council, which consists of about 50 representatives from all TLA divisions, Districts, Round Tables, and Committees, decides the major policies for the association, sets priorities, and approves the annual budget. Councilors for each unit are designated as such by their respective units. Every year, Council meets twice at Annual Assembly and twice at Annual Conference.

The Board of Directors is determined by an association-wide election and is composed of 11 positions: president, past-president, president-elect, treasurer, ALA councilor (TLA is an independent state chapter of the American Library Association), five representatives-at-large (i.e., from school, public, special, and academic libraries), and the executive director (who serves in an ex officio role). Each Board member serves a term of three years. The Board makes recommendations to Council with respect to matters of policy and operations, and is also responsible for hiring of the executive director, who manages the association, works with TLA units, oversees the headquarters, and manages staff.

What are TLA Units or Groups?

TLA units, or groups, provide opportunities for members to connect with other members who work in the same type of library, live in the same part of the state, and share common professional interests. Units also include committees which plan and direct association projects and activities.

Divisions: Representing the various library types. Membership in one division is included in basic dues. Additional divisions can be added for a fee.

Districts: 10 regional Districts. Every member of TLA is automatically a member of a District based on their preferred address (home or work). Additional Districts can be added for a fee.

Round Tables: Created to address professional interests such as archives, collection development, programming for youth, reference, etc. There are currently 29 Round Tables. Each Round Table has bylaws, elects officers, and establishes any internal committees or working groups that it desires. Membership in one Round Table is included in basic dues. Additional Round Tables can be added for a fee.

Discussion Groups: Organized by interest or activity for the purpose of providing member opportunities for informal discussion. There are no officers, or dues associated with discussion groups.

TLA Standing Committees: Permanent committees which address specific activities and issues that impact the library profession generally (i.e. Legislative Committee, Professional Rights and Responsibilities Committee); or are responsible for specific activities such as the Texas Bluebonnet Award Committees. The TLA president-elect appoints committee members who begin serving when that president-elect’s term begins.

TLA Task Forces: Appointed by the TLA president to achieve her or his particular goals for the presidential year. Task Forces terminate when their charge is achieved, usually around the end of the presidential year of appointment.

Conference Committees: The two appointed committees oversee the planning of the TLA Annual Conference: the Conference Program Committee and the Local Arrangements Committee. Both dissolve at the end of the relevant conference.

How do I get involved?

TLA is an open, friendly and welcoming organization. Become familiar with TLA activities, groups and resources. Attend the TLA Annual Conference and your local District Fall Conference. There are endless ways to be involved! Reach out to other TLA members through your Division, District, and Round Table listservs. Volunteer! There are many opportunities, large and small, to contribute to the association, and expand your professional horizons. Start by completing this Volunteer Form.

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