The American Library Association

Melvil Dewey, Justin Winsor, C. A. Cutter, Samuel S. Green, James L. Whitney, Fred B. Perkins, and Thomas W. Bicknell issued a call to librarians to form a professional organization. During what was known as the “Convention of Librarians,” held October 4-6 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 with October 6th marking the founding day of the American Library Association, making it the oldest library association in North America

Mission Statement
“The object of the American Library Association shall be to promote library service and librarianship.” The stated mission is, “To provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

In 1998 the ALA focused their commitment to five Key Action Areas.

1. Diversity
2. Equity of Access
3. Education and Continuous Learning
4. Intellectual Freedom
5. Literacy

Round Tables
Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered
Intellectual Freedom
Library History
Library Research

Social Responsibilities


Membership in ALA is open to all librarians, library workers, trustees, friends of libraries, and library supporters; libraries and other non-profits; and corporations that serve the library community in the United States and abroad. You are invited to join ALA as a Personal, Organizational, or Corporate member.

Membership Privileges

Committee Service

Conference, event and course discount



Service Discounts

Notable Divisions

American Association of School Librarians
Association for Library Collections and technical Services
Association for Library Service to Children
Association of College and Research Libraries

Public Library Association
Reference and User Services Association
Young Adult Library Services Association

Political Affiliation and Positions

The ALA is know for having strong political views and activism, in such charged arenas as intellectual freedom, banned reading material, civil liberties, and have been leaders in the LGBTQ community.

The ALA is openly opposed to the US Patriot Act, censorship and strives to protect patron privacy.

Intellectual Freedom

“the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.”

More information can be located on the ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement and The Library Bill of Rights.


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