The American Library Association (ALA) is the voice of America's libraries and the millions of people who depend on them. Its 65,000 members are primarily librarians, but also trustees, publishers and others who support the work of the association.
The mission of the American Library Association 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.
ALA has influenced the course of America's libraries since 1876 when Melvil Dewey, Justin Winsor and other luminaries issued a call to librarians to form a professional organization. For 129 years, ALA has been a leader in promoting and developing library and information services via a broad-based program of legislative advocacy, professional education, publishing, awards and public awareness. In 2001, First Lady Laura Bush helped celebrate National Library Week and launched ALA’s multi-year public education effort, @ your library, The Campaign for America’s Libraries.
Key action areas:
Diversity is a fundamental value of the association and its members, and is reflected in its commitment to recruiting people of color and people with disabilities to the profession and to the promotion and development of library collections and services for all people.
Equitable Access to Information and Library Services
The association advocates funding and policies that support libraries as great democratic institutions, serving people of every age, income level, location, ethnicity, or physical ability, and providing the full range of information resources needed to live, learn, govern, and work.
Education and Lifelong Learning
The association provides opportunities for the professional development and education of all library staff members and trustees; it promotes continuous, lifelong learning for all people through library and information services of every type.
Intellectual freedom is a basic right in a democratic society and a core value of the library profession. The ALA actively defends the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession
The association actively works to increase public awareness of the crucial value of libraries and librarians, to promote state and national legislation beneficial to libraries and library users, and to supply the resources, training and support networks needed by local advocates seeking to increase support for libraries of all types.
The ALA assists and promotes libraries in helping children and adults develop the skills they need – the ability to read and use computers – understanding that the ability to seek and effectively utilize information resources is essential in a global information society.
The association is inclusive, effective and responsive to the needs of ALA members.
To learn more about these efforts and the ALA, please visit us online at www.ala.org or call 312-280-4020.