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American Library AssociationAmerican Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information, news, events, and advocacy resources for members, librarians, and library users.
Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA 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.
Key Action Areas
In 1998 the ALA Council voted commitment to five Key Action Areas as guiding principles for directing the Association’s energies and resources: Diversity, Equity of Access, Education and Continuous Learning, Intellectual Freedom, and 21st Century Literacy. With the development of a series of strategic plans, beginning with ALA Goal 2000, ALAction2005 and ALA Ahead to 2010, these principles have expanded to eight Key Action Areas which are supplemented by ALA2015, the Association’s current strategic plan.
Guided by our Key Action Areas, we have created ALA2015, our current strategic plan which consists of 5 goals developed to move the organization toward the realization of our envisioned future. In this future, ALA builds a world where libraries, both physical and virtual, are central to lifelong discovery and learning and where everyone is a library user.
ALA’s activities are shaped and guided by a series of governing documents. The Association’s first official document was the Charter of 1879, which was revised in 1942. ALA’s Constitution and Bylaws are approved by the ALA Council and voted by the membership. The ALA Council also adopts the Association’s Policies.
ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council determines all policies of the Association and its decisions are binding unless set aside by a majority vote by mail in which one-fourth of the members of the Association have voted.
ALA Executive Board acts for Council in the administration of established policies and programs and is the body that manages within this context the affairs of the Association, delegating management of day-to-day operation to the Association’s executive director.The Executive Board makes recommendations with respect to policy and operation.
ALA president is to be the Association’s chief spokesperson and to work closely with the ALA’s Executive Director in identifying and promoting library issues nationwide and internationally. The ALA President is recognized as the Association’s leader by its members.