By the Numbers: ALA’s 140th Anniversary

Stats about libraries, librarians, and the organization

May 31, 2016

Justin Winsor, first ALA president, 1876–1885
Justin Winsor, first ALA president, 1876–1885

Number of librarians who attended the “Convention of Librarians” during the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876—what is considered the birth of the ALA. Of these founders, 90 were men and 13 were women.

Number of active ALA members, as of March 2016. Today, women account for about 85% of all librarians in the US.

Newbury Street, the address of the first ALA headquarters, located in Boston. The office opened in 1906 and closed at the end of the following year.

1905 and 1907
Years that Booklist and what is today known as American Libraries began publishing, respectively.

Number of public, academic, school, special, armed forces, and government libraries located in the US.

Library logo1982
Year that ALA Council endorsed the National Library Symbol. The image, originally designed by Ralph E. DeVore for use in the Western Maryland Public Libraries, was featured on the cover of AL (Sept. 1982) and adopted three years later by the Federal Highway Administration for inclusion in its manual.

11 and 21
Number of membership divisions and round tables currently contained within ALA, respectively.

Number of attendees at last year’s ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

Recorded, combined attendance from past ALA Annual Conferences dating back to the inaugural meeting in 1876.



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