Reflecting on Our Mission

January 2, 2020

Like other nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations, ALA exists because we seek to accomplish a mission, initially defined in ALA’s Constitution, “to promote library service and librarianship.” That critical social purpose was later more expansively stated in ALA Policy Manual, ­section A.1.2: “The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and … Continue reading Reflecting on Our Mission


Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

Listening to Your Community

November 1, 2019

At the event, R. David Lankes, now director of University of South Carolina’s iSchool, facilitated discussions on the topic. Participants from all types of libraries were asked to take an imaginary walk around their community: observing, listening, seeking to understand the aspirations of the community for itself. During the discussion that followed, participants talked about how … Continue reading Listening to Your Community


Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

Future Destinations

September 3, 2019

As in our personal lives, a new year is a time for reflection. We look back at the surprises, successes, and disappointments. We look at how we performed inside the Association—and, even more important, at our impact on libraries, on the people who make both the Association and libraries work, and on all the communities … Continue reading Future Destinations


Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

At the Core of Our Work

June 3, 2019

In the most basic terms, an association is simply a voluntary organization of persons with common interests and ends, joining formally to achieve things they could not achieve—or could not achieve as well—alone. It’s an observation made in the early 1800s in Democracy in America by French historian Alexis de Tocqueville as he witnessed Americans … Continue reading At the Core of Our Work


Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

Challenge, Change, Opportunity

November 1, 2018

Over the coming months, our Association will be engaged in difficult but essential work. The task will require that we work together in good faith, trusting one another’s commitment to the important job of library workers and the power of libraries to transform individuals and communities of all types. The American Library Association (ALA) was … Continue reading Challenge, Change, Opportunity


Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

Modernizing Our Association

June 1, 2018

In the November/December issue of American Libraries, ALA President Jim Neal issued a call to ALA members to consider the 21st-century effectiveness and agility of an organization with governance documents dating back more than 140 years. He called for a review of ALA’s organizational effectiveness with the aim of revitalizing the Association. At the 2018 … Continue reading Modernizing Our Association


Keith Michael Fiels

My ALA Journey

June 1, 2017

Here’s an organization with: 57,000 members, representing an incredibly wide range of backgrounds, communities served, types of libraries, and interests a new president every year an Executive Board a 185-member Council 11 divisions (each with its own board) 20 round tables 56 state and regional chapters membership in 96 countries 1,266 online communities 1,272 discussion … Continue reading My ALA Journey



Keith Michael Fiels

In D.C., It’s All about Our Values

March 1, 2017

As an Association, we advocate for a wide range of federal legislation and policy issues, from intellectual freedom and privacy to access to government information to preservation to copyright. We also advocate for funding for library programs, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the E-Rate program, … Continue reading In D.C., It’s All about Our Values


Keith Michael Fiels

Advocacy School Is in Session

September 1, 2016

With a sustained national advocacy campaign our first priority, the Libraries Transform public awareness program launched last year. More than 3,000 libraries and supporters have already signed on to be part of the campaign. Last year we saw 144,001 page views of LibrariesTransform.org, 12,387 downloads of the library toolkit, 22,000 #LibrariesTransform mentions on Twitter, 65,000 … Continue reading Advocacy School Is in Session


Keith Michael Fiels

A United Effort

May 2, 2016

Thanks to the American Library Association’s new public awareness campaign Libraries Transform, it has never been easier to spread the word about the transformative and critical role libraries play in the digital age. Since the October 2015 launch, more than 1,600 libraries have registered to participate in the campaign, and that number is growing daily. … Continue reading A United Effort