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Frequently Answered Questions

Top Five Questions | More FAQs

Top Five

  1. When will the 2015 Newbery and Caldecott Awards be announced?

    The winners of the 2015 Newbery and Caldecott medals and other ALA Youth Media Awards (YMA) will be announced on Monday, February 2, 2015, from McCormick Place in Chicago. See the ALA Youth Media Awards main web page for more information, including a link to the archived webcast video and press releases announcing the winners!

    Social media for the event includes the I Love Libraries Twitter account at, also known as @ILoveLibraries. Information about the Youth Media Awards can be found on the I Love Libraries Facebook Page at

    Former accounts @ALAyma on Twitter and the ALA Youth Media Awards Facebook Page have been retired.

    Newbery Medal Home Page - The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

    Caldecott Medal Home Page - The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

  2. Is there a single page listing all of ALA's upcoming 2014-2015 library awareness events, like National Library Week, School Library Month, International Gaming Day, Banned Books Week, National Friends of Libraries Week, etc?

    See the new Celebration Weeks & Promotional Events 2014-2015 page, which lists ALA's special Day, Week, and Month events in chronological order.

  3. When is the next ALA conference?

    The 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting will be held January 30 - February 3, 2015 in Chicago, IL.

    The 2015 ALA Annual Conference will be held June 25-30, 2015 in San Francisco, CA.

    Bundled registration for 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting and 2015 ALA Annual Conference is open September 9-30, 2014.

    Registration and housing for the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting open October 1, 2014.

    Registration and housing for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference open January 12, 2015.

    The 2014 ALA Annual Conference was held June 26 to July 1, 2014 in Las Vegas, NV. Please see the 2014 Annual Conference Scheduler for further assistance, including the specific sections of Author Event Sessions and Sessions with Handouts. Official Twitter Hashtag: #alaac14

    The 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting was held January 24-28, 2014 in Philadelphia, PA. Please see the 2014 Midwinter Meeting Scheduler for further assistance, including the specific sections of Author Event Sessions and Sessions with Handouts. Official Twitter Hashtag: #alamw14

    Materials for 2012 and 2013 conferences can be retrieved at their individual schedulers: 2012 Annual Conference Scheduler, 2012 Midwinter Meeting Scheduler, 2013 Midwinter Meeting Scheduler, and 2013 ALA Annual Conference Scheduler.

    For future Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference dates, please see ALA Upcoming Annual Conferences & Midwinter Meetings.

    Please contact Paul Graller of ALA Conference Services with any other questions!

  4. Who can join ALA? What does it cost? And what are my benefits?

    Membership in the American Library Association (ALA) is available to libraries, librarians, library support staff, library school students, library retirees or other non-salaried, library trustees, library vendors - to anyone who supports librarianship, including library patrons, supporters, and Friends, whether inside or outside of the USA!

    The ALA offers several categories of membership:

    Dues vary according by type of membership. See the downloadable, print ready Adobe Reader PDF versions of all of the membership application types to determine dues responsibility. You can request print copies of any of these membership applications from Membership and Customer Services, 1-800-545-2433, press 5.

    You have the option to complete the ALA Personal Membership Application online, which requires creating an ALA Website account.

    View ALA's Member Value Programs (MVP) for Personal, Organizational, and Corporate Membership, as well as our online guide, Getting the Most from Your Membership.

    Contact ALA Member and Customer Service with any further questions!

  5. When is National Library Week in 2015?

    National Library Week-- next be celebrated April 12-18, 2015. The theme is TBA.

    Future National Library Week dates can be found on the fact sheet for National Library Week (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

    During National Library Week, libraries across the country host programs and events to showcase the variety of resources they offer to people of all ages. It's a great time to check out what's new at your school, campus, or public library.

    Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), this annual event dates back to 1958 and celebrates the important contributions of libraries and librarians to our society. See the National Library Week main page and the National Library Week category on the ALA Professional Tips Wiki for more details, including a historical list of National Library Week themes.

    ALA's @ your library, The Campaign for America's Libraries continues ALA's multi-year public education effort about the value of libraries, librarians, and library workers in the 21st century. More details can be found at

    Questions? Contact campaign staff via email at

More FAQ's

    What is ALA?

    The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. Melvil Dewey, Justin Winsor, C. A. Cutter, Samuel S. Green, James L. Whitney, Fred B. Perkins, and Thomas W. Bicknell founded the Association on October 6, 1876, in Philadelphia.

    The online-only ALA Handbook of Organization provides information on ALA's structure, membership groups, and governing bodies. It is updated following the Annual Conference, when our officers are installed.

    As of July 31, 2013, the ALA had 57,518 members, with members in the United States of America, Canada, and over 115 other countries. Approximately 94% of those members are personal members, with the remaining being organizational or corporate members.

    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 is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional offices in Washington, D.C., Middletown, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We may be contacted by e-mail, phone, fax and mail.

    How do I order books, posters, and other ALA products and publications?

    All of ALA's posters, books, and other materials are available for purchase by individuals as well as by libraries. Members of the American Library Association receive a 10% discount on purchases (be sure to clearly indicate your membership number in your order).

    You can view all of our available books and posters--as well as place an order--at the ALA Online Store.

    Request the free ALA Editions (books) and/or ALA Graphics (posters and bookmarks) catalog and be added to the regular mailing list by clicking on the Request A Catalog link at the top of the page at the ALA Online Store and completing the address form.

    You can both request the free catalogs and place an order (or check on an existing order) by calling the main ALA toll-free phone number, 1-800-545-2433, and pressing 7 during the greeting. Or you can call 1-866-SHOP ALA (1-866-746-7252). Orders can be placed between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, Central Time.

    Orders, including purchase orders, can also be faxed to (770) 280-4155, or mailed to the following address:

    American Library Association Order Fulfillment
    P.O. Box 932501
    Atlanta, GA 31193-2501

    You can also send orders via e-mail to

    Information concerning payment options, cost of shipping, any applicable state sales tax, and international orders is included on the About the ALA Online Store page. Read about the ALA Editions Approval Plan.

    For subscriptions to ALA's periodicals, start with the ALA Publishing page, which has links to information on the publications from individual units. A more comprehensive, detailed list of ALA's magazines, journals, and newsletters is on the ALA Periodicals page.

    How can I become a librarian? Does ALA offer any classes?

    The ALA web site has information on how to become a professional librarian. This position usually requires that a librarian have a master's degree in library and information science. ALA is the professional organization that accredits the master's degree programs at over 60 universities all over the country (and in Canada and Puerto Rico, as well). ALA accredits master's degrees only; it does not accredit undergraduate degrees or certificates in librarianship - which do exist.

    While there are bachelor's degrees in library science, it is not necessary to get one of these in order to prepare for the master's degree; the undergraduate degree can be in any subject. What ALA's accreditation hopes to show is that the librarian, as opposed to the library technical assistant or technician, is indeed worthy of professional designation and description, having successfully completed a graduate-level discipline and course of study.

    Undergraduate degrees and certificates are usually associated with library paraprofessional work, those support staff positions that carry the title of library technical assistant or library technician or any similar variations--see List of Support Staff Positions in Libraries.

    Definitely access the section of the ALA web site of ALA's Office for Accreditation, specifically:
    Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What is the appropriate degree to be a professional librarian?
    A: ALA policy B.9.2 (formerly ALA policy 54.2) states: "The master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association (or from a master's level program in library and information studies accredited or recognized by the appropriate national body of another country) is the appropriate professional degree for librarians."

    For school librarians, ALA policy B.9.2.2 (formerly ALA Policy 54.2.2) states: The master's degree in librarianship from a program accredited by the American Library Association (emphasis added) OR a master's degree with a specialty in school librarianship from a program recognized by AASL (American Association of School Librarians, a division of ALA) in an educational unit accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAPE) is the appropriate first professional degree for school librarians."

    The complete list of schools with ALA-accredited programs (which includes contact information for each institution) is available at the ALA web site as a searchable online database, at:

    Directory of Institutions Offering ALA-Accredited Master's Programs in Library and Information Studies

    Click on the link, Directory of ALA-accredited programs in a searchable database format, and then on the link, Search the database of ALA-accredited programs, which will take you to the main search page, Searchable database of ALA-accredited programs -- which has at the top of the page an instant sort of the list by state; click on a state's name to get a list of the universities in that state's with ALA-accredited library science master's degree programs.

    This online database version can be searched by various options, including "100% online program available." ALA has shown great faith in distance learning programs, by according these ALA-accredited status along with a university's traditional classroom programs.

    For further assistance on school librarianship, please see the following web pages set up by American Association of School Librarians (AASL, a division of ALA):

    CAEP/AASL School Librarianship Education Programs
    School Librarianship as a Career

    Recruitment to School Librarianship: How to Make Sure Your Grandchildren Have Librarians in Their Schools -- Be sure to see Learning about the Job: What a school librarian does; Library Education & Licensing: Information about state certification, licensure and endorsement, and finding a library education program.

    School Library Media Certification by State – Compiled annually by School Library Monthly magazine: This handbook has been developed to simplify the process for individuals seeking licensure in school librarianship within the 50 states and to provide information regarding reciprocity.

    AASL Education & Careers
    Links to pages with information on becoming a school librarian as well as pages with information on setting up and maintaining a school library.

    See ALA's Guidelines for choosing a master's program in library and information studies for help in selecting the master's program that is right for you. You would need to contact the individual degree programs directly for any further details.

    Please note that not every master's degree program in library science is accredited by ALA. To see a list of all universities offering degrees in library science -- whether accredited by ALA or recognized by CAEP/AASL or not -- check your local public library for a copy of the American Library Directory, which is a two-volume set published by Information Today, Inc. Volume two has a list of all schools offering library science degree programs. This list attempts to be comprehensive, listing both graduate and undergraduate library science degree and certificate programs.

    For further assistance, please use ALA's Educations and Careers web page, at:

    If you already have a library degree from another country and want to work at a library in the United States, please see the Foreign Credentials entry of the Ask the ALA Library Blog.

    ALA doesn't provide classes in the truest sense, that would count toward a master's degree. However, ALA makes available several various continuing education opportunities; see ALA Online Learning and the question above about ALA's online courses for details.

    How many libraries are there?

    The ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 1, last updated April 2014, reports that there are an estimated 120,096 libraries of all kinds in the United States.

    No annual survey provides statistics on all types of libraries. Public, academic, and school library counts on that fact sheet come come from surveys by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Figures for special libraries, armed forces libraries, and government libraries come from the American Library DirectoryTM 2013-2014 compiled by the publisher, Information Today, Inc.

    What is ALA's governing structure?

    ALA is governed by a policy-making council elected directly by members; an executive board made up of four officers elected by members, plus eight members elected by Council, that is responsible for the oversight management of ALA; and an executive director, Keith Michael Fiels, who administers ALA headquarters and its 250-member staff. Current ALA President is President Courtney Young (2014-2015).

    I am wondering if you have any data regarding loss rate that may have been collected as part of surveys of your members or in any other form.

    There is no "standard" rate of book loss, not that ALA has created - and we don't believe that any other organizations have attempted to create such a figure. The reasoning and extent in reporting library theft varies, and so a national figure might not be reliable. Such statistics are only collected locally, and not on a national basis, so we must rely on general articles to describe the extent of the problem.

    For further details, see the Ask the ALA Library Blog entry, Loss Rate, from April 26, 2011.

    What are divisions? Offices? Round tables?

    Divisions are membership units focusing on specific types of libraries or library services; ALA has eleven divisions.

    Most ALA Offices are units which address broad interests and issues of concern to ALA members, while the others serve the needs of ALA staff. Offices do not have members, but the former are advised by member advisory committees. ALA has twenty-five offices in all.

    Round tables are membership units that promote specific fields or areas of librarianship outside the scope of the divisions; ALA has twenty round tables.

    How do I register for ALA's online courses, such as the ones being offered by AASL, ACRL, ASCLA, YALSA, PLA, and RUSA? How can I find out when ALA division conferences and forums, institutes, symposiums, live webinars, and other events will be held?

    For online courses, see the new ALA Online Learning page, divided by course topic, at:

    Registration for all of ALA Online Learning, including online courses and most of our live webinars is now available at:

    If you have any questions about ALA Online Learning, please email

    Please note that registration for some of ALA's upcoming webinars (such as some from ALA's ACRL and LITA divisions) is available via iLinc instead at:
    For the courses and sessions available via iLinc, there are two options: iLinc Public Sessions you JOIN and then there's iLinc Public Sessions for which you Register

    Please note that registration for some of ALA's other upcoming webinars (such as the ones from ALA's Booklist magazine) is available via WebEx instead at:
    ALA Publishing WebEx

    Registration for all ALA Editions eCourses and ALA TechSource Workshops on WebEx is available via the eLearning section at the ALA Online Store.

    For the various other events, see the Affiliates conference & event calendar 2012-2024. Also check the online Calendar at ALA's

    Online registration is available for division conferences and forums, symposiums, training, institutes, workshops, and meetings.

    For questions about registering for events or conferences, please contact our Registration Center at For login help, send help requests to

    What is National Library Legislative Day? When is it?

    National Library Legislative Day occurred May 5-6, 2014.

    Held in the spring, National Library Legislative Day offers librarians the opportunity to come to Washington and talk directly with their congressional representatives. Please feel free to contact Jazzy Wright, Press Officer of the ALA Washington Office, if you would like more information about participating.

    Can I contribute financially to ALA?

    Yes. There are many opportunities to support ALA and libraries through contributions and donations to the ALA Development Office, as well as to the Freedom to Read Foundation, the ALA Washington Office, and assorted awards and scholarships, including the Spectrum Scholarship. Contact the ALA Development Office directly for best assistance. Or use our online GiveALA, which requires creating an ALA Website account.

    Does ALA have an awards program for members?

    Yes. ALA and its units confer many different types of awards; see the Awards & Grants main web page of the ALA Awards Database, at:

    I have written a book. How do I get it into libraries?

    Please be aware that individual libraries are responsible for their own collections. There is no one place that distributes books to all libraries -- and that includes ALA. Although, some main libraries purchase books for their branches as well as themselves. And some libraries purchase their books through such distributors as Baker & Taylor, Ingram Book Services, Emery-Pratt Company, and other book suppliers and wholesalers. At best, ALA can review your book in its review journal, Booklist. For more information on telling libraries about your own book, first access the ALA Library Fact Sheet 5, Marketing to Libraries, which lists strategies for informing the library community about your product or service. Then access the ALA Library Fact Sheet 3, Lists of Libraries, which lists companies and groups that sell library mailing lists and mailing labels, and includes a suggestion (at the end) on how to compile a list of e-mail addresses for libraries. You might also want to contact book distributors directly to see if they would be interested in providing your book to libraries. You can find directories of library vendors, including book distributors, on the ALA Library Fact Sheet 9, Library Products, Services and Consultants. If you are a publisher wishing to donate books to libraries, please see ALA Library Fact Sheet 12, Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs for groups and organizations that accept and distribute book donations to library and other recipients, as ALA does not provide this service.

    I need an ALA interlibrary loan form. How can I get one?

    The interlibrary loan form, sometimes called "the ALA form," can be accessed as an Adobe Reader PDF (Portable Document Format) file; as well as a Microsoft Word (2000) file (which can be edited). The form can also be purchased in bulk from library supply houses. A list of directories of library product suppliers is available on ALA Library Fact Sheet 9, Library Products, Services and Consultants.

    Find out more about interlibrary loans from ALA Library Fact Sheet 8, Interlibrary Loans.

    What is Banned Books Week? When is it?

    Banned Books Week - - celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

    The most recent report of books being challenged and banned in schools and libraries, the 2010 BBW (Banned Books Week) Resource Guide (actually titled Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read), which lists book titles that were asked to be removed from schools and libraries, as well as when, where, and the reasons why, is now available from the ALA Online Store. This 2010 or the previous 2007 edition of this book might also be at your local public and/or community college library. For further assistance, see the Why was this book banned? and Perennial Question entries on the Ask the ALA Librarian Blog.

    I'm a parent looking for reading lists of good materials for my children to read this summer. Where can I start?

    ALA has many reading lists serving many different audiences and purposes as well as several annual book awards. The page that provides direct links to ALA's most well-known annual reading lists (Notable Children's Books, Best Books for Young Adults, etc) and also links to to lists of its annual book award winners, such as the Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, is ALA Library Fact Sheet 23, Recommended Reading, which is sorted by age group (children, teens, etc), at:

    Links to more reading lists and lists of book award winners, along with links to reading lists for summer reading programs at public libraries around the USA, can be found at:

    Resources on summer reading programs can be found at the Summer Reading Programs page at the ALA Professional Tips Wiki and on ALA Library Fact Sheet 17 - Library Summer Reading Programs.

    I have some books I no longer want. How can I donate them to libraries?

    ALA does not accept or distribute donations of books or any other materials. Please see ALA Library Fact Sheet 12, Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs for further assistance, including links to web sites with information on book donation programs across the country and all over the world.

    Several individual book donation organizations appear on the list compiled by this office, which can be accessed at:

    For information about possible value of older materials, the Rare Books and Manucripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL, a division of the American Library Association), has prepared a detailed brochure, Your Old Books.

    Are there any volunteer opportunities at your Annual Conference (or Midwinter Meeting)?

    Each year for the Annual Conference, the Chapter Relations Office puts together a group of student volunteers from the chapters to assist ALA staff at the conference. To qualify, each student must be a current ALA member and a member of a student chapter, and cannot have previously participated in the program. Although each school has its own selection process (i.e. random drawing, essay contest, etc.), the chosen student's name must be submitted to ALA by the group's faculty advisor. One student will be accepted per chapter.

    In exchange for working 4 hours per day at the conference, each student will receive free conference registration, housing, and a per diem for meal expenses. Transportation costs (such as airfare and cabs) are the student's responsibility. This program is only available at Annual Conference. At this time, there are no volunteer opportunities at Midwinter Meetings.

    Information about the Student-to-Staff Program is sent to the schools each year in January. Contact Don Wood with any questions.

    I am a publisher. Where can I get information on your conferences and how I can participate?

    For a list of the upcoming conferences of both the American Library Association and its state library association chapters, please see Affiliate & Chapter Planning Calendar.

    For a list of future ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference dates and locations only, please see Upcoming Conferences & Events.

    For full details on exhibiting at upcoming ALA Annual Conferences and/or Midwinter Meetings, please see the ALA Conferences and Exhibitions section of the ALA web site, at:

    What is the ALA-APA? How is it different from ALA? Did the ALA-APA's e-newsletter replace LPN, the Library Personnel News?

    The ALA Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) was created to work for better salaries, pay equity and increased status for librarians and other library workers and to certify individuals in specializations beyond the first degree. It is a legally separate entity, tied to ALA through an interlocked Board and Council. The full name is American Library Association-Allied Professional Association, the organization for the advancement of library employees.

    To find out more about ALA-APA activities, such as National Library Workers Day, and how you can get involved, visit the web site at

    LPN, or Library Personnel News, which was published by the ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR), ceased with the December 2003 issue. It was replaced in January 2004 by a monthly e-newsletter, Library Worklife: HR E-News for Today's Leaders, which is published by the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), the organization for the advancement of library employees. Library Worklife covers similar HR-related issues, such as career advancement and HR laws and practice, and includes new topics, such as certification, statistics, and work/life balance, along with a section devoted to support staff issues. See the following web pages for further assistance:

    Information about Library Worklife and subscription costs:

    How to subscribe to Library Worklife:

    How to write for Library Worklife:

    More questions? See the LW FAQ:

    What happened to the Librarian's Guide to Cyberspace?

    The Librarian's Guide to Cyberspace, the original 1990s Librarian's Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids -- which initially included a list called 50+ Great Sites for Kids and Parents which evolved into the 700+ Great Sites for Kids (whose full name was 700+ Amazing, Spectacular, Mysterious, Wonderful Web Sites for Kids and the Adults Who Care About Them) -- had become outdated, with many web site links no longer working. ALA's Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC, a division of ALA) and the ALA public relations department, the Public Information Office (PIO), revised the guide in 2004. The list of links ultimately became the Great Web Sites for Kids at and the additional information in the print brochure evolved into The Librarian's Guide to Great Web Sites for Kids brochure, which was available online as an Adobe Reader PDF. Then, a press release dated December 27, 2011, announced, ALSC's Great Websites for Kids relaunches with fresh new design:
    Great Websites for Kids (GWS), the Association for Library Service to Children's (ALSC) online website directory, has been completely redesigned. The updated site boasts a fresh and colorful kid-friendly look and interactive social media enhancements.
    There wasn't an accompanying brochure -- but in 2008, the Children & Technology Committee of ALSC developed the brochure, Navigating the 'Net With Your Kids (PDF), addressing similar issues, along with resources on social networks and cyberbullying.

    What is International Games Day? When is it?

    This year's event will be on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at libraries everywhere. See the May 11, 2014 post, Registration is live! Click here to register for IGD@yl 2014! as well as the IGD FAQ for further details and information.

    ALA's National Gaming Day, first celebrated in 2008, focuses on the social and recreational side of gaming. Gaming at the library encourages patrons of all ages to interact with diverse peers, share their expertise and develop new strategies for gaming and learning. At the library, kids can socialize with their friends and play board and video games while surrounded by books, librarians and a real world of knowledge. Use the International Games Day Contact Form with any questions.

    Additional resources include the Games and Gaming Community on ALA Connect open to both ALA members and nonmembers; the ALA Games & Gaming Round Table; the Gaming Lists & Activities by the YALSA Teen Gaming Interest Group on the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of ALA) Wiki; the Gaming page of the ALA Professional Tips Wiki; and the Recommended Games page over at ALA's At Your Library.

    I do a lot of traveling and visit libraries all over the country. What would make the visits more enjoyable would be if ALA would institute a National Library Card that I could use at any and all of them.

    This remains a popular suggestion from library users and patrons year after year. However, neither ALA nor PLA (Public Library Association, a division of ALA <>) coordinate national public library service. Please be aware that ALA is a private, professional nonprofit organization to which members--librarian personal members and library organizational members--must pay dues to belong. Not necessarily every librarian or library are members of ALA. Public libraries are overseen not by ALA, but by their State Library.

    Due to the process by which public libraries are funded, the establishment of any national reciprocal borrowing privileges is a bit more complex than you might imagine. Public libraries in the U.S. are set up under a local governance model, as the majority of funding for most public libraries comes from local taxes. On average, nationwide, local taxes are responsible for over 80% of public library funds, with 10% coming from state sources; federal interests contribute less than 1%.

    Also, there is no mechanism set up by which the materials borrowed by "national" library users and patrons could be returned to their home institutions—which are presumably a state or more away--in a timely manner. Nor is there a mechanism to ensure that these materials would be returned. Creating such a multi-state secure mechanism that would protect and secure the varied collections of all of the libraries across the country from any misuse or abuse of a national borrowing system would pose a formidable challenge.

    Over the years, public libraries have made great strides in resources sharing, through the development of inter-library lending procedures, cooperative partnerships, regional networks, and even some statewide networks. And so there are nearly twenty states that do have statewide library cards/borrowing privileges: Alaska; Colorado; Connecticut; Georgia; Hawaii; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Maryland; Michigan; Minnesota; New Mexico; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Tennessee; Texas; Wyoming.

    I just finished reading a book on your banned books list. I would like to find a summary of the reasons why this book was challenged.

    As mentioned in the Why was this book banned? and Perennial Question entries on the Ask the ALA Librarian Blog, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) maintains information on which books are challenged, and why, and regularly publishes this information every three years, most recently in the 2010 BBW (Banned Books Week) Resource Guide (which is actually titled Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read), edited by Robert P. Doyle of the Illinois Library Association. The Resource Guide publication lists challenged and banned books in alphabetical order by the author's last name, and gives the dates and places and reasons that a book was threatened with removal (challenged) and/or was removed (banned) from a library or school.

    OIF compiles annual lists of most frequently challenged books and is the ALA department that sponsors the annual Banned Books Week event held every fall, usually in the last week of September. Find out more about Banned Books Week, at:

    Doyle also puts together a free yearly brochure (and has since 2003), which can all be found as PDF files on the web site of the Illinois Library Association.

    You can use the entry for Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read at — the free online database of library catalogs all over the USA — to search via zip code for the closest public and/or community college library that has an available copy. You might also want to search availability of the previous edition, Banned Books: 2007 Resource Guide. Additional print editions can be found on the list at, Why was this book banned or challenged.

    The Resource Guide is not entirely duplicated online. However, the reasons for some of the most famous novels ever written being challenged or banned appear on the page, Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. For more information, see Researching Banned and Challenged Books, which also has some online resources.

    The information in the Resource Guide was often initially published in an issue of OIF’s Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom. Check to see if your local library subscribes to this online periodical -- or has back issues of the previous print version. In both the print and online versions, challenges to books appear in the section titled, "Targets of the censor." But please be aware that the Newsletter draws on existing news stories, so you may also be able to find information by tracking down the original news reports by searching on the book title in online periodical article databases.

    In addition, there are a number of other books that may assist you in this research. Please check with your local library about the availability of any of the books listed on the Censorship Bibliography.

    As stated on the reunion of the cast of the 1970s ABC-TV television show, Happy Days, is it true that after the airing on September 27, 1977, of the episode titled, "Hard Cover," in which the show's most popular character, Fonzie, portrayed by actor Henry Winkler, got a library card, that library card registrations by children suddenly received a dramatic increase, as much as 500%?

    Yes, as discussed in the Happy Days 30th Anniversary Reunion television special that first aired on the ABC network on February 12, 2005, the Fonzie character did encourage his buddies to get a library card (the "Hard Cover" episode already has a claim to fame as being the first episode after Fonzie, ahem, "jumped the shark" in the season's three-part opener), but the American Library Association has been unable to document an increase in signups of the magnitude suggested by Winkler. Only a few states track the number of library cards held with any reliability, and there is no report in ALA's American Libraries or in any other library press periodical telling of a surge in signups in the months following the episode.

    The number of library cards in the United States is one statistic that wasn't collected for the Public Libraries in the United States federal survey series by the Institute of Museum and Library Services until the FY2008 (2010) edition. No such numbers appear in The Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac for that year or any other. There's a hesitation to collect and present such numbers, due to the fact that the accuracy of them would vary from library to library.

    For example, ALA publishes its own annual public library survey through its Public Library Association (PLA, a division of ALA), the Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report, which is conducted on a random sampling of about 1,000 public libraries all over the US, of various population served sizes and locations. The survey questionnaire does ask each library to provide its number of "library registrations" but with the caveat: "Report this figure only if the library has purged its file at least once within the last three years. If not, indicate by putting N/A in the space." Many of the participating libraries, which are individually named in the report, do provide a number, but dozens of them do not. Patrons move away, or pass away, and citizens are under no obligation, legal or otherwise, to inform public libraries of their own or a relative's status and its effect on the library’s number of registrations.

    In short, there is no way to prove--or disprove--the statement.

    Winkler, part of the Auditorium Speaker Series at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference, having previously provided the keynote speech at the closing session of ALA's 2005 Annual Conference, has spoken before of what he has overcome to become successful in his chosen profession, and he is obviously passionate about inspiring others, especially children, through literacy.

    For more information, see the article, From the Desk of Norman Lear: The Fonz, Drunk Drivers, and Trash, available from the Environmental Media Association, and the Happy Days Wikipedia entry. Also see the Entertainment Education and Health in the United States article that appeared in the Spring 2004 Issue Brief of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Where can I buy a copy of the Dewey Decimal System?

    The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system is published by OCLC. For full information on both the book and online versions of the DDC, please see:

    Also see ALA Library Fact Sheet 18 - How to Acquire Cataloging Tools, scrolling down to the section titled Classification.

    A list of some of the libraries around the world that are using Dewey Decimal Classification can be found at Online DDC Catalogs.

    I've been reading in the newspapers about library closings. Is there anything I can do to help?

    Absolutely! Support for America's libraries is vital and that's what @ your library - The Campaign for America's Libraries is all about. Advocacy for libraries is important as funding cuts continue across the country--see Funding News @ your library for the latest news reports. Do not hesitate to contact the Campaign at with any questions.

    For further information and guidance, definitely contact ALA's new Office for Library Advocacy (OLA). Find out more about OLA from the ALA Marginalia blog post, OLA: The First 100 Days.

    Also see the ALA Library Fact Sheet 24 - Library Fund Raising: A Selected Annotated Bibliography for further assistance.

    I'd like to present a program at your next conference. / I'd like to suggest a speaker for your next conference. How do I go about doing so?

    Programs are held only at the Annual Conference. Please be aware that at the American Library Association, most programming for the annual conference is completed by membership committees who prepare the programs and have them approved at the prior annual conference. The best way to work with these groups is to investigate which ALA division, office, or round table fits closest with your presentation's subject matter. Then you would contact that division or office or round table for details on contributing to their program at the conference. Within ALA, these various departments focus on the different types of libraries or on specific aspects of librarianship. See this question for the lists of the ALA divisions, offices, and round tables that are on the ALA website.

    Some of the ALA units send press releases announcing their calls for proposals of programs and presentations. The most recent such press releases have been collected at at

    If you are an author and wish to participate in the Annual Conference, first contact your publisher, which may already be a longtime ALA Annual Conference exhibitor with a booth for scheduled author signings and presentations. If you work with a publisher where that is not the case, see the section Exhibiting/Arrange to Have Your Book Displayed at a Trade Show on ALA Library Fact Sheet 5 - Marketing to Libraries for some other options.

    How can I learn about doing public relations for my library?

    The Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA, a division of the American Library Association), sponsors programs, publications, etc., pertinent to your needs. See specifically its Public Relations and Marketing Section.

    ALA's public relations department, the Public Information Office (PIO <>), manages the public awareness efforts of the Association through the Campaign for America's Libraries, delivering key messages to external audiences about the value of libraries and librarians. Join PIO's Electronic Discussion lists, such as PR Talk or Library Advocacy Now! And see PIO's Visibility @ your library Blog for the latest tips, news, and information, at:

    In addition, the Library Media & PR web site by Stephanie Stokes provides public relations information and opportunities.

    See the following pages of the ALA Professional Tips Wiki by the ALA Library for additional resources and further assistance, especially recent publications and online articles:



    Public Relations

    And see the book, article, and online resources compiled by the ALA Library on this subject at the web site, at:

    What is El día de los niños/El día de los libros--Children's Day/Book Day?

    El día de los niños/El día de los libros--Children's Day/Book Day--is celebrated every year on April 30. Information about the event can be found on the ALA web site, at:

    As explained on About Día, Children's Day/Book Day, also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Día), is a celebration of children, families, and reading held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

    Día is an enhancement of Children’s Day, which began in 1925. Children’s Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. In 1996, nationally acclaimed children’s book author Pat Mora proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy to found El día de los niños/El día de los libros.

    Additional ideas and resources are available on Pat Mora's web site, at:

    What is the "e-rate?"

    E-rate is the popular name for a far-sighted extension of Universal Service authorized by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This federal initiative provides discounts to public libraries and to public and private K-12 schools on telecommunications services, Internet access and some closely related costs, such as inside wiring. The discounts range from 20% to 90% with the deepest discounts going to those communities with the greatest need based upon the local eligibility levels for participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

    The E-rate has played a pivotal role in helping libraries connect their users to the Internet. Today more than 95% of our nation's libraries offer Internet access to the public. This is compared to 1996 when 28% of library systems that offered public access to the Internet in at least one branch. With more than $350 million in discounts since 1998, the E-rate has helped change the public library's information technology landscape.

    For more information, please see the E-Rate and Universal Service web page from ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP).

    What are the proper steps to take in cleaning up a library after a disaster?

    For tips on how to clean up following a natural or other disaster, please see the resources noted on ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 10 - Disaster Resources: A Selected Annotated Bibliography.

    If your area has been declared a federal disaster area, the web site of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will have additional information for you. Also, see the web sites of the American Red Cross and use, the official web portal of all U.S. Government agencies.

    What--and when--is Teen Read Week?

    Teen Read Week-- next be celebrated October 12-18, 2014. The theme: Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library

    Teen Read Week is an initiative of ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA, a division of ALA) started in 1998 that celebrates teen and young adult reading for enjoyment.

    During Teen Read Week, the winners of the Teens' Top Ten-- announced. Teens' Top Ten is a "teen choice" list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year! Nominators are members of teen book groups in fifteen school and public libraries around the country. Nominations are posted on Support Teen Literature Day during National Library Week, and teens across the country vote on their favorite titles each year.

    Find out future Teen Read Week dates.

    If I have feedback about the site, how can I send the feedback to ALA?

    ALA is very interested in hearing what our members and site visitors have to say about our web site. We have established an e-mail box for this purpose. To provide feedback on this site, you may complete the Feedback Form online.

    For comments or questions about ALA and its work, please use

    What is National Library Workers Day? When is it?

    National Library Workers Day (NLWD) will next be celebrated on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

    National Library Workers Day (NLWD) is an opportunity to celebrate the people who make libraries work, because "Libraries Work Because We Do." On the Tuesday of National Library Week, libraries host events that recognize the value, variety of responsibilities and contributions of library employees.

    Events have included parties sponsored by friends groups or trustees, bulletin boards with profiles of library staff so patrons can get to know them better, and personalized handmade "I appreciate you" cards given out by staff to one another. More ideas about how to publicize and celebrate can be found on the NLWD page on the ALA-APA web site, at:

    Where can I find a copy of the copyright notice to place on copiers?

    The copyright warning notice which should be placed on library photocopiers and other machines capable of duplication comes from the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress, which is online at:

    The entire statement can be found in Circular 21, Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, of the Copyright Office, which appears online as an Adobe Reader PDF (Portable Document Format) document, at:

    In Circular 21, the copyright warning notice appears on page 20 of the 24-page PDF document; the paragraphs above and below the notice itself provide guidelines as to use and placement.

    In light of certain events, how can I expedite information requests within the framework of state confidentiality laws?

    Librarians are encouraged to study and understand state confidentiality laws and to cooperate with the authorities within the guidelines provided by these laws. Librarians have a responsibility to protect the privacy of our patrons while responding to legitimate national security concerns.

    Please see the Questions and Answers on Privacy and Confidentiality web page from ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom. This statement includes links to key policy documents prepared by the American Library Association.

    Who is the author of the ALA website? When did the site begin?

    ALA began its public electronic era in the 1988-89 fiscal year, when several staff were provided "bitnet" accounts, courtesy of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). On May 12, 1991, the first subscription-based electronic list--ALCTS Network News (AN2)--was launched (AN2 was discontinued in 2002). More accounts and many more e-lists followed.

    In July 1994, ALA launched a Gopher, using the server at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There is a review of the Gopher service in the March 1995 American Libraries.

    On March 21, 1996, ALA moved to its own server, and began the process of migrating the material on the Gopher to the web site, All units were provided "space" on the Gopher ... and the web. This space has become increasingly sophisticated as units have gained expertise in web presentation of material of interest to our members, prospective members, and others who have an interest in the mission of the ALA.

    In the fall of 2001, ALA Information Technology and Telecommunications Services (ITTS) Unit has contracted with a content management firm to assist in the redevelopment of the site. This "new" website launched April 7, 2003. It is the product of over 100 web content developers, and there is no single "webmaster."

    The ALA web is funded by the general ALA budget, with much of the developmental support coming from individual unit funds (for the staff involved in preparing the web pages or for outside contractors hired). In some cases, members directly support the web development as part of their volunteer work for the Association when they prepare pages--or even maintain whole linked websites. The web--with its nearly 40,000 pages--is continuously updated

    The main ALA URL -- -- remains the same as it has been since we first launched a website. Many division, round tables and office URLs also transferred to the new site. There are, however, many underlying addresses or URLs that will be changed in the transition. Enhanced search features and a detailed site maps are available in the new site to assist members and visitors in finding information.

    During the week of January 19, 2004, URLs on ALA's Web site were shortened to enhance the site's usability and allow users to refer to its pages more easily in print and other publications. This change to the site's structure did not affect any existing references to the longer URLs found on the site previously. All "old" URLs will automatically "redirect" to new ones, so that if you have bookmarked one of our pages, referred to it in print, or linked to it from somewhere else on the Web, you will be automatically redirected to the appropriate content.

    The most recent changes to the ALA Web Site, taking place from 2007 on through 2008, have been extensively tracked and duly reported by Karen Muller, ALA Librarian and Knowledge Manager, in the ALA Marginalia Blog in the ALA Web Site category.

    The ALA Web Advisory Committee provides general oversight for ALA's web-based activities.

    Has the American Library Association made any statements about the government actions in the area of terrorism?

    On October 26, 2001, Congress passed the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" (USA Patriot Act) This law broadly expands the powers of federal law enforcement agencies investigating cases involving foreign intelligence and international terrorism. See The USA PATRIOT Act from ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) for further information and guidance.

    What are the 2014 ALA officer election results?

    ALA's 2014 election results have been posted at ALA Election Information.

    The ALA election process begins with the preparation of the slate of candidates by the ALA Nominating Committee; there are also nominating committees in each of the divisions, sections of divisions, and the round tables. These slates are reported to the appropriate governing boards during the Midwinter Meeting.

    Once candidates are notified of the results, the Election Committee's report is posted to the website.

    How can I find my closest public library?

    Use the Find a library near you! box in the upper right corner of the At Your Library web site, which asks you to: Enter your zip code.

    Where can I get information about CIPA, the Children's Internet Protection Act?

    ALA's historical CIPA pages have been rebuilt and can now be found at The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Use the re-established shortcut URL:

    What--and when--is Teen Tech Week?

    Teen Tech Week will next be celebrated March 8-14, 2015.

    Teen Tech Week is a national initiative aimed at teens, librarians, educators, parents, and other concerned adults, and is meant to encourage teens to take advantage of libraries' nonprint resources.

    Teen Tech Week promotional materials, including bookmarks and posters, are available at the ALA Online Store. The event is sponsored by ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA, a division of ALA <>).

    For more details, see Teen Tech Week debuted March 4-10, 2007.

    What do I do if there was something on your old site but I can't find it on the site now?

    We recommend that you try using our new (Google-powered) Search tool on the toolbar above to find the page, which has been customized for this current version of the ALA web site to give you quick and accurate on-site results -- and is more accurate than using at this point.

    Also, some search strategies are suggested in the October 21, 2008 Marginalia blog post, Using ALA's Website.

    Can you give me some tips on searching your site effectively? How may I obtain assistance with navigating the website?

    This site's Google Search Appliance uses the standard Boolean search operators AND, OR and NOT to help you refine your search.

    To gain navigation assistance by phone, contact ALA at (800) 545-2433, press 3 to reach the ALA Library, or send an e-mail to

    How do I set up a library?

    Please see the web page compiled by the ALA Library on this subject, ALA Library Fact Sheet 16 - Setting Up a Library: A Resource Guide. The web page is divided into sections for a handful of library types: public library, academic (college or university) library, church or synagogue library, and home and family library.

    Other library types have their own pages: Fact Sheet 16a is Setting Up an International Library: A Resource Guide. Fact Sheet 16b is Setting Up a School Library: A Resource Guide. Fact Sheet 16c is Setting Up a Special Library: A Resource Guide.

    Are there any resources or guidance for libraries regarding flu preparedness?

    As mentioned in the Ask the ALA Library Flu Preparedness question, the ALA Library has compiled a detailed list of contacts and resources at Pandemic Preparedness, which includes a list of topics to include in an individual library policy.

    General information on disaster readiness and preparedness appears on ALA Library Fact Sheet 10 - Disaster Response: A Selected Annotated Bibliography, which includes resources for developing a plan to protect collections from natural and other disasters.

    My company would like to partner with the American Library Association on a project for libraries across the country. Who do I talk to about this?

    ALA provides a choice of Marketing & Advertising Opportunities. ALA also has a page addressing Frequently Asked Questions from Authors and Publishers.

    To speak with ALA about a project in collaboration with your company, please see Partnership Opportunities and please complete the Request for Collaboration form. Once you have submitted the form, a small administrative team shares your program proposal with the appropriate unit or units. This is the first step to planning a meeting to discuss ways to work together.

    The ALA Development Office provides information on corporate giving options, including Corporate Support and the ALA Library Champions program.

    Where can I find information on ICONnect? Does it still exist? I've come across a lot of broken links for it.

    ALA's ICONNect/KidsConnect program, from our American Association of School Librarians (AASL, a division of ALA), began back in 1996 and formally ended in 2000.

    Some of the program information was retained and can now be found on the web site at:
    KCTools --
    Contact AASL at with any further questions.