About ALA

ALA Logo that reads, "ALA American Library Association"   

Mission | Divisions | ALA Offices | ALA Officers | Executive Board

The American Library Association—the oldest, largest, and most influential library association in the world—was founded in 1876 in Philadelphia and later chartered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The ALA has almost 60,000 members, including librarians, library trustees, and other interested people from every state and many nations. The association serves public, state, school, and academic libraries, as well as special libraries for people working in government, commerce and industry, the arts, and the armed services or in hospitals, prisons, and other institutions.


The ALA’s mission 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.”

Headquartered in Chicago, the ALA is governed by an elected Council, which is its policy-making body, and an Executive Board, which acts for the Council in the administration of established policies and programs. In this context, the Executive Board is the body that manages the affairs of the Association, delegating management of the Association’s day-to-day operation to the executive director. The ALA also has 37 standing committees, designated as committees of the Association or of the Council. The Association’s operations are directed by the executive director and implemented by staff through a structure of programmatic offices and support units.

The ALA is home to 11 membership divisions, each focused on a type of library or library function, and 18 round tables for members who share interests that lie outside the scope of any of the divisions. A network of affiliates, chapters, and other organizations enables the ALA to reach a broad audience.

Key action areas include diversity, equitable access to information and library services, education and lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, advocacy for libraries and the profession, literacy, and organizational excellence.

The ALA is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization.

Mission | Divisions | ALA Offices | ALA Officers | Executive Board


The ALA’s member divisions are:

Mission | Divisions | ALA Offices | ALA Officers | Executive Board

ALA Offices   

The Association’s offices address the broad interests and issues of concern to ALA members; they track issues and provide information, services, and products for members and the general public. Current ALA offices are:

*The OGR and the OITP are housed at the ALA’s Washington Office; the others are located in Chicago.

Mission | Divisions | ALA Offices | ALA Officers | Executive Board

ALA Officers 2010–2011   

Photo of Molly Raphael

Molly Raphael
Retired Director
Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon

Photo of Maureen Sullivan

Maureen Sullivan
Organization Development Consultant
Annapolis, Maryland

Photo of Roberta Stevens

Immediate Past-President
Roberta A. Stevens
Outreach Projects and Partnerships Officer
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Photo of James Neal

James Neal
Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian
Columbia University, New York

Photo of Keith Michael Fiels

Executive Director
Keith Michael Fiels
ALA Headquarters

Mission | Divisions | ALA Offices | ALA Officers | Executive Board

Executive Board   

Photo of Dora Ho

Dora Ho
Los Angeles Public Library

Photo of Patricia Hogan

Patricia M. Hogan
Poplar Creek Public Library District
Streamwood, Illinois

Photo of Stephen Matthews

Stephen L. Matthews
Foxcroft School
Middleburg, Virginia

Photo of Sylvia Norton

Sylvia Norton
Florida State University

Photo of Michael Porter

Michael Porter
Library Renewal
Seattle, Washington

Photo of Kevin Reynolds

Kevin Reynolds
The University of the South
Sewanee, Tennessee

Photo of J. Linda Williams

J. Linda Williams
Anne Arundel County Public Schools
Crofton, Maryland

Photo of Courtney Young

Courtney L. Young
Penn State Greater Allegheny
McKeesport, Pennsylvania