ALAHead to 2010

ALA Chronology—Arranged by ALA Priority and Key Action Areas

The ALA Chronology (pdf) is a work in progress, created to support ongoing work by both ALA members and staff.  It includes ALA "milestones" beginning in 1876 and continuing to the present.  It is updated sporadically - as the press of other work permits.  The most recent intensive update period was October 2003.  All suggestions are welcome.  Send suggestions, corrections, sources, and additional milestones to Mary Ghikas, ALA Senior Associate Executive Director at  The following language - included at the beginning of the chronology - provides an introduction:

This chart is about context - about seeing how the Association's present policies evolved, how the threads of a complex history wove together and impacted each other, how boundaries shifted and expanded.  It is intended as a tool for members and staff.

It is organized by ALA's present Key Action Areas - plus those Priority Areas in Policy 1.3 which do not substantially overlap Key Action Areas.  International Relations was added, reflecting present reality - and policy 58.1.  The scope of each area is given as defined in current policy or formal documents.  Related issue terms were listed as they appeared in various documents and records.  In adding "milestones" the focus was on those actions and policy decisions which illustrated the growth of Association policies, showing changing boundaries and concepts.  In response to initial feedback, an 11th column is currently being added, tracing the milestones in the Association's organizational and governance growth.

Many people - both members and staff - contributed to this summary.  Thank you.  Many continuing contributions will be necessary to fill the gaps and to maintain a "live" file as new actions take place, new policies are determined.  Send contributions to Mary Ghikas ( ), the present keeper of the spreadsheet.  As we develop this, the intent is to make the underlying ALA documents easily accessible to members and staff.  We are exploring various means of making it easy for members and staff to consult as needed. 

 The document is created in MS Excel(r).  It can be printed - landscape, on legal-size paper, currently 36 pages.