Transforming Libraries


The first children’s room in a library is established. The public Library of Brookline (Mass.) set aside an unused room in its basement for a children's reading-room.


The first library record collection was establish in St. Paul, Minnesota.

However, it was not until 1923 that the first circulating record collection was established in Springfield, Mass.



The ALA Executive Board appointed the Committee on Mobilization and War Service Plans (later the War Service Committee). ALA undertook to supply books and periodicals to military personnel, at home and overseas. The initial campaign raised $1M for camp libraries, as well as including a book drive.

This Committee accepted an invitation from the War Department's Commission on Training Camp Activities to provide library service to the U.S. soldiers and sailors in America, France, and other locations.


ALA opened a library for American military personnel in Paris during 1918. This library was later established (1920) as the American Library in Paris

"During the closing years of World War I, when the United States entered the conflict, hundreds of American libraries launched the Library War Service, a massive project to send books to the doughboys fighting in the trenches - by the Armistice, nearly a million and a half books.


ALA opened a library for American military personnel in Paris during 1918. This library was later established (1920) as the American Library in Paris

In response to pressure from Americans in Paris, ALA agreed to leave the books and equipment, and to provide a $25,000 "endowment," to continue the wartime library in Paris.


The first ALA round table met to encourage library patron diversity, " ALA's Work with Negroes Round Table". The round table was began to examine the state of equitable access to library materials for African-Americans.  The round table continued for  two years before being disbanded. Tensions flared between librarians in the north and the south causing the ALA to suspend the round table.


Thomas Fountain Blue was the first African-American to head a public library system. In 1921, he became the first African-American to speak at an ALA program.

"The Reverend Thomas F. Blue, the nation’s first African-American to head a public library, was a respected leader in the civic, religious, and educational life of the Louisville black community.


ALA organizes "Library-21" a futuristic exhibit, at the Seattle World's Fair.


ALA sponsors Library USA exhibit at the 1964 and 1965 New York World's Fair


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 and held annually on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for every child regardless of linguistic and cultural background. Through several grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) continues to increase public awareness of the event in libraries throughout the country.