International Relations Office (IRO)

International Relations Office IRO Logo

50 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611-2795
International Phone: +1 312-280-3201
Inside USA: 1-800-545-2433 ext. 3201
Fax: +1 312-280-4392


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The mission of the International Relations Office (IRO) is to increase ALA's presence in the global library community, to implement ALA policies concerning international librarianship, to promote greater understanding of international librarianship and international library issues within ALA, and to manage international library activities on behalf of the ALA.

To accomplish its mission the IRO coordinates ALA activities in support of official ALA delegations to international events such as book fairs and congresses; promotes international library exchanges and partnerships; recruits international librarians to become members of ALA and attend ALA conferences; responds to international inquiries concerning library issues and activities in the United States; serves as a point of contact for ALA's routine communication with international organizations to which ALA belongs, including IFLA; and provides support for the ALA International Relations Committee (IRC) and the International Relations Round Table (IRRT).


Initiatives, Projects & Highlights

ALA-FIL Free Pass Program - Application now open for the 2017 ALA-FIL Free Pass program. Deadline: September 8, 2017.


International Award Opportunities - The American Library Association is accepting applications for the 2017 Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award for International Librarianship.


ALA 2015 International Strategic Plan (PDF File)  (Word File)- Adopted by the International Relations Committee (IRC) and the International Relations Round Table (IRRT) during ALA's Annual Conference in New Orleans.


IRRT Free Links Project - An Emerging Leaders Project providing access to free professional development opportunities for ALA members around the world. (opens in a new window)


Subscribe to International AL Direct! - International AL Direct focuses on ALA’s international members and those interested in international issues and trends, featuring news about libraries and librarians around the world.

Oversight Groups

International Relations Committee (Standing, Council) - IRC sets ALA priorities in the international area, promoting a global exchange of ideas, knowledge, personnel, and literature. Committee members represent Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Eurasia and Central Asia, Near East and South Asia, Europe and the Americas.

International Relations Round Table - IRRT is your link to ALA. Round table members organize international programs for ALA Conferences, sponsors international discussion lists, match sister libraries, and produce the quarterly International Leads newsletter.



International Events & Meetings

ALA-FIL Free Pass Program - ALA and the Guadalajara International Book Fair are partnering for the 18th year to provide support for ALA members to attend the 31st Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) from November 25 - December 6, 2017. For a list of exhibitors at the book fair, please visit the Guadalajara Book Fair site. (opens in a new window)


IFLA's 83rd Annual Conference - The 83rd IFLA General Conference and Assembly, will take place in Wroclaw, Poland, August 19-25, 2018. The ALA membership number to use for your IFLA Conference registration is US-0002.  (opens a new window)

Popular Resources

  • IFLA Website - The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.(opens a new window)
  • Campaign for the World's Libraries - The Campaign for the World's Libraries is a public education campaign of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the American Library Association and libraries around the world to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. It is designed to showcase the unique and vital roles played by public, school, academic and special libraries worldwide. Join today! (opens a new window)


ALA International Resolutions

International Resolutions - The American Library Association deplores the destruction of libraries, library collections and property, and the disruption of the educational process by that act, whether it be done by individuals or groups of individuals and whether it be in the name of honest dissent, the desire to control or limit thought or ideas, or for any other purpose. (ALA Policy 53.7 Intellectual Freedom- Destruction of Libraries)

Social Networking

ALA Connect

ALA has replaced the old Online Communities service with ALA Connect, offers a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. Any member can create new communities (unofficial ALA groups) without any staff assistance, so the site will combine association work with communities of interest in one place. Learn more about ALA Connect

Wikis (following pages will open in a new window)

  • International Relations Round Table (IRRT) - This wiki is one tool that seems ideally suited to help the Executive Board and committee chairs share ideas, draft documents and collaborate without endless email exchanges. It is hoped that as members edit documents they will find this wiki a valuable forum where all can participate in a collegial atmosphere.
  • Sister Libraries Initiative - To promote the concept of a global community of libraries, the American Library Association (ALA) is encouraging U.S. libraries to form partnerships with libraries in other countries.


Discussion Lists (following pages will open in a new window)

International Discussion Lists - List of international discussion groups and listservs.

ALAWorld (IRRT) - The purpose of the ALAWorld Listserv is to foster international cooperation and understanding between libraries by providing a forum for sharing news, including educational and exchange opportunities, about libraries around the world and international entities affecting libraries.

Subscription instructions:

  1. Go to (opens a new window)
  2. Click on “Login” (First time users will need to get a password)
  3. On "Seach for lists", type ALAWORLD
  4. Select “Subscribe” from the left-hand menu

SYMPA-ALA Mailing List Service - This server provides you access to ALA's mailing lists.  You can perform subscription options, unsubscription, archives, and list management. (First time users will need to get a password)


Weblogs and pictures

IRRTBlogspot - Engage, Communicate, Participate! (opens a new window)

Flickr - Take a look at some of the pictures that our members have taken throughout the years, including the International Librarians Reception and the presentation of the ALA Presidential Innovative Awards. (opens a new window)



Michael Dowling
Tel: 312.280.3200 / 800.545.2433, ext. 3200

Delin Guerra
Program Officer
Tel: 312.280.3201 / 800.545.2433, ext. 3201