International Relations Office (IRO)

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




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

Call for ALA Representative to U.S. National Commission of UNESCOThe International Relations Committee is seeking qualified individuals to serve as a representative to UNESCO for a two-year term (eligible for one term reappointment). The service term will be from September 1, 2016 to August 31, this critical role.


Nominations are being sought for an ALA Representative to the American Library in ParisThe International Relations Committee announces a call for nominations for ALA Representative to the Board of Trustees of the American Library in Paris. This two-year appointment would begin in June 2016. 


Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award for International LibrarianshipThe award consists of a prize of $1,000 and a certificate. All nominations should include, as appropriate, personal history or curriculum vitae, with emphasis on achievements related to international librarianship; bibliography, critical reviews, articles, etc.; and letters seconding the nomination or other letters of commendation or appreciation. DEADLINE: January 31


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. View the March 2015 issue.


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)


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 17th year to provide support for ALA members to attend the 29th Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) from November 26 - December 4, 2016. For a list of exhibitors at the book fair, please visit the Guadalajara Book Fair site. (opens in a new window)

International Events and Conferences - Current list of events and conferences throughout the world. If you wish to include an international event, please send an email to

IFLA's ​82nd Annual Conference - The 82nd IFLA General Conference and Assembly, will take place in Columbus, Ohio, USA, August 13-19, 2016. 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.

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. Click on "List of lists"
  4. Click on ALAWORLD
  5. Select “Subscribe”

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)


Facebook, Twitter, and Weblogs

Follow the International Relations Office on Facebook and for recent updates on Twitter. (opens a new window)

****También puede seguirnos en nuestra página de Twitter en español. ****


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


ALA Weblog Service - This blog automatically aggregates all posts from all other ALA blogs. This allows you to easily track everything that is posted on this system. (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 IRRT's 60th Anniversary Celebration. (opens a new window)



Michael Dowling - Director
Tel: 312.280.3200 / 800.545.2433, ext. 3200

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