History of the Public Library Association

Formation

The formation of the "Division of Public Libraries" of the American Library Association was approved by ALA Council in 1944, following petitions signed by nearly 1,200 members (ALA Handbook, December 1, 1944, and ALA Bulletin, September, 1945.)

Mission

The original mission of the division was "to advance public library interests and to cooperate in the promotion of library service in general." (ALA Handbook, December 1, 1944).

Dues

Original dues were established as 20 percent of the dues paid to ALA, not to exceed $2.00 (ALA Handbook, December 1, 1944).

President

First PLA President was Amy Winslow, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Library (ALA Handbook, December 1, 1944).

View the list of all Past Presidents from 1944 to present.

Executive Secretary

First PLA Executive Secretary (now titled Executive Director) was Julia Wright Merrill (ALA Handbook, December 1 1944).

Journal

Public Libraries, the official journal of the Public Library Association, commenced publication in January, 1947. The first editor was Muriel E. Perry, Decatur (Ill.) Public Library (Public Libraries, Vol. 1, No.1, January, 1947).

National Conference

PLA's First National Conference, with the theme "Serving People: Public Libraries Today and Tomorrow," was presented March 23–26, 1983, in Baltimore, Md. The conference chair was Charles W. Robinson.

View the list of all PLA Conferences from 1983 to present.