Professional Tools

A-Z Topics

This index is a guide to frequently requested information on the website of the American Library Association.  The topic links go to the most relevant information and resources covered in

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


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Fact Sheets

The ALA Library receives inquiries from librarians across the country and around the world, as well as from the general public, on a wide variety of library topics. We have prepared fact sheets on the most asked-about topics, as noted below.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 23 - Recommended Reading
Direct links to ALA's various reading lists and its lists of literary recognition and book award winners, sorted by age group.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 13 - The Nation's Largest Public Libraries: Top 25 Rankings
Lists the top 25 public libraries in the United States by population served, by library collection, by circulation, and by library visits.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 16 - Setting Up A Library: A Resource Guide
Bibliography of periodical, book, and website resources for general information about starting a library, with some specific resources for Academic, Church/Synagogue, Home/Family and Public libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 6 - Public Library Use
Lists the recent studies that document public library use by patrons, which include the opinions that patrons have about public libraries.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 12 - Sending Books to Needy Libraries: Book Donation Programs
Lists resources for finding the various groups and organizations that accept book donations for distribution in the United States as well as in countries overseas.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 22 - The Nation's Largest Libraries. A Listing By Volumes Held
Tally of the 100 largest libraries in the United States, in order by size of each library's collection.

ALA Library Fact Sheet 1 - Number of Libraries in the United States
Number of libraries in the U.S. broken down by type of library.

More Fact Sheets


ALA and its divisions have published several guidelines and standards. Here you'll find guidelines for accreditation and standards for library staff and personnel.

ALA Standards & Guidelines

ALA Standards Manual



Professional Tips Wiki

For over 85 years, staff members of the American Library Association (ALA) Library have provided reference service not only to their ALA Headquarters colleagues but also to hundreds of librarians across the country and around the world. The primary mission of the ALA Library is to help the staff of the American Library Association serve ALA members, and thereafter, the needs of the members of ALA, other libraries, and members of the public seeking information on librarianship. The ALA Library is a small special library with a collection that focuses exclusively on the history of and issues within libraries and librarianship. The Library's staff will respond to reference and information requests in accordance with this mission and collection scope.

While we do answer questions from the general public, we prefer that questions that do not pertain to librarianship and the interest areas of the American Library Association become part of the 7.2+ million reference questions answered by our colleagues in school, public, academic and other special libraries.

This wiki serves several purposes:

  • Providing a pathfinder to the rich resources ALA website,
  • Gathering our responses to your questions
  • Enabling the library community to share new resources for getting our jobs done