Lists of Libraries
ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 3
Companies and products listed in this fact sheet are named for informational purposes only. ALA does not endorse specific products or companies. Contact companies directly for further information.
A directory of all libraries in the United States does not exist. The closest approximation of such a publication is the American Library DirectoryTM 2011-2012, the latest (65th) edition of an annual two-volume set published by Information Today, Inc.
Volume 1 lists public, academic, and special libraries in the United States, sorted alphabetically by state (with each state's listing sorted alphabetically by city).
Volume 2 lists public, academic, and special libraries in Canada, and also lists:
- Library networks, consortia, and other cooperative library organizations
- Library and information studies programs (both graduate and undergraduate) at colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada
- Libraries for the blind and physically handicapped
- Libraries serving the deaf and hearing impaired
- State and provincial public library agencies
- State school library agencies
- United States armed forces libraries overseas
Volume 2 also includes organization and personnel indexes for all of the libraries within the publication.
Individual library entries in the American Library Directory provide names of staff and contact information, with the library's address, phone number, fax number, and web site address and e-mail address, if applicable, as well as information about the library's finances, population served, and holdings.
The American Library Directory is available as the American Library Directory Online - for which there is a 14-day free trial available - and includes the contact information indicated above, including the e-mail address, if provided, at:
Mailing lists from the American Library Directory are available from Infogroup | Edith Roman.
The American Library Directory does not include school libraries. A directory of all school libraries in the U.S. does not exist; however, directories of schools (the vast majority of which have libraries) include Patterson's American Education, Patterson's Elementary Education, and Patterson's Schools Classified, which are published by Educational Directories Inc.
Many states have produced local directories of libraries. Contact your local state library for more information; a public library or an academic library in your area can give you the phone number of your local state library. The federal office for libraries and museums in the United States, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has the page, State Programs: State Libraries. Or see the State Library Web Sites web page compiled by the State of Wisconsin. The Library of Congress discontinued its own list of state library web sites and now re-directs visitors to the State Libraries & Archives list maintained at the PublicLibraries.com web site.
As you might expect, a directory of all libraries in the world does not exist. However, several reference sources provide lists of international libraries. You may be able to find one or more of these publications in your local school or public library.
- The World Guide to Libraries 2013 is the closest approximation of a list of all the libraries in the world. This two-volume set by Walter de Gruyter, Inc. is in its 27th edition, and has entries for 42,500 libraries - public libraries, academic libraries, and national libraries, as well as various types of special libraries, including corporate and business libraries, ecclesiastical libraries, and government libraries - in more than 200 countries (including the United States), in alphabetical order by country. Available are mailing lists from the publication.
- The International Literary Market PlaceTM, subtitled The Directory of the International Book Publishing Industry, from Information Today, Inc. does contain a section named Major Libraries with the description: The majority of the libraries and archives listed are those associated with government or educational institutions. Many are also involved in publishing activities.
- The Europa World of Learning, by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, has a broader scope, and lists over 30,000 educational institutions for over 180 countries (including the United States), including libraries, universities, colleges, museums, art galleries, archives, research institutes, and societies and associations.
- The Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers is a multi-volume set published by Gale, Cengage Learning, which reports on over 35,000 special libraries around the world (including those located in the United States), and lists corporate and business libraries, as well as those libraries, archives, and information centers operating out of nonprofit associations, government agencies, educational institutions, and newspapers. Find out how to access this publication online through the Gale Directory Library (PDF). Mailing lists and an e-list of library e-mail addresses from this publication is available from Mardev-DM2.
Several companies and groups sell mailing lists and labels which may be arranged and sorted in a variety of ways.
Mailing lists of the American Library Association (ALA) membership are available for rental. The membership lists include nearly 40,000 personal and organizational members active in various special interest ALA divisions and ALA round tables. Full details are provided at ALA Mail List Rental. For more information, contact ALA directly (Maribeth Chapman – Mailing Lists American Library Association 50 East Huron Street Chicago, IL 60611-2195; telephone: 1-800-545-2433, extensions 2460 or 1-312-280-2460; fax: 1-312-280-2438; e-mail: email@example.com).
Please be aware that not every library and librarian in the United States are members of the American Library Association. See the companies below for more comprehensive lists.
Library mailing lists and labels are also available from the following companies:
- Consolidated Mailing Service
- Educational Directories Inc.
- Infogroup | Edith Roman. Handles mailing list rentals for the public, academic, and special libraries listed in the American Library Directory.
- Market Data Retrieval
- School Market Research Institute
- The Special Libraries Association (SLA) sells mailing lists of its members: SLA Mailing Lists (PDF)
ALA does not make available any lists of member e-mail addresses.
An e-list of library e-mail addresses from the Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers as well as an e-list of e-mail addresses from the IBIS Worldwide Academic & Library File are both available for purchase from Mardev-DM2.
To contact specific libraries via e-mail, find the library's web site, by using an Internet directory such as Yahoo! or the Google Directory, and search for an e-mail address on the site:
Yahoo! -- Libraries
Go directly to the list of Yahoo! United States Public Libraries.
Also, many of the state library web sites have online lists of the libraries in their states. So, once again, the federal office for libraries and museums in the United States, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has the page, State Programs: State Libraries. Or see the State Library Web Sites web page compiled by the State of Wisconsin or the State Libraries & Archives list maintained at the PublicLibraries.com web site.
NOTE: Previous versions of this fact sheet can be accessed via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine using the original URL <http://www.ala.org/library/fact3.html>.
Last updated: October 2012
For more information on this or other fact sheets, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.