Details of ALA History

A more detailed history of the American Library Association, highlighting important events that have occurred over the years, by both topic and decade.

ALA History by Topic

Since the beginning ALA has focused on a wide variety of issues facing libraries, librarians and the people attending libraries.  Our current strategic plan, ALA Ahead to 2015, calls for continued work in many of the areas ALA has traditionally focused on.  See the history of ALA's work in these areas: Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession, Diversity, Education and Lifelong Learning, Equitable Access to Information and Library Services, Intellectual Freedom, International Relations,  Literacy, Organizational Excellence, Personnel Resources, and Transforming Libraries .

ALA History by decade:

 It is easy to see progress of the profession and the organization chronologically.  Below the history of ALA is broken down by decade. Important firsts in librarianship are included as well.

Before 1876 | 1876-1899 | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

Additional Information:

Former ALA Presidents
Since 1890 ALA has a new president every year. This complete list of presidents starts with the founding of ALA in 1876.

ALA Annual Membership Statistics, 1900-Present
Annual membership statistics of the American Library Association are reported every year.

Past Annual Conferences
Complete list of Annual Conferences from the founding of ALA in 1876 to the present.

Past Midwinter Meetings
Complete list of Midwinter Meetings since they started in 1908.