American Library Association offices are units that address broad interests and issues of concern to ALA members. Offices do not have members but are advised by member advisory committees. ALA’s programmatically-focused Offices can be seen as generally reflecting the member-determined priority areas of the Association, within which they track issues, and provide information, services and products for members and the general public. Offices maintain liaison relationships with ALA round tables, committees and external groups. Offices may be responsible for a functional support area. (ALA support offices, while not listed below, can be reached from the menu drop-down.)
Chapter Relations Office
Michael Dowling, director
The Chapter Relations Office promotes a sense of identification between the national Association and the 57 ALA Chapters; facilitates communication between the Chapters and all ALA units; coordinates leadership development for Chapter officers, Chapter Councilors, chief paid staff members, and other Chapter leaders; strengthens membership promotion activities for ALA and the Chapters; coordinates the ALA Student Chapters and the ALA Students to Staff programs; and helps raise awareness of and sensitivity to Chapter needs throughout the ALA.
Communications & Marketing Office
Payal Patel, interim director
The Communications & Marketing Office manages the public awareness efforts of the Association, delivering key messages to external audiences about the value of libraries and librarians. CMO also communicates ALA's key messages through media relations and crisis communications, and offers public relations counsel and editorial services. Tools are also developed and shared with librarians to help advance ALA’s strategic directions. Works with the Public Awareness Committee.
The Development Office is responsible for planning, coordinating, implementing, managing, and evaluating ALA fundraising activities, programs, projects and events within ALA and for establishing strategic alliances and partnerships. The purpose of the Development Office is to seek and obtain philanthropic resources to support Association work in promoting and improving libraries in America consistent with the goals of the Association.
International Relations Office
Michael Dowling, director
The mission of the International Relations Office (IRO) is to increase the ALA’s presence in the global library community, to implement ALA policies concerning international librarianship, to promote a greater understanding of international librarianship and international library issues within the 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 the 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 the ALA’s routine communications with international organizations to which the ALA belongs, including IFLA; and provides support for the ALA International Committee and the International Relations Round Table.
Library & Information Resource Center
Melissa Walling, associate executive director
LIRC provides leadership and expert advice to ALA staff, members, and the public on all matters related to research and statistics about libraries and librarians; represents the Association to federal agencies on these issues; and initiates projects needed to expand the knowledge base of the field through research and the collection of useful statistics.The American Library Association Library is a special library, with a tightly defined purpose and collection focus: to provide information needed by ALA staff as they carry out the work of the Association; to provide information to members and others who contact ALA with questions about librarians, librarianship and ALA programs; and to use available information technologies to the fullest extent possible. The Library develops resources and pathfinders to frequently requested content and also serves as liaison to the ALA Archives.
Office for Accreditation
Karen O’Brien, director
The Office for Accreditation provides authoritative leadership in assuring quality and value to its stakeholders through accreditation of master’s-level library and information studies programs. The Office serves the profession, the general public, students, employers, and library and information studies master’s programs through the promotion and advancement of education in library and information studies. The Office for Accreditation manages the external review process that provides professional development opportunities for both academics and practitioners, and provides programs with a framework for their development. The Office for Accreditation communicates with stakeholders regarding activities and accomplishments, anticipates and prepares for the changing environment and the future needs of constituencies, and manages our operations and resources to be effective, responsive and relevant. The Office for Accreditation serves as the staff liaison to the ALA Committee on Accreditation and works with ALA governance and other ALA Offices and Divisions on issues related to library and information studies education.
Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services
Kevin Strowder, director
The Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services drives activities around three professional issues which collectively support equity and inclusion as fundamental values of the association. Relationships and major initiatives undertaken by the Office across these three issues help ensure the inclusion of diverse perspectives within our profession and association to best position ALA as a trusted, leading advocate for equitable access to library services for all.
Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment
Lorelle R. Swader, associate executive director
The mission of the Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) is to facilitate the development of librarianship as a profession. To accomplish this purpose, HRDR focuses on: (1) Education and learning programs—HRDR provides information on education and professional development in support of the principle of lifelong learning; (2) Recruitment of a diverse workforce—To develop a diverse workforce, HRDR designs and disseminates recruitment materials, conducts recruiting activities, and encourages participation in recruitment at the grassroots level of the profession; (3) Policies and practices in the areas of management and human resources which best serve the needs of libraries and their employees—HRDR communicates with libraries on issues relating to management and human resources and acts as an advocate for “best practices” in these areas. HRDR stimulates and encourages research in areas related to its ongoing mission. In all of its activities, HRDR acts in conjunction with and is the coordinating body for other ALA activities relating to its mission.
Office for Intellectual Freedom
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director
The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association's basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries. To effect this goal, the office undertakes information, support, and coordination activities. These include distributing materials and information, preparing regular and special publications, supervising liaison with the Freedom to Read Foundation (a separate corporation) and the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund (a trust), serving as liaison to the Intellectual Freedom Committee, coordinating activities of state intellectual freedom committees, monitoring state legislation affecting intellectual freedom, and cooperating with other organizations whose purposes are similar to ALA's regarding intellectual freedom. All of these activities are carried on in accordance with the responsibility of the office to recommend, develop, implement, and maintain a total intellectual freedom program for ALA.
Office of ALA Governance
Sheryl Reyes, director
The Office of ALA Governance provides support to and facilitates the work of the ALA president, president-elect, immediate past president, Executive Board, Council, and the ALA executive director.
Public Programs Office
Melanie Welch, director
The ALA Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training, and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult, and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to foster cultural programming as an integral part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, and traveling exhibitions. Several thousand libraries and librarians receive programming support from the Public Programs Office annually. In 2003, ALA established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment that will expand the opportunities offered to libraries through the Public Programs Office.
Mary Mackay, associate executive director
The ALA Publishing Department provides all librarians and information professionals a comprehensive, one-stop resource for print and digital materials dedicated to professional development, improving library services, technology training, and the promotion of libraries, literacy, and reading. The department's expanding role in disseminating materials focuses on meeting users’ needs wherever they are, whenever it’s convenient. ALA Publishing consists of: Booklist Publications (including Booklist, Book Links, and Booklist Online); ALA Editions (including ALA TechSource); ALA Digital Reference (including Guide to Reference and RDA); ALA Graphics; and American Libraries magazine and associated electronic products. All Net Revenues from subscriptions, advertising, and product purchases are invested in the financial support of ALA’s goals and initiatives.
Public Policy and Advocacy
Alan Inouye, interim associate executive director
The Public Policy and Advocacy Office is charged with tracking and influencing policy issues, legislation, and regulations of importance to the library field and the public. The Public Policy and Advocacy Office helps ensure that libraries are consistently involved in the policy decision-making process by informing government of the needs and concerns of the library community, providing library supporters with up-to-date information on government actions or proposals, and building coalitions with representatives of other groups with similar interests.