The American Library Association's Public Policy and Advocacy office was established in 1945 to represent libraries on Capitol Hill. Read more about our nearly 75 years of history here.
ALA's advocacy and public policy staff work to secure information technology policies that support and encourage efforts of libraries to ensure access to electronic information resources as a means of upholding the public’s right to a free and open information society. Staff work to ensure a library voice in information policy debates and to promote full and equitable intellectual participation by the public by:
- Conducting research and analysis aimed at understanding the implications of information technology and information policy for libraries and library users,
- Facilitating robust discussion within the ALA community about the implications of information policy, law, and regulation for libraries and library users,
- Advancing ALA’s information policy interests in non-legislative government policy forums, and
- Engaging in strategic forecasting to anticipate technological change, particularly as it presents policy challenges to libraries and library users.
The Public Policy and Advocacy team is charged with following and influencing legislation, policy, and regulatory issues of importance to the library field and its public and works to ensure that libraries are consistently involved in the legislative and policy decision-making processes 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;
- Building coalitions with Washington-based representatives of other groups with similar concerns; and
- Developing grassroots networks to lobby legislators and further library interests.
Gavin Baker, MSLIS
Deputy Director, Public Policy and
Public Policy Associate,
Larra Clark, MSLIS
Libraries Build Business
Alan Inouye, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Executive Director
- Public Policy and Advocacy
Grassroots Communications Manager,
Public Policy and Advocacy
Committees and Task Forces
The American Library Association carries out its work through a member-driven structure of committees and subcommittees, divisions, roundtables, and several other types of groups. Each committee has a specific purpose, defined at the time it is established. Explore the variety of advocacy and public policy committees below. You can also find resources and opportunity to volunteer on ALA's central committee page.
Public Policy Fellows and Advisory Council
The Fellows Program serves as a means to draw on nationally-recognized researchers, practitioners, and policy advocates in LIS or allied areas to strengthen ALA’s involvement in national policy discussions. Fellows may have expertise in core LIS areas or in a wide range of other relevant areas that include telecommunications, intellectual property law, computer science, management and organizational behavior, political science, public policy and government, economics, and sociology, among others. Fellows work to increase the awareness and level of discourse on issues important to the LIS community by publishing issue papers and articles, and by participating in conference sessions, symposia, workshops, and interviews. Meet our current Fellows and Experts
As part of the Policy Revolution! Initiative, ALA established a Public Policy Advisory Council to strengthen the engagement of the library community in national public policy. The Council is made up members from a broad range of non-library sectors, including technology, publishing, telecommunications, trade associations, government, foundations and other non-profits, health, financial services, and think tanks, reflecting the diverse range of policy areas of relevance to the library community. Meet the current members of the Public Policy Advisory Council.