ALA 2010 International Strategic Plan

(Adopted on June 24, 2005)

The ALA 2010 International Strategic Plan is based on the American Library Association’s long-range plan ALA Ahead to 2010

ALA’s activities have worldwide impact.  The ALA 2010 International Strategic Plan, infused with ALA’s founding purpose and principles, provides a structure to develop short-term goals and objectives regarding the association’s international activities from 2005 through 2010.

ALA Charter:

ALA’s Charter of 1879 was revised in 1942 to explicitly expand ALA’s scope from promoting library interests just the United States to promoting library interests ‘throughout the world.’ 

ALA Mission:

To provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.  (ALA Policy 1.2)


ALA is the leading advocate for:

  • The value of libraries and librarians in connecting people to recorded knowledge in all forms.
  • The public’s right to a free and open information society.

Key Action Areas:

ALA has identified 5 key action areas for the association.  ALA’s international activities contribute to these areas:

  • Diversity- Diversity is a fundamental value of the Association, and is reflected in its commitment to an active international program, international members, and the promotion and development of library collections and services for all people.
  • Equity of Access- Information is a public good and the Association advocates internationally for funding and policies including access to information through a robust public domain that support libraries as great democratic institutions serving all people by providing the full range of information resources needed to live, learn, govern, and work.
  • Education and Continuous Learning- The Association promotes and provides opportunities nationally and internationally for the professional development and education of library staff, and promotes continuous lifelong learning for all people through library and information services of every type around the globe.
  • Intellectual Freedom- ALA supports Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that everyone has a right to freedom of expression and opinion and to seek an receive information and ideas regardless of frontiers, and works with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and others to develop positions and programmatic plans of action in support of intellectual freedom.
  • 21st Century Literacy-The American Library Association assists and promotes libraries in helping children and adults develop the skills they need—the ability to read and use computers—understanding that the ability to seek and effectively utilize information resources is essential in a global information society.

ALA 2010 International Strategic Plan: Goals and Objectives

Goal I:  Advocacy/Value of the Profession

Goal:  ALA and its members will be leading advocates for the value of libraries and librarians throughout the world

International Strategic Objectives:

1. Increase international public awareness of the value and impact of libraries and librarians through the ‘Campaign for the World’s Libraries’ and other collaborative efforts.

2. Increase awareness in U.S. library community of library services and activities from other countries

3. Highlight U.S. library projects ongoing in other countries to garner support for ALA’s international efforts.

4. Help mobilize, support and sustain grassroots advocacy for libraries and library services internationally.

Goal Area II:  Education 

Goal:  Through its leadership, ALA will promote high quality education for librarians around the globe and provide continuing education opportunities for library staff throughout the world

International Strategic Objectives:

1. Develop continuing educations programs, especially utilizing state of the art technology, that are attractive, affordable to and accessible to international members and other international librarians.

2. Increase participation of international librarians in programming at ALA conferences and meetings to allow more interaction with international colleagues and expose all ALA members to library and information science issues and developments around the world.

3. Generate materials, publications, and products that reflect a global approach to librarianship.

4. Be leading participants in the programmatic planning of IFLA conferences.

5. Be educated as world citizens with a understanding of cultures and issues facing libraries worldwide

6. Guide LIS schools in the inclusion of international librarianship and global library issues in their course offerings.

Goal Area III: Public Policy

Goal:  ALA will be a key voice in the formulation of international policies, standards and guidelines that impact library and information services.

International Strategic Objectives

1. Be an influential force in international arenas that impact the libraries nationally and internationally such as intellectual freedom, copyright law, fair use, and privacy.

2. Be influential internationally in promoting a robust and growing public domain to provide effective library programs and services and to provide new opportunities for creativity, research, and scholarship and in opposing the privatization of government and other public information.

3. Support and promote the development and implementation of international guidelines, standards, and procedures through coalitions with IFLA and other library and educational organizations and various independent entities.

4. Increase collaborative efforts on legislation and international treaties relevant to libraries.

5. Advocate for appropriate technological development and freedom of access to information worldwide.

6. Utilize technology and the ALA website to increase understanding of international issues affecting library and information services and generate support for international partnerships that strengthen library and information services.

Goal Area IV:  Building the (Library) Profession

Goal:  ALA will be instrumental in helping develop a highly qualified library work force.

International Strategic Objectives:

1. Work with IFLA and other associations to develop, support, and promote career development to improve the profession and the provision of library and information services.

2. Provide training in the international arena in those areas where U.S. librarianship is particularly strong such as freedom of access to information, equity of access, information technology, reference service, and bibliography.

3. Make available the professional expertise of the ALA membership to countries interested in assistance.

4. Increase leadership development opportunities nationally and internationally by working to bring international librarians to the United States and send U.S. librarians abroad using scholarships, grant programs, and exchanges to enrich professional lives and to share professional experiences.

5. Assist in increasing the diversity of the library workforce in the U.S. to reflect a changing population by recruiting international librarians and individuals from immigrant populations.

6. Encourage other U.S. library associations to create focused partnerships with library associations outside the United States.

7. Through ALA-APA, assist with international efforts that advocate for improved compensation for librarians and other library workers.

8. Promote the value and benefit to a library’s program by the participation of staff in internationally related events and encourages support for librarians involved in international activities.

Goal Area V:  Membership

Goal Statement:  International members and internationally involved members will receive outstanding value for their ALA membership.

International Strategic Objectives:

1. Increase efforts to recruit and retain and international members by effectively communicating the value of association membership to international members.

2. Provide a greater international presence at conferences and meetings.

3. Promote increased involvement by international members in its programming and committee work through encouragement of their attendance at meetings and through electronic communication.

4. Provide a wide range of opportunities for members to become involved in international work.

5. Promote involvement by all types of libraries in international activity.

6. Facilitate connections between U.S. and international librarians by identify opportunities for exchange programs and publicizing their availability.

7. Link libraries through ALA’s Sister Libraries Initiative and highlight models of successful matches.

8. Assure the selection of highly qualified individuals, through equitable review processes, to carry its views to the international arena and prepares these representatives to present views authoritatively and in the most appropriate and culturally sensitive way.

9. Provide information on resources for cross-cultural interaction to members, official ALA representatives to international events, and ALA leadership and staff.

Goal Area VI:  Organizational Excellence

Goal Statement:  ALA will be an inclusive, effectively governed, well-managed, and financially strong organization. 

International Strategic Objectives:

1. Allocate sufficient resources to support the international activities and programs of the International Relations Office, the Washington Office, and other units in ALA.

2. Understanding of all units of the importance and relevance in participating in international activities.

3. Increase and improve communications, cooperation and collaboration on international activities throughout ALA.

4. Increase the amount and diversity of revenue sources to support ALA international programs and services to meet current and future needs.

5. Seek funding for international activities from foundations, government, non-governmental organizations, international agencies, corporations, private sources, and member contributions.

6. Work with foundations, U.S. government agencies, and other organizations interested in international library and information issues to leverage resources devoted to international programming.

7. Continuously improve ALA’s technology infrastructure to meet international member needs more effectively.

8. Maintain and highlight the history of ALA’s international involvement and programmatic activity.

9. Implement a framework for establishing priorities for guiding association decision-making regarding international issues.

10. Foster and motivate more internationally minded members to assume leadership positions within the organization.



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ALA-International Relations Planning Document 2007-2011