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1.1 Introduction

Any organization as large, diverse, and dynamic as ALA must periodically reassess priorities in order to make progress in selected areas determined to be of prime concern to its members. The diversity of the membership dictates a wide range of interests that frequently overlap or complement one another. Nonetheless, we can identify overriding priorities that ALA should pursue vigorously within the United States and coordinate with groups abroad. Only such focusing of efforts and the subsequent allocation of Association funds and evaluation of its activities can ensure needed progress within the profession.

ALA recognizes its broad social responsibilities. The broad social responsibilities of the American Library Association are defined in terms of the contribution that librarianship can make in ameliorating or solving the critical problems of society; support for efforts to help inform and educate the people of the United States on these problems and to encourage them to examine the many views on and the facts regarding each problem; and the willingness of ALA to take a position on current critical issues with the relationship to libraries and library service set forth in the position statement.

ALA promotes the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of a learning society, encouraging its members to work with educators, government officials, and organizations in coalitions to initiate and support comprehensive efforts to ensure that school, public, academic, and special libraries in every community cooperate to provide lifelong learning services to all.

(See also Library Personnel Practices [54]; Intellectual Freedom [53]; Federal Legislative Policy [51]; and Services and Responsibilities of Libraries [52]; "Current Reference File": Realities, a report from the ALA Task Force on Excellence in Education.)

1.2 Mission

The mission of the American Library Association is 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.

1.3 Priority Areas and Goals

ALA operates under a five-year planning cycle. Within the framework of the mission, priorities, and goals of this chapter (i.e., Policy 1.1-1.4), the Association has adopted a set of emphases and goals to be achieved by the year 2000. (See "Current Reference File": ALA Goal 2000.)

Priority Area A. Access to information

ALA will promote efforts to ensure that every individual has access to needed information at the time needed and in a format the individual can utilize, through provision of library and information services.


  1. All individuals have equal access to libraries and information services.
  2. Instruction in information use is available to all.
  3. Government information is widely and easily available.
  4. Library collections are developed, managed, and preserved to provide access for users to the full range of available knowledge and information.
  5. Access to information is facilitated by bibliographic organization.
  6. Library use is high.
  7. Fees are not a barrier to library access and service.

Priority Area B. Legislation/funding

ALA will promote legislation at all levels that will strengthen library and information services. Means will be developed for facilitating the effective competition of libraries for public funds as well as for funds from the private sector.


  1. Libraries have adequate funding from public sources (local, state, federal).
  2. ALA members are well informed about opportunities for raising funds from private sources.
  3. Reliable and timely statistics and information about all sources of library funding are available.
  4. Congress consistently approves legislation favorable to libraries.
  5. Local governing authorities and state legislatures consistently approve ordinances and legislation favorable to libraries.
  6. Information about legislation with potential impact on libraries and library service is easily available.

Priority Area C. Intellectual freedom

ALA will promote the protection of library materials, personnel, and trustees from censorship; the defense of library personnel and trustees in support of intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights; and the education of library personnel, trustees, and the general public to the importance of intellectual freedom.


  1. First Amendment rights are secure.
  2. Persons whose First Amendment rights are challenged have adequate support.

Priority Area D. Public awareness

ALA will promote the role of librarians and the use of libraries and their resources and services as well as the awareness of their importance to all segments of society.


  1. ALA provides information about libraries to all.
  2. Librarians are recognized as proactive professionals responsible for ensuring the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations of library users.
  3. Libraries are recognized as proactive agencies essential to the cultural, educational, and economic life of society.

Priority Area E. Personnel resources

ALA will promote the recruitment, education, professional development, rights, interests, and obligations of library personnel and trustees.


  1. Library and information science education meets the changing library and information needs of society.
  2. Master's level programs are effectively accredited.
  3. Librarians and all other library personnel are paid equitable and attractive salaries.
  4. Librarians have a variety of opportunities for professional development and continuing education.
  5. Workshops and conferences conducted by ALA are available to librarians, trustees, and others interested in libraries.
  6. Job information, placement, and career services are readily available to librarians.
  7. Effective library personnel policies are established and used.
  8. Librarianship recruits a racially and ethnically diverse group of high caliber persons.
  9. Librarians uphold the ALA Code of Ethics.
  10. Librarians are proactive professionals who ensure the free flow of information and ideas.

Priority Area F. Library services, development, and technology

ALA will promote the availability of information tools and technologies which assist librarians in providing services responsive to the changing needs of society.


  1. Guidelines, standards, and codes are formulated and promoted to facilitate effective library service.
  2. Professional resources in a variety of formats are produced by ALA.
  3. Statistics about libraries are collected regularly and distributed promptly.
  4. Research related to libraries and librarianship is conducted and results are widely disseminated.
  5. Information and advisory services about libraries and librarianship are available from ALA in response to requests.
  6. ALA encourages cooperative activities to improve service to library users.
  7. ALA promotes access to information via technological means.
  8. Librarians are able to use technology effectively.
  9. Library funds are managed effectively.
  10. Librarians practice effective public relations.
  11. Libraries are proactive agencies which meet the challenges of social, economic, and environmental change.

1.4 ALA Organizational Support Goals

In order to address these priorities, ALA will use its resources wisely and maintain a flexible structure that promotes the diverse interests and broad participation of members and units.

Organizational Area A. ALA roles and relationships

The size and complexity of ALA with its many and diverse units creates difficulties in coordinating roles and responsibilities. ALA has an opportunity to recognize diversity as a strength and build on it.


  1. The activities and programs of ALA are coordinated.
  2. ALA speaks with one voice for the profession.

Organizational Area B. ALA finances

ALA maintains financial stability.


  1. ALA obtains a significant amount of income from sources other than dues.
  2. ALA maintains adequate cash reserves.
  3. New markets are developed for ALA's products and services.
  4. ALA has a continuously updated multiyear financial plan.
  5. ALA provides accurate and timely financial reports to members,officers, and staff.

Organizational Area C. ALA human resources

A large, stable, and involved membership is essential to the health and effectiveness of ALA. The development of new leaders must be continuous in the Association. ALA must maintain staff with a high level of expertise and commitment.


  1. ALA membership is large and stable.
  2. Large numbers of members are involved in the work of theAssociation.
  3. ALA leaders are effective.
  4. ALA responds to the needs and interests of members.
  5. ALA staff provides a high level of expertise and service.
  6. Members are fully informed about ALA activities.
  7. State library associations/chapters are fully informed about ALAactivities.
  8. Appropriate and timely data about the ALA membership areavailable.

Adopted by ALA Council, July 1, 1986

(See "Current Reference File": ALA Strategic Long Range Plan.)



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