For immediate release | October 8, 2013

ALA to establish a Center for the Future of Libraries

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) has been awarded a Librarians for the 21st Century Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to establish a Center for the Future of Libraries.

The goal of the project will be to provide library planners and community leaders with information resources and tools that will help them better understand the trends reshaping their libraries and communities and help them incorporate foresight into their planning processes.

“Libraries of all types, and the communities they serve, are undergoing transformational changes,” stated Barbara Stripling, ALA president. “Libraries are turning outward to their communities and offering the resources, services, instruction, and programs that empower community members to read, explore, collaborate, learn, and create. They also offer a safe and dynamic environment, a community space for conversation and discovery. Because libraries must change as their communities change, librarians always have their eye on the future; they are ready to learn and adapt their programs as needs change, new technologies emerge, and the information environment offers new opportunities. By helping libraries better understand emerging trends, the new Center for the Future of Libraries will enable all librarians to continue to be on the cusp of change.”

The one-year, $50,000 planning grant project will be coordinated by ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. During the project, ALA will develop a Center for the Future of Libraries website; establish a “futures” discussion group and blog; present interactive programming at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference and convene a summit of thought leaders to help shape the future direction of the center. In creating the Center for the Future of Libraries, ALA will also collaborate with the American Alliance of Museums, which established a Center for the Future of Museums in 2008.

“We see the new ALA Center for the Future of Libraries helping libraries in public, academic and school communities identify emerging trends, provoke discussion on how to respond to - and shape - the future, and build connections with experts and innovative thinkers in other fields who can help libraries understand and meet the challenges of the future,” stated Keith Michael Fiels, ALA executive director. “We appreciate the support that IMLS is providing to help make this Center a reality.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. 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.


Contact: Steve Zalusky

Manager, Communications

American Library Association

Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546