For immediate release | September 5, 2018

American Library Association to explore Chicago commercial real estate market

CHICAGO - Today American Library Association (ALA) announced its plan to explore Chicago’s commercial real estate market with the listing of its headquarter buildings at 40 and 50 East Huron. Efforts to examine the value of its headquarters are fueled by its goals to enhance operational excellence; grow membership; and acquire a workplace environment that supports the development of innovative programs and services for its members.

“The ALA Executive Board and staff are committed to the mission of ALA and its long-term ability to support its members as they serve their libraries and communities,” said ALA President Loida Garcia Febo. “ALA headquarters are an important part of our history and have served members and staff well. But, just as our communities, our libraries, our work lives have changed, so have the needs of the Association—including those of our workplace.”

For more than a year ALA’s Executive Board and ALA Management have engaged in a review of how to strategically utilize ALA headquarters real estate and recently began to work with real estate expert Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).

Since February of 2018, ALA has worked with C&W to examine what works, what doesn’t work, and what features might be required to create an improved work environment. Conversations and onsite surveys resulted in a Workplace Assessment and Scenario Analysis. In addition to significant financial analysis, C&W’s study found:

  • The current headquarters configuration – on multiple floors in two buildings – makes collaboration difficult and potentially stymies innovation;
  • Moving to a more efficient workspace would reduce occupancy costs – cost savings that could then be used to support mission-forward Association functions; and
  • ALA Headquarters has been and could again be a considerable source of pride for both staff and members -- but in its current condition falls short.

Workplace Assessment and Scenario Analysis results were reviewed by the ALA Executive Board during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans.

Next steps will include determining the current market value of ALA’s headquarters space; engaging an architect to further define ALA’s workplace requirements at a more detailed level; and to explore opportunities to purchase or lease space elsewhere in the downtown Chicago area.

ALA Management will continue to work with C&W on this process, with consultation with and decisions by the ALA Executive Board at each step. ALA staff will continue to add to the conversation by offering additional input regarding workplace requirements.

About American Library Association

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit To make a contribution to support our work, visit


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Communications and Marketing Office