American Libraries lifts access restrictions

Contact: Leonard Kniffel

Editor in Chief

American Libraries

(312) 280-4215


For Immediate Release,

October 15, 2008

American Libraries, the flagship magazine of the American Library Association (ALA), celebrated the first Open Access Day, Oct. 14, by opening up its content on the Web and making its companion weekly e-newsletter,
American Libraries Direct, available to anyone for the asking.

“Opening up
American Libraries’ searchable PDFs at is just the first step toward making all future features and columns available on the site in HTML format in 2009,” said Leonard Kniffel, editor in chief. The current issue of the print magazine will be open to all, as will back issues through 2003; they were all formerly accessible only with a member log-in. The revamped
AL website will link content to the
AL online forum [hot link] where readers are encouraged to express their opinions about professional issues, news and controversies.

The decision to open up the magazine and the e-newsletter was made after consulting with key ALA member committees during this year’s ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. “We’ve known for a long time that this is the direction in which magazine publishing is going,” said Kniffel, “but we have to be careful to counter the perception that member organizations rely on member-only perks to retain members.” The fact is, he said, “making your content difficult or impossible to find on the Web simply means that your members, especially those who are writing for your organization, get left out of all the conversations occurring online.”

American Libraries Direct has been extremely popular with ALA members, and many have been forwarding it to nonmember colleagues,” said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “It’s the best library news aggregation in the profession, and we want the world to read it and see the kind of essential services that ALA and libraries across the country are providing.”

To subscribe to
AL Direct, visit the
AL Direct sign-up page [].

American Libraries celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007.
American Libraries Direct Editor George Eberhart picked up first prize in 2007 in the “E-newsletter” category in the American Society of Business Publications Editors’ 29th annual awards competition.

Open Access Day [ ] is sponsored by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and Students for Free Culture. Building on the worldwide momentum toward open access to publicly funded research, Open Access Day was established to create an opportunity for the higher education community and the general public to understand more clearly the opportunities of wider access to and use of content.