United for Libraries is a division of ALA with approximately 5,000 Friends of Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. Begun in early 2009 with the merger of Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) and ALTA, the new division brings together Trustees and Friends into a partnership that unites the voices of those who support libraries to create a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century.
The bylaws (PDF, 32 kb) were last revised and approved by vote of the membership in November 2020.
The mission of United for Libraries is to support those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for all types of libraries. United for Libraries has the specific responsibility for:
- Educating through a continuing and comprehensive program for Library Trustees to enable them to discharge their responsibilities in a manner best fitted to benefit the public and the libraries they represent.
- Encouraging and assisting the formation of and development of Friends of Library groups and Library Foundations.
- Providing a means for Trustees to have access to information and ideas that will prove useful to them in the governance of their libraries.
- Providing Friends of Library groups and Library Foundations access to information and ideas that will prove useful to them in fundraising, library promotion and the operation of their organizations.
- Promoting strong state and regional Trustee and Friends of Library organizations.
- Providing to all who value libraries the materials and support they need to be effective advocates for their libraries on the local, state and national levels.
- Making the public aware of the existence of formalized groups such as Trustees, Friends of Library groups and Library Foundations and the services they perform to encourage and develop expanded participation in the support of libraries across the country.
United for Libraries History
The New Voice for America’s Libraries
On February 1, 2009, Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) and the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) joined forces to become an expanded division of ALA known as the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. Through this partnership, United for Libraries unites libraries’ voices to speak out on behalf of library services and free public access to information.
United for Libraries is a national network of enthusiastic library supporters who believe in the importance of libraries as the social and intellectual centers of communities and campuses. No one has a stronger voice for libraries than those who use them, raise money for them, and govern them. By uniting these voices, library supporters everywhere will become a real force to be reckoned with at the local, state, and national levels.
A Rich History
ALTA was founded in 1890 as the American Library Trustee Association. The association underwent a name change in 1999 from the American Library Trustee Association to the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates.
In 1975, a small but visionary project of the Committee on Friends of the Library embedded deep within ALA's Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) undertook a project to compile a directory of known Friends of Libraries groups on campuses and in communities. In 1979, FOLUSA was incorporated.
A Bright Future
United for Libraries will continue to build on the work and success of both ALTA and FOLUSA by helping Trustees and Friends work together at the local, state, and national levels to effectively promote and advocate for libraries, encouraging the development of library Foundations, and engaging corporate supporters to unite and strengthen voices in support of libraries.