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The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world.
Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA 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.”
ALA’s Core values, key action areas and strategic directions
On June 28, 2015, the ALA Council adopted a new Strategic Plan (2017 Update) and the Association’s new strategic directions for the next three to five years. Building on the Council-adopted Key Action Areas, three strategic initiatives have been identified as priority areas of focus for the Association. At the 2017 Midwinter Meeting, ALA Council approved a fourth direction on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. At their 2018 Fall meeting, the ALA Executive Board voted to affirm that ALA will apply a social justice framework to the ALA strategic directions. The four strategic directions are:
Professional & Leadership Development.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
In pursuing our mission, the Association’s core value statements define our deepest aspirations and how we approach our work together. They are:
Extending and expanding library services in America and around the world
All types of libraries - academic, public, school and special
All librarians, library staff, trustees and other individuals and groups working to improve library services
An open, inclusive, and collaborative environment
Ethics, professionalism and integrity
Excellence and innovation
Social responsibility and the public good
Eight Key Action Areas, refined over time by the ALA Council as the Association’s annual programmatic priorities, have defined the broad scope of our work and where we seek to have significant impact:
Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession
Education and Lifelong Learning
Equitable Access to Information and Library Services
Within this broad framework, the new strategic directions have been identified as areas of intense focus for the next three to five years. For each of these strategic directions, there are goals that articulate the outcomes we would like to achieve and answer the question: “what would success look like?” For each direction, there are also strategies articulating how we would move toward the achievement of these goals.