American Library Association

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The American Library Association promotes libraries and library education in the United States and internationally. It has approximately 64,000 members. It was founded in 1876 in Philadelphia and chartered in 1879 in Massachusetts. Its head office is in Chicago.

Its mission 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." It is open to any person or organization willing to pay dues, though most of its members are libraries or librarians.

The ALA is governed by an elected council and an executive board. Policies and programs are administered by various committees and round tables. One of the organization's most visible tasks is overseen by the Accreditation Committee, which formally reviews and authorizes American academic institutions that offer degree programs in library and information science.

Members may choose to join one or more of 11 membership divisions which deal with specialized topics such as academic, school, or public libraries, technical or reference services, and library administration. Members may also choose to join any of 17 roundtables, which are grouped around more specific interests and issues than the broader set of ALA divisions.

The ALA is affiliated with regional, state, and student chapters across the country. It also organizes conferences, participates in library standards development, and publishes a number of books and periodicals.

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