Before women were allowed to vote in US elections, the American Library Association found its leadership in Theresa West Elmendorf. In 1911, over thirty years after the founding of the ALA, Elmendorf was elected the first female president of the association.
On April 13, 1942, General Manuel Ávila Comacho, President of the Republic of Mexico, spoke at the formal dedication of the Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin in Mexico City. The dedication of the library, made possible by a grant from the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs to the American Library Association, was attended by Mexican officials, American embassy staff, and Mexicans and Americans active in the library organization. Presentations and receptions occurred throughout the week for library organizers and contributors, university representatives, and the public. Read More
With the help of the American Red Cross and the United Service organizations, the ALA collected 17 million volumes during its 1942-43 Victory Book Campaign. Read More
Within a few weeks of America’s entrance into World War I, the American Library Association undertook an enormous campaign to send books and other reading materials to American forces at home and abroad. Read More
The beginning of the Twentieth century marked the start of expansion for American libraries. A nationwide movement to establish county library systems began in 1898. This coincided with the spread of branch libraries, which began to appear in large cities in the early 1890s. The growing number of library buildings was due in large part to Andrew Carnegie, who built libraries in 1,412 communities. The first part of the century also saw a broader range of services as librarians reached out to groups that had previously been ignored by the library: children, immigrants, minorities, soldiers, the sick and the handicapped, the working class, and isolated rural community dwellers. Read More