Early ALA Posters now Digitized and Online

A woman in classical robes holds books under one arm while holding aloft the ALA seal, superimposed over a map of the United States.

Promotional poster for the ALA 50th Anniversary

Posters used by the ALA during its early history are now digitized for long-term preservation and access copies are available for viewing online. Subjects covered in these posters include the ALA’s work with the Library War Service to the American military during World War I, the importance of the freedom to read used during World War II, celebrating the ALA 50 Year Anniversary (in 1926) and the Carnegie Centenary (in 1935), as well as librarianship recruitment and general library promotion during the early twentieth century. These posters provide important documentary evidence of both the work of the ALA and how the presentation of American libraries and librarianship has changed over the past century.

A WWI soldier holding a stack of books with the caption "Books Wanted!"

Poster used to solicit donations to the Library War Service during WWI

This ongoing digitization project has started with the oldest and most fragile posters in the ALA Archives’ poster collection. Upcoming items  include the display materials used during the 1964 Chicago Worlds Fair, ALA Conferences, as well as many iconic posters displayed in public libraries nationwide such as the “@ your library!” series, and the “Star Attractions” series featuring celebrities endorsing reading.

The physical posters continue to be available for use during this project in the University of Illinois Main Library, Room 19. The complete listing for the physical record series is also available online.  Please contact the American Library Association Archives if you are interested in using these posters for your research!

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  • gwynethannejones

    Thank you for this – just amazing!

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