American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading professional organization of public and academic librarians in the United States. It was founded in 1876 and is today one of the largest library organizations in the world. 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." ALA promotes libraries and their funding; campaigns on library issues such as patron privacy, intellectual freedom, and banned books; issues library publications; and holds two annual conferences, ALA Annual and ALA Midwinter.
Membership is open to individuals and organizations. Different membership cost levels (such as reduced rates for students and support staff, and a cost-saving life membership for young librarians) are available. Some librarians do not join ALA not just because of the cost (many employers do not reimburse association dues), but due to philosophical disagreements with ALA's activism in politically-charged areas.
Headquartered in Chicago, the ALA is run by an elected Council and an Executive Board. Several committees, sub-committees, and chapters develop specific policies and programs. ALA also has eleven relatively autonomous divisions, such as ACRL and LITA.