Transcripts and Minutes, 1920-2018
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Brief Description: Transcripts and minutes of ALA Council Meetings at annual conferences and midwinter meetings, contains reports and supporting documents, includes library support and revenues, functions of committees, accreditation of library schools, classifications and certification of librarians, disposal of War Service Committee funds (1920-29); federal aid, unemployment in the profession, pensions and social security (1930-39); libraries in wartime and the post-war era, library personnel, international relations (1940-49); reorganization of ALA, constitution and bylaws, intellectual freedom, the management survey (1950-59); federal relations, copyright legislation, the organization of ALA (1960-74) and activities committee on new directions, ACONDA (1970) and ACONDA-ANACONDA (1971), a subject index to minutes (1954-82), Presidential Campaign Debate tapes (1983), Membership Meetings transcripts (1952, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966-74), General Sessions Meetings (1958, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1973), and President's Programs (1969-72).
Held at:
The American Library Association Archives
19 Library
1408 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61802
Phone: 217 333 0798
Fax: 217 244 2868
Email: ala-archives [at]
Record Series Number: 1/1/1
Created by: Council, ALA
Volume: 21.8 Cubic Feet
Acquired: 03/01/1985. 3/17/2004, 11/19/2019, 06/27/2023
More information is available at
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically by event date
Biographical Note for Council, ALA :

"The Council is the governing body of ALA. It delegates to the divisions of the Association authority to plan and carry out programs and activities in accord with the policy established by Council . . . [It] determines all policies of the Association and its decisions are binding unless set aside by a three-fourths vote at any meeting of the Association membership or a majority vote by mail . . ." (1)

Council was created in 1892 to be, according to Melvil Dewey, "a small body that can more easily and economically get together from time to time to discuss important questions, which can thus be more satisfactorily dealt with than in our large conferences . . ." (2) The twenty members of the Council had "very broad powers" in that "there could be no recommendation in regard to library policy of ALA with out the approval of the council, and no new section within ALA could be established unless the council approved." (3)

The contstitution adopted by ALA in 1900 gave Council power to adopt bylaws for ALA, act as a nominating committee, establish sections, "promulgate recommendations relating to library matters, and no resolutions except votes of thanks and on local arrangements shall be otherwise promulgated. Council could also establish relations with other societies on behalf of ALA. (4)  Nine years later, ALA revised its constitution to delete Council's power as a nominating committee. Its other responsibilities continued, and it could now also "nominate honorary members." (5)

By the end of 1957, restructuring "clearly designating the council as the policy-making body" of ALA was in place. The Executive Committee of ALA was to be elected by Council members from among their own number. (6) Council grew to include 212 members in 1972, when its number was reduced - partly because it had become too unwieldy to act with any effective speed. (7) In 1986-87, Council had 177 members: the president, president-elect, and executive secretary of ALA, the Executive Board, 100 at large members, 1 from each of the 11 divisions and one from each of the 51 chapters. (8) At this time, too, "Committees which are created by the Executive Board, Council, and the president are designated as ALA committees and committees of the Council." (9)




10-Membership Organization and Information

Subject Index
Activities Committee on New Directions for ALA (ACONDA)
Ad Hoc Council Committee on ACONDA (Anaconda)
ALA Council
Classification and Certification of Librarians
Federal Relations
Intellectual Freedom
International Relations
Library School Accreditation
Management Survey
War Services Committee
Languages of Materials
English [eng]