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International Relations Office (IRO) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: International Relations Office (IRO)

Historical Note: The International Relations Board (International Relations Round Table) creatred the International Relations Office (IRO) in June 1942 (1).  The IRO was set up to "carry on its work in cooperation with the other committees of the Association whose work had international implications" (2).  The IRO also functioned as an advisory agency for libraries abroad (3).  In 1942-45, the IRO served "as an operational agency for various projects of the Department of State, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other foundations and libraries" (4).  A "new" IRO was created in 1956 (5).  The IRO concentrated its efforts on library development and the director was charged to "study and investigate the state of library education in various parts of the world" (6).  The director was expected to spend several months of each year in nations on the continents of Asia, Africa, and South America (7).  In 1959, the IRO sponsored (with Rockefeller Foundation monies) a group of ten visiting Japanese librarians who studied reference and advisory services in the United States (8).  The IRO was disbanded in 1972 (9). The office reopened in 1976 before closing again in 1982, then reopening.

1.  ALA Bulletin, December 1954, pp. 619-20.

2.  May 9, 1947 statement.  IRO subject file, 1926-33, 1936-52.  Record Series 7/1/6, Box 12.  ALA Archives, University of Illinois.

3.  Ibid.

4.  Ibid.

5.  ALA Bulletin, November 1956, p. 62.

6.  ALA Bulletin, June 1957, pp. 445-446.

7.  Ibid.

8.  ALA Bulletin, September 1959, p. 721.

9.  Lombardi, Harriet.  "A Brief Guide to the ALA's International Relations File, 1939-47."

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