Association of Research Libraries

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Association of Research Libraries
FormationDecember 29, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois [1]
TypeNonprofit organization[2]
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Susan Parker, University of British Columbia
Key people
Mary Lee Kennedy, Executive Director

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 127 research libraries at comprehensive, research institutions in Canada and the United States. ARL member libraries make up a large portion of the academic and research library marketplace, spending more than $1.8 billion every year on information resources and actively engaging in the development of new models of scholarly communications.[3]

ARL co-founded an affiliate organization, the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), in 1990.[4] CNI is a joint program of ARL and EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.[5] ARL is also a member of the Library Copyright Alliance, a consortium of major library associations that have joined forces to address copyright issues affecting libraries and their patrons.[6]

History 1932–1962[edit]

The Association of Research Libraries held its first meeting in Chicago on December 29, 1932. At that time, its membership included 42 major university and research libraries. This first meeting was primarily organizational. The prepared constitution and bylaws were accepted and each library adopted a constitution that stated, "the object shall be, by cooperative effort, to develop and increase the resources and usefulness of the research collections in American libraries."[7] Donald B. Gilchrist was elected as Executive Secretary. The Advisory Committee members included J. Christian Bay (John Crerar Library), James T. Gerould (Princeton University), Harold L. Leupp (University of California – Berkeley), C. C. Williamson (Columbia University), and Phineas L. Windsor (Illinois University).[1]

The first venture to be undertaken by ARL was a project for the collection of data regarding manuscript collections. This project had little support and was relatively short-lived.[1] However, the second project, the annual listings of the titles of the PhD theses was a significant contribution to the profession. The first volume of Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities was compiled by ARL and was published by H. W. Wilson in 1933. This series of publications would become the predecessor of what is now Dissertation Abstracts.[7] Passed into law in 1933, the National Industrial Recovery Act allowed trade associations and industry representatives to draft industrial codes of fair competition. In order to encourage the preservation of these records, ARL published Address List of Local Code Authorities under N.R.A.: 1933-1935 in 1933 which had been prepared by the National Recovery Administration for the Joint Committee on Materials for Research established by the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Research Council.[1] Two new members were added to ARL in 1936; Grosvenor Library (Buffalo) and New York University. The National Archives had expressed interest in joining but rejected the subsequent invitation.

ARL initiated two projects in 1937; publication of the Library of Congress catalog and an investigation into the pricing policy of the Wilson Company. In December 1937, Keyes Metcalf (Harvard University) succeeded Gilchrist as Executive Secretary. Gilchrist continued to edit Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities and serve on the Wilson Pricing Policy Committee.[1] The University of California – Los Angeles joined the ARL in 1937. Louisiana State University joined ARL in 1938. Keyes's term ended in 1940 and he was replaced by Paul N. Rice (New York Public Library).

In a meeting in January 1942, a proposal for the division of acquisition responsibility was presented. Rice formed a Committee on Postwar Competition in Book Purchases. Members of this committee included Archibald MacLeish (Library of Congress), Keyes D. Metcalf, and Robert Downs (future Director of Libraries at the University of Illinois). This program served as a pilot project for the Farmington Plan.[1] As part of the Library of Congress project, the ARL sponsored the publication of A Catalog of Books Represented by L.C. Printed Cards in 1942.

A two-day meeting was held in March 1944 to discuss a multitude of issues. Resulting from the meeting were a number of committees: Committee on Division of Responsibility for the Acquisition and Recording of Research Materials, Committee to Investigate the Wilson Proposal for Publication of LC Catalog Cards in Book Form, Committee on Reprinting the British Museum Catalog, Committee on Securing Complete Files of Foreign Documents in Certain Designated American Libraries, Committee on Standards for Graduate Colleges, Committee on Statistics of Library Holdings, Committee to Study Plans of Cancellation of Library Discards, Joint Committee on Government Documents, and Joint Committee on Cooperative Buying of Chinese Materials.[1] In 1946, Charles E. David (University of Pennsylvania) was elected Executive Secretary.

The Farmington Plan was initiated in January 1948 covering limited to monographs published in France, Sweden, and Switzerland by 52 cooperating libraries. The overhead expenses were paid for by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation.[8] Also in 1948, ARL Minutes were submitted for publication in College & Research Libraries for the first time.

Robert A. Miller was elected Executive Secretary in December 1951. The Foreign Newspaper Microfilm project was initiated in January 1956. It has 46 subscribers and a first year budget of $14,000.[1] William S. Dix, the 6th Executive Secretary, was elected in 1957. His term lasted only 2 years as he was elected Chairman of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in 1959. Stephen A. McCarthy was elected in 1960.

On December 5, 1961, the ARL was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.[7] In May 1962, the National Science Foundation approved a 2-year grant of $58,350 towards the establishment of a full-time ARL Secretariat. The June 1962 invitation meeting brought the total number of ARL members to 72. In 1963, ARL assumed responsibility of publishing annual library statistics.


Executive Secretaries 1932–1962[edit]

Executive Secretaries 1932-1962[9]
Date(s) Name Affiliation
1932-37 Donald B. Gilchrist University of Rochester
1938-41 Keyes D. Metcalf Harvard University
1942-46 Paul N. Rice New York Public Library
1947-51 Charles W. David University of Pennsylvania
1952-56 Robert A. Miller Indiana University
1957-59 William S. Dix Princeton University
1960-62 Stephen A. McCarthy Cornell University

Executive Directors 1963–present[edit]

Executive Directors 1963–present[10][11]
Date(s) Name
1963-67 James E. Skipper
1967 Donald F. Cameron
1968-74 Stephen A. McCarthy
1975-76 John P. McDonald
1977-79 John G. Lorenz
1980-81 Ralph E. McCoy
1981-87 Shirley Echelman
1988-07 Duane E. Webster
2008-12 Charles B. Lowry
2013-2017 Elliott Shore
2018 (Jan.-Mar.) Anne Kenney (interim)
2018- Mary Lee Kennedy

Presidents 1962–present[edit]

Presidents 1962–present[12][13]
Date(s) Name Affiliation
1962-63 William S. Dix Princeton University
1963 Robert Vosper University of California, Los Angeles
1964 Richard H. Logsdon Columbia University
1965 Edward G. Freehafer New York Public Library
1966 Foster E. Mohrhardt National Agricultural Library
1967 Rutherford D. Rogers Stanford University
1968 Andrew J. Eaton Washington University
1969 Douglas W. Bryant Harvard University
1970 Warren J. Haas Columbia University
1971 Thomas R. Buckman Northwestern University
1971-72 John P. McDonald University of Connecticut
1973 William S. Budington John Crerar Library
1974 Ralph H. Hopp University of Minnesota
1975 Richard De Gennaro University of Pennsylvania
1976 Virginia P. Whitney Rutgers University
1977 Edward C. Lathem Dartmouth College
1978 Ray W. Frantz University of Virginia
1979 LeMoyne Anderson Colorado State University
1980 Connie Dunlap Duke University
1981 Jay K. Lucker Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1982 Millicent D. Abell University of California, San Diego
1983 James E. Govan University of North Carolina
1984 Eldred Smith University of Minnesota
1985 Richard J. Talbot University of Massachusetts
1986 Anne Woodsworth University of Pittsburgh
1987 Herbert F. Johnson Emory University
1988 Elaine Sloan Indiana University
1989 Charles E. Miller Florida State University
1990 Martin Runkle University of Chicago
1991 Marilyn D. Sharrow University of California, Davis
1992 Arthur Curley Boston Public Library
1993 Susan Nutter North Carolina State University
1994 John Black University of Guelph
1995 Jerry Campbell Duke University
1996 Nancy Cline Pennsylvania State University
1997 Gloria Werner University of California, Los Angeles
1998 James G. Neal Johns Hopkins University
1999 Betty G. Bengtson University of Washington
2000 Kenneth Frazier University of Wisconsin
2001 Shirley K. Baker Washington University in St. Louis
2002 Paula T. Kaufman University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
2003 Fred Heath Texas A&M University
2004 Sarah Thomas Cornell University
2005 Ann J. Wolpert Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2006 Brian E. C. Schottlaender University of California, San Diego
2007 Sherrie Schmidt Arizona State University
2008 Marianne I. Gaunt Rutgers University
2009 Thomas C. Leonard University of California, Berkeley
2010 Brinley Franklin University of Connecticut
2011 Carol A. Mandel New York University
2012 Winston Tabb Johns Hopkins University
2013 Wendy Pradt Lougee University of Minnesota
2014 Carol Pitts Diedrichs Ohio State University
2015 Deborah Jakubs Duke University
2016 Larry Alford University of Toronto
2017 Mary Case University of Illinois at Chicago
2018 Mary Ann Mavrinac University of Rochester
2019 Susan Gibbons Yale University
2020 Lorraine Haricombe The University of Texas at Austin
2021 John Culshaw The University of Iowa
2022 K. Matthew Dames University of Notre Dame
2023 Susan Parker University of British Columbia


The association boasts members in both Canada and the United States. Currently, the following institutions are members of the organization.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h McGowan, F.M. (1972). The Association of Research Libraries: 1932-1962. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.
  2. ^ "Who We Are". Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  3. ^ Mian, Anam; Roebuck, Gary (2022). ARL Statistics 2020. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-948964-29-6. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  4. ^ "History". Coalition for Networked Information. 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  5. ^ "Mission and Organization". EDUCAUSE. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  6. ^ "About". Library Copyright Alliance. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  7. ^ a b c George, L.A. & Blixrud, J. "Celebrating Seventy Years of the Association of Research Libraries, 1932–2002" (PDF). ARL. Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  8. ^ Metcalf, K. D. (Autumn 1948). "The Farmington Plan". Harvard Library Bulletin. 2 (3): 296. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  9. ^ "A Gala Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of ARL's Founding: 1932–2007" (PDF). Association of Research Libraries. October 2007. p. 6.
  10. ^ "A Gala Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of ARL's Founding: 1932–2007" (PDF). Association of Research Libraries. October 2007. p. 6.
  11. ^ ARL records, 2008–2018.
  12. ^ "A Gala Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of ARL's Founding: 1932–2007" (PDF). Association of Research Libraries. October 2007. pp. 6–7.
  13. ^ "ARL records and website, 2008-2023". Association of Research Libraries. ARL. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  14. ^ "List of ARL Members". Association of Research Libraries. Archived from the original on 2019-07-09. Retrieved January 3, 2023.