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List of presidents of the American Library Association

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The following is a list of presidents of the American Library Association.



The American Library Association (ALA), founded in 1876 and chartered in 1879, is the largest professional organization for librarians in the United States. The headquarters of the American Library Association is in Chicago, Illinois.

Role and responsibilities


Since 1889, the President of the ALA serves a term of one year, and during each election (held every two years), the president's immediate successor is also elected, serving as Vice President until the start of their own term. The Vice President appoints members of committees on recommendation of the presidents-elect of the divisions, subject to approval from the Board.

In practice, despite being the legal head of the Association, the President of the ALA is mostly a figurehead, with most of their unique duties revolving around representing/acting as spokesperson for the Association to the public and other organizations, maintaining unity and values in the organization, protecting the Executive Director from inappropriate interference by members, and presiding at Board and Council Meetings, although they can appoint interim members of committees in the case of a vacancy until a successor is determined. The Executive Board administers established policies and programs and manages overall affairs of the organization (such as financial and progress reports) while giving policy recommendations to the Council, while the Executive Director (elected at the pleasure of the Board) manages day-to-day operations and the headquarters. The President, Vice President, immediate past President, Treasurer, and Executive Director are all members of the Executive Board (along with other members selected by the council for three-year terms), with the President acting as Chairperson. The governing body is the Council, which determines the policies of the Association, and to which all American Library Association units are responsible. Members of the Board are also ex-officio members of the Council, although the Executive Director cannot vote, and the President can only vote in case of a tie.[1][2]

Table of ALA presidents

Image Name Term Other ALA posts Other accomplishments
Justin Winsor[3] 1876–1885 Also served as president July–Oct. 1897. President of the American Historical Association, 1887. Director, Boston Public Library; Director Harvard Library.
William Frederick Poole[4] 1885–1887 President of the American Historical Association, 1888. Librarian, Boston Mercantile Library; Director, Boston Athenaeum; Director, Cincinnati Public Library; Director, Chicago Public Library; Director, Newberry Library.
Charles Ammi Cutter[5] 1887–1889 Developed the Cutter Expansive Classification system which became the basis for the top categories of the Library of Congress Classification; Director of the Boston Athenaeum,1869-1892.[6]
Frederick Morgan Crunden 1889–1890 Director St. Louis Public Library, 1877-1909; First president of the Missouri State Library Association.
Melvil Dewey[7] 1890 – July 1891 Also served as president 1892–1893; Served as treasurer, 1876–1877 and 1880–1881; Served as secretary 1879–1890 and 1897–1898. Developer of the Dewey Decimal System.
Samuel Swett Green July–Nov. 1891 "Father of reference work."[8]
Klas August Linderfelt October 16, 1891 – May 22, 1892 Councilor 1883–1891, vice president 1890–1891. Resigned following his arrest for embezzling from the Milwaukee Public Library and the executive board voted Fletcher the new president, retroactive to the beginning of the term. To this day, Linderfelt is absent from official ALA lists of its past presidents.[9][10] First librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library, 1880–1892
William Isaac Fletcher May 22, 1892 – 1892 Editor of ALA Index to General Literature. Director, Amherst College library, 1883-1911.
Melvil Dewey 1892–1893 See above.
Josephus Nelson Larned[11] 1893–1894 Chair ALA Advisory Committee to select 5,000 volumes for a model library at the World's Columbian Exposition President of the New York Library Association in 1896.
Henry Munson Utley 1894–1895 Director of the Detroit Public Library 1885-1913.[12]
John Cotton Dana[13] 1895–1896 Founder of the Newark Museum, 1909. Founder of the Special Libraries Association.
William Howard Brett 1896–1897 Developed the library school program at Western Reserve University. Dean, 1903.
Justin Winsor July–Oct. 1897 See above.
Rutherford P. Hayes Oct. 1897-Jan. 1898 Vice-president Hayes (son of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes) assumed the office of Acting President upon the death of Winsor without election by the executive board, despite the fact that it was unclear whether or not the ALA constitution allowed this. His successor, Putnam, was elected president following a special election.[14]
Herbert Putnam[15] Jan.–Aug. 1898 Also served as president 1903–1904. Librarian of Congress, 1899–1939.
William Coolidge Lane 1898–1899 Served as ALA secretary and treasurer for fourteen years and as chairman of its publishing board. Director of Harvard University Library,[16] President of the Bibliographical Society of America.
Reuben Gold Thwaites 1899–1900 President of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, 1910.
Henry James Carr 1900–1901 Also served as treasurer, 1886–1893; Served as secretary 1898–1900. Director of Scranton Public Library, 1891-1929.
John Shaw Billings[17] 1901–1902 First director of the New York Public Library. Modernizer of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office.
James Kendall Hosmer 1902–1903 Director, Minneapolis Public Library, 1892–1904. Author of many history books including The American Civil War.[18]
Herbert Putnam 1903–1904 See above.
Ernest Cushing Richardson[19] 1904–1905 Richardson Classification.[20]
Frank Pierce Hill 1905–1906 Also served as secretary 1891–1895. First director of the Newark Public Library, 1889.
Clement Walker Andrews 1906–1907 President of the American Library Institute from 1922 to 1924.
Arthur Elmore Bostwick 1907–1908 Director of Saint Louis Public Library, 1909-1938.
Charles Henry Gould[21] 1908–1909 Chaired ALA Committee on Interlibrary Loan.[22] First university librarian at McGill University, 1892, President of the Bibliographical Society of America
Nathaniel Dana Carlile Hodges 1909–1910 Director of the Cincinnati Public Library, 1900-1924.Notable Ohio Librarians Hall of Fame, 1980.
James Ingersoll Wyer 1910–1911 Also served as secretary, 1902–1909. From 1916 to 1920, chaired Library War Service Committee. Director of the New York State Library, 1908-1938.[23]
Theresa West Elmendorf Theresa West Elmendorf 1911–1912 American Library Association's first woman president. President of the New York Library Association 1903–1904.
Henry Eduard Legler 1912–1913 Secretary, Wisconsin Library Commission, 1904-1909. Librarian, Chicago Public Library, 1909-1917. Curator, Wisconsin Historical Society
Edwin Hatfield Anderson 1913–1914 Also served as treasurer, 1895–1896 Director of the New York Public Library, 1909–1934.
Hiller Crowell Wellman 1914–1915 Librarian for the Springfield (Massachusetts) City Library from 1902- 1948.
Mary Wright Plummer 1915–1916 Member of the first class taught by Melvil Dewey at the School of Library Economy, 1887.
Walter Lewis Brown 1916–1917 Created the ALA War Service Committee 1917. Director of the Buffalo, NY Public Library, 1906-1931; President of the New York Library Association, 1906.[24]
Thomas Lynch Montgomery 1917–1918 Founded the Pennsylvania Library Club, 1890.

Established the first branch of the Philadelphia Free Library, 1892.

William Warner Bishop[25] 1918–1919 Director University of Michigan Library, 1915-1941, reorganized Vatican Library and archives, President of the Bibliographical Society of America
Chalmers Hadley 1919–1920 Also served as secretary, 1909–1911. Director, Denver Public Library,1911–1924. Director Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 1924–1945.
Alice S. Tyler 1920–1921 Dean of the School of Library Science at Western Reserve University, 1912–1929
Azariah Smith Root[26] 1921–1922 Founding member of the ALA College Library Section, 1899. Director, Oberlin College Library, President of the Bibliographical Society of America
George Burwell Utley 1922–1923 Also served as secretary, 1911–1920. First director of the first tax supported public library in the state of Florida, Jacksonville Public Library, 1905.
Judson Toll Jennings 1923–1924 Director of the Seattle Public Library, 1907-1942.
Herman H. B. Meyer 1924–1925 Initiated the Library of Congress services for the blind,President of the Bibliographical Society of America
Charles F. D. Belden 1925–1926 Director of the Boston Public Library, 1917.[27]
George H. Locke 1926–1927 Chief Librarian at Toronto Public Library, 1908–1937.
Carl B. Roden 1927–1928 Also served as treasurer, 1910–1920. Chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library, 1918 to 1950, President of the Bibliographical Society of America
Linda A. Eastman 1928–1929 Founding member and later president of the Ohio Library Association.
Andrew Keogh 1929–1930 Librarian at Yale University, President of the Bibliographical Society of America
Adam Strohm 1930–1931 Director Detroit Public Library, 1912–1941
Josephine Adams Rathbone 1931–1932 Director, Pratt Institute Library School.[28]
Harry Miller Lydenberg[29] 1932–1933 Director of the Board of International Relations of the American Library Association, 1943–1946. Director of New York Public Library, 1934–1941, President of the Bibliographical Society of America.
Gratia A. Countryman 1933–1934 Director of Minneapolis Public Library, 1904–1936. President of the Minnesota Library Association,1904–1905.
Charles H. Compton 1934–1935 Library War Service Director, St. Louis Public Library, 1938–1950.
Louis Round Wilson[30] 1935–1936 Dean, University of Chicago Graduate Library School
Malcolm Glenn Wyer 1936–1937 Library War Service President, Iowa Library Association, Nebraska Library Association, Colorado Library Association
Harrison Warwick Craver 1937–1938 Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh[31]
Milton James Ferguson 1938–1939 Appointment of Librarian of Congress Committee 1937-1939 President Oklahoma Library Association; State Librarian of California, President, California Library Association,Chief Librarian of the Brooklyn Public Library, President, New York Library Association.
Ralph Munn 1939–1940 Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 1928–1964. Pennsylvania Library Association President, 1930–31
Essae Martha Culver[32] 1940–1941 First state librarian of Louisiana[33]
Charles Harvey Brown 1941–1942 Founder, Association of College and Research Libraries[34] Director, Iowa State University Library 1922- 1946
Keyes D. Metcalf 1942–1943
Althea H. Warren 1943–1944 Director of the American Library Association, National Defense Book Campaign.[35] President, California Library Association, 1921; Director of the Los Angeles Public Library, 1933-1947 [36]
Carl Vitz 1944–1945 Director, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 1946–1955
Ralph A. Ulveling[37] 1945–1946 Director, Detroit Public Library, 1941–1967. President, Michigan Library Association, 1937–1938.
Mary U. Rothrock[38] 1946–1947 Supervised the Tennessee Valley Authority libraries from 1934 to 1948; president of the Tennessee Library Association
Paul North Rice 1947–1948 U.S. Army World War I, Director of the New York University Libraries, Executive Secretary of the Association of Research Libraries
Errett Weir McDiarmid 1948–1949 University Librarian of the University of Minnesota.
Milton E. Lord 1949–1950
Clarence R. Graham 1950–1951 Director, Louisville Public Library, 1942-1977.
Loleta Dawson Fyan 1951–1952 Michigan Library Association President, 1934–1935. Michigan State Librarian, 1941–1961
Robert Bingham Downs[39] 1952–1953
Flora Belle Ludington[40] 1953–1954 Chairman of the board on International Relations, 1942–1945 Librarian, Mount Holyoke College, 1936–1964
L. Quincy Mumford 1954–1955 Librarian of Congress, 1954–1974.
John S. Richards 1955–1956 President, Public Library Association Director, Seattle Public Library
Ralph R. Shaw 1956–1957 Director of U.S. National Agricultural Library, 1940–1954. Founder of Scarecrow Press.
Lucile M. Morsch 1957–1958 First Chief of Descriptive Cataloging Division at Library of Congress, 1940. President, District of Columbia Library Association, 1954–1955
Emerson Greenaway 1958–1959 Chair, Intellectual Freedom Committee Director, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Director, Free Library of Philadelphia
Benjamin E. Powell 1959–1960 University Librarian, Duke University, 1946–1975.
Frances Lander Spain 1960–1961 Head of Children's Services at the New York Public Library.
Florrinell F. Morton 1961–1962 Director of the Library School at Louisiana State University, 1944 to 1971
James E. Bryan 1962–1963 President, New Jersey Library Association, 1952–1954
Frederick H. Wagman 1963–1964
Edwin Castagna 1964–1965
Robert Vosper 1965–1966 Director of Libraries of University of Kansas, 1952-1961 [41]
Mary V. Gaver 1966–1967
Foster E. Mohrhardt[42] 1967–1968 Director of the United States National Agricultural Library, 1954–1968
Roger McDonough 1968–1969 First State Librarian for New Jersey.
William S. Dix 1969–1970
Lillian M. Bradshaw 1970–1971
Keith Doms 1971–1972
Katherine Laich 1972–1973 Librarian, University of Southern California
Jean E. Lowrie 1973–1974
Edward G. Holley[43] 1974–1975
Allie Beth Martin 1975–Apr. 1976 Author- A Strategy for Public Library Change.[44] Director, Tulsa City-County Library, Oklahoma.
Clara Stanton Jones 1976–1977 She was the ALA's first African-American president, serving as its acting president from April 11 to July 22 in 1976 and then its president from July 22, 1976 to 1977.[45] Director, Detroit Public Library.
Eric Moon[46] 1977–1978
Russell Shank 1978–1979 President, Association of College and Research Libraries Director of Libraries of the Smithsonian Institution;[47] Chief Librarian at the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)[48]
Thomas J. Galvin 1979–1980 Executive Director of American Library Association, 1985–1989
Dr. Peggy Sullivan Peggy A. Sullivan 1980–1981 Executive Director of American Library Association, 1992–1994 Library historian,[49] library educator, library administrator.
Elizabeth W. (Betty) Stone 1981–1982
Carol A. Nemeyer 1982–1983
Brooke E. Sheldon 1983–1984
E. J. Josey[50] 1984–1985
Beverly P. Lynch 1985–1986
Regina Minudri 1986–1987
Margaret E. Chisholm 1987–1988
F. William Summers 1988–1989
Patricia Wilson Berger 1989–1990
Richard M. Dougherty 1990–1991 Association of College and Research Libraries Academic Librarian of the Year (1983),Joseph W. Lippincott Award Director of libraries at University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan.
Patricia G. Schuman 1991–1992 Treasurer, 1984–1988. American Library Association Honorary Membership founder and President, Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1973–2012
Marilyn L. Miller 1992–1993
Hardy R. Franklin 1993–1994
Arthur Curley 1994–1995 Deputy Director, New York Public Library Research Libraries. Deputy Director, Detroit Public Library. Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library. Director, Montclair Public Library. Director, Palatine Public Library. Director, Avon Public Library.[51]
Betty J. Turock 1995–1996 American Library Association Honorary Membership Dean and professor, Rutgers School of Communication and Information, Author, Envisioning a Nation Connected : Librarians Define the Public Interest in the Information Superhighway. [52]
Mary R. Somerville 1996–1997 President of the Association for Library Service to Children Director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System
| Barbara J. Ford 1997–1998 President of the Association of College and Research Libraries Director, Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003–2014.
Ann K. Symons 1998–1999 Also served as treasurer, 1992–1996.
Sarah Ann Long 1999–2000
Nancy C. Kranich 2000–2001 Editor, Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty. Chicago: American Library Association, 2001
John W. Berry 2001–2002 President of the Freedom to Read Foundation; trustee, American Library in Paris
Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman 2002–2003 President, Library and Information Technology Association
Carla D. Hayden 2003–2004 Librarian of Congress (appointed 2016)
Carol A. Brey-Casiano 2004–2005
Michael Gorman 2005–2006 Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century[53]
Leslie Burger 2006–2007 Established "Emerging Leaders Program" at the American Library Association.[54] Appointed interim Executive Director of the American Library Association in 2023.[55] President of the Connecticut Library Association. President of the New Jersey Library Association.
Loriene Roy 2007–2008 She was the ALA's first Native American president.[56][57] Convener on Indigenous Matters for the International Federation of Library Associations, 2008-2009
James R. Rettig 2008–2009
Camila A. Alire 2009–2010 She was the ALA's first Hispanic/Latina American president.
Roberta A. Stevens 2010–2011
Molly Raphael 2011–2012
Maureen Sullivan 2012–2013
Barbara Stripling 2013–2014 President of the Freedom to Read Foundation
Courtney Young 2014–2015
Sari Feldman 2015–2016
Julie Todaro 2016–2017 President, Association of College and Research Libraries, 2007-2008. Dean of Library Services, Austin Community College. President, Texas Library Association, 2000-2001.
James G. Neal
2017–2018 Senior Policy Fellow, American Library Association to advise the Washington Office on Public Policy and Advocacy
Loida Garcia-Febo 2018–2019
Wanda Kay Brown 2019–2020 President, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, 2006-2008. First president from a HBCU (historically black college or university). C. G. O'Kelly Library at Winston-Salem State University.
Julius C. Jefferson Jr. 2020–2021 President of the Freedom to Read Foundation, 2013–2016.
Patricia "Patty" Wong 2021–2022 She was the ALA's first Asian American president.
Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada 2022–2023 ALA's first Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander American president.
Emily Drabinski 2023–2024 Associate Professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.[59]
Cindy Hohl Cindy Hohl 2024–2025 First SPECTRUM scholar to be ALA President. President of the American Indian Library Association, 2020–2021.
Raymond Pun 2025–2026 President, Chinese American Librarians Association, 2022–2023; President, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, 2021-2022.


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