Membership Libraries Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Membership Libraries Group is an organization of non-profit membership libraries in the U.S., formed in 1991. Membership libraries are rare in the United States today. Although numerous in the 18th and 19th centuries, they declined after the American Civil War, when the free public library as we know it today developed.


In April 1991, a support group for membership libraries was formed in New York, hosted by the Mercantile Library and its director, Harold Augenbraum. The twelve libraries in attendance chose the name Membership Libraries Group.

It was decided that the Membership Libraries Group (MLG) would meet annually in the fall, at a different member institution each year. Attendees at the meetings would exchange ideas and discuss issues especially pertinent to membership libraries. The twelve institutions in attendance, and their respective directors, were declared the Founding Members of the MLG.[1] They were:

To be an active and voting Member, an institution must be financially self-supporting, can not be part of a larger organization, and must provide a circulating library to its members. Some libraries fill some, but not all, of these criteria; they may be accepted as Associate Members.


  1. ^ Torri, Erika (2017). Twenty-six Meetings of the Membership Libraries Group 1991-2016. La Jolla, CA: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. ISBN 9780982828960.