Donate Materials

The ALA Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to inactive records of enduring value from ALA units (offices, divisions, committees, round tables, etc.), members’ papers as they relate to ALA activities and librarianship, and manuscripts and records on the history of librarianship.

Material should be transferred in the order which the creator maintained it. A transmittal form briefly identifying the material and describing the activity and ALA Unit to which it relates should accompany the shipment.

Detailed instructions on depositing and shipping records to the ALA Archives can be found here: Accessioning to the ALA Archives. These criteria are intended as a general guide. If there are questions about the retention or disposal of specific records, please contact the ALA Archives at (217) 333-7841.

Always contact the ALA Archives BEFORE sending out materials. Do NOT send materials without prior permission from the Archives.

Transmittal Form

Box of letters
Box of letters donated to the archives.

Before sending out your boxes, please fill out a transmittal form for the entire set of boxes that you are accessioning to the archives. Make sure a copy of the form is in each box you send as we often get shipments from multiple sources at once, and it is also useful to send us a copy of the form via email for us to have on hand. You can find a link to a copy of the form and an example form below:

Records to be transferred include:

  • Official records: constitutions, by-laws, minutes, transcripts, rosters, etc.
  • Office files: correspondence, memoranda, and subject files concerning office activities
  • Historical files documenting policies, decisions, committee reports, questionnaires, events, speeches
  • Publications: one record copy of all programs, journals, monographs, newsletters, brochures, posters and announcements
  • Audio-visuals: photographs, sound recordings, films, and videos
  • Personal papers of members which relate directly to association work; for personal papers not directly related to ALA work, please consult the Archives prior to transfer
  • Charts and maps

Records that should not be transferred include:

  • Records of specific financial and membership transactions
  • Letters of transmittal where the date and routing information is on the document transmitted
  • Requests for publications or information after the requests have been filled
  • All blank forms and unused printed or duplicated materials
  • All duplicate material: keep only the original copy and annotated copies
  • Papers, reports, work papers and drafts of published materials

    ALA Gavel
    Gavel made from the former ALA Headquarters, the McCormick Mansion.

  • Replies to questionnaires if the results are recorded and preserved in the archives or a published report

This does not mean you need to go through each file and weed out these materials!


Because of the limited ability to care for artifacts, please consult the Archives prior to transfer. This includes tote bags, shirts, pens, and other non-paper based promotional items.

Materials should be sent to:

American Library Association Archives
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1707 South Orchard Street
Urbana, IL 61801