The Vermont Library Association (VLA) affirms its support for the American Library Association (ALA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization that develops, promotes, and improves library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
The American Library Association has a representative in Vermont, Chapter Councilor Jessamyn West, who has served in this position since 2020.
- Promotes the Library Bill of Rights, affirming that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and Freedom to Read, affirming Americans can make their own decisions about what they read and believe.
- Supports First Amendment rights to free speech, thought, and opinion;
- Is composed of and serves people of all demographics and ideologies;
- Is not a governing body and has no authority over the governance of Vermont libraries, which have a wide range of organizing structures;
- Is governed by a council and executive board elected by the membership, including a representative from the Vermont Library Association;
- Provides information about library best practices to its membership, and creates public relations campaigns that promote library services;
- Offers professional development, publications, and conferences to its membership.
ALA is an effective advocate for funding from the federal government through the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) grants to states. Through ALA’s efforts with its members and allies, including the Chief Officers of State Library Associations, IMLS has increased its base funding nationally. The Vermont Department of Libraries has seen an increase of $326,077 or 26% from 2019 to 2023, to $1,247,111 annually.
During the pandemic years, ALA pushed for further support for libraries across the country. The Vermont Department of Libraries received additional critical dollars, $56,384 from the CARES Act and $2,135,819 from the American Rescue Plan Act.
ALA is the second-largest grant funder to libraries. Since 2021, ALA has awarded 44 libraries in Vermont a total of $276,000 for digital training workshops, bolstering technology in small and rural libraries, STEM resources, and other professional development and resources to help libraries better serve the needs of their communities.