California Library Association
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CLA Overview

The California Library Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, established in 1895 under the title of "Library Association of Central California," and lead by its first President, J.C. Rowell from the University of California. Through the leadership of the ninety-eight Presidents that followed, CLA has enjoyed a rich and memorable history. The Association's Annual Conferences have occurred since 1897, and early meetings were hosted by the cities of San Francisco, Redlands, Oakland, Long Beach, Lake Tahoe, Pasadena and Santa Barbara, among others. In 1906, the organization changed its name to the California Library Association.

Currently, CLA has nearly 3,000 Individual, Business, and Institutional members. Individual members include librarians, library employees, library students, friends group members, trustees, retirees as well as members of the general public who wish to support California libraries. CLA Business members represent a wide range of library-supporting businesses, whereas Institutional members include library institutions and systems who support the association's advocacy programs.

Annually, CLA provides professional development and advocacy support for its members and the California library community at large. Additionally, CLA supports the administration of the California Summer Reading Program as well as further summer enrichment programs funded by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

The California Library Association is committed to helping library staff develop the knowledge and skills needed to work for 21st Century libraries, and to advance in the library field.

Mission Statement

CLA is the Community for California Libraries

CLA provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services, librarianship, and the library community. We help members excel in a fast-changing job market. We're a resource for learning about new ideas and technology, and we actively work to influence legislation affecting libraries and librarians.

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The banner photo of the Potrero Branch Library in San Francisco was shot by Henrik Kam.

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