Strategic Plan

Mission and Goals

The Illinois Library Association is the voice for Illinois libraries and the millions who depend on them. It provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services in Illinois and for the library community in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. This access is essential for an open democratic society, an informed electorate, and the advancement of knowledge for all people. Its primary goals are:

Advocating for the Public Interest

  • develop and promote strong public policy related to libraries, literacy, and lifelong learning;
  • defend intellectual freedom and access to information; and 
  • increase public awareness of the value of libraries to society.

Promoting Excellence and Innovation

  • provide outstanding programs of continuing education and leadership development;
    support the recruitment, retention and professional development of a culturally and racially diverse workforce for libraries;
  • produce high-quality publications and communications; and
  • celebrate the achievement of excellence and innovation on behalf of the membership

Managing the Present to Prepare for the Future

  • In order to achieve these goals, ILA will use its resources wisely and maintain a flexible structure that promotes the diverse interests and broad participation of members.


The Illinois Library Association is indispensable in leading efforts in library advocacy and collaboration, and serving as a springboard to innovation and excellence in library services. In service of these priorities, ILA will use its resources wisely and maintain a flexible structure that promotes the diverse interests and broad participation of members and units.

Strategies to Achieve Vision

Collaboration and partnerships. Develop and enhance the impact of partnerships between ILA and other professional associations, organizations, and library consortia to develop a collective voice for Illinois libraries; enhance the breadth and depth of programming and services available to the library community; and leverage the expertise and strengths of ILA staff and membership.

Sample Action Items to Advance this Strategy
Coordinate recruitment, retention, and leadership development programming with ALA, the Illinois State Library, Illinois School Library Media Association, Illinois chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and other partner organizations to increase the collective voice of and enhance diversity in libraries. Expand access to online and other virtual leaning opportunities to expand the reach of professional development. Make tools available within the association for ILA's forums to deliver online, year-round professional development program, both to ILA's members and to the Illinois library community.

Financial strength and sustainability. Remain fiscally conservative in developing annual operating budgets and fiscally disciplined in growing the level of association long term investment reserves to insure the viability of the association to support member needs.

Sample Action Items to Advance this Strategy
Pursue grants and foundation support to supplement traditional revenue streams. Increase recruitment efforts to expand membership. Increase fund and friend-raising efforts to build a stronger financial cushion for ILA. Pursue entrepreneurial development opportunities by marketing ILA content to other organizations.

Advocacy and public awareness. Enhance ILA’s recognized leadership and success in legislative advocacy by becoming more proactive in the legislative process and by increasing the effectiveness of initiatives by ILA and by individual member libraries that promote the value of libraries to the communities we serve.

Sample Action Items to Advance this Strategy
Improve the effectiveness of member contacts with government officials at the local, state, and national levels. Proactively develop legislative proposals to strengthen the position of libraries. Assist libraries in positively shaping the perceptions of libraries held by the communities we serve.

Innovation and excellence. Focus ILA programming on library best practices and transformation to showcase opportunities for libraries to become increasingly indispensable to the communities we serve by expanding their reach and impact. Help libraries and librarians use new technology tools to improve services to their communities and meet their patrons where they are.

Sample Action Items to Advance this Strategy
Participate in the development and revision of public library standards. Utilize social networking tools to stimulate library innovation and the sharing of information about best practices and effective models for moving forward in all areas. Offer more year-round online professional development opportunities through ILA's forums and the tools to do such training.

Communication and outreach. Revise ILA publications and communications initiatives to meet members where they are and at the point of need with timely and relevant information and content. Use online communication tools to foster dialog within the Illinois library community and to facilitate innovation and excellence in Illinois libraries.

Sample Action Items to Advance this Strategy
Review all aspects of current ILA Web site; publications and communications processes and redesign as appropriate for highest ROI. Seek new ways to engage ILA leadership and to empower collaboration of the broader membership in the resulting communications environment. Use and make available Web conferencing and/or teleconferencing resources to facilitate communication among ILA's committees and forums. Use ILA's content management system to provide communication and technology infrastructure to committees and forums.

Revised and approved by ILA Board, June 17, 2011

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