MLA is Michigan’s oldest and largest library association spanning more than a century. Guided by the belief that free access to information is the cornerstone of a free society, the Michigan Library Association has advocated for libraries on behalf of the state’s residents for more than 100 years. MLA defends the right to read, advocates for adequate library funding, clarifies library governance issues, promotes librarian education, and works for free access of information to all residents.

It has influenced the course of Michigan’s libraries since its inception in 1891, when Mary A. Eddy, the librarian at Coldwater Free Public Library, wrote to Henry M. Utley of the Detroit Public Library about organizing a state library association. They had discussed this matter at the 1890 meeting of the American Library Association in New Hampshire, believing a state association would be helpful to Michigan librarians unable to attend national conferences. Working closely with Lucy Ball, Grand Rapids Public Library, they awakened statewide interest and arranged  the first Michigan meeting in Detroit, September 1, 1891. Thirty-seven members attended, elected a slate of five officers and printed their original 40-line constitution on a 3-inch by 6-inch card. Mr. Utley became the association's first president.


MLA’s Membership

MLA’s membership is comprised of more than 1,500 individual and organizational members from public, academic, private and special libraries. MLA serves all library professionals and their supporters.

Library Advocacy

MLA advocates on behalf of libraries and library issues by educating members, trustees, friends and elected officials about library issues critical to libraries such as free access to information and library funding.

Professional Development Benefits

Among MLA’s many professional development benefits are numerous educational and networking workshops and conferences; Jobline, which helps libraries with staffing needs; leadership opportunities to serve on boards and committees; award and recognition programs; and speaking and publishing opportunities.