Church Library Association, originally Lutheran Church Library
Association, was founded in 1958 by a gathering of lay people interested
in furthering the growth of libraries in Lutheran churches.
Erwin E. John sparked the flame and became the first president
and editor of its journal, Lutheran Libraries. He was supported
in the venture first by Augsburg Publishing House and then also
by the three other Lutheran publishers of the time, Augustana Book
Concern, Muhlenburg Press, and Concordia Publishing House.
Over the next few decades, membership reached unprecedented heights.
Local chapters took root and spread, providing valuable opportunities
for networking and support. In time, Christian church libraries
from all denominations were welcomed into membership.
In the fall of 2004, members voted overwhelmingly
to rename the organization National Church Library Association.
The name change
came as an acknowledgment of the organization’s now ecumenical
membership, as well as its desire to actively reach out to under-supported
libraries across all Christian denominations.
Today, new resources and support programs are always
under development at NCLA to serve the unique, evolving needs of
the church librarian. A mentor program, conferences, recommended
title lists, librarian guides, articles, new resource reviews, and
program ideas are available to support and educate members. A newly
expanded Web site and a vibrant, redesigned journal, now known as
Libraries Alive, are among the most recent developments.
No longer financially supported by the Lutheran publishing houses,
the organization relies on membership dues and gifts to support