American Library Association
In 1917, as the United States mobilized for war, the American Library Association (ALA) identified a need for libraries on training bases.
The ALA established the Library War Service program to provide reading materials to American soldiers. By the beginning of 1918, the Library War Service had raised enough money to construct 32 camp libraries. To fill these libraries, the ALA held three book drives; one in September 1917, one in March 1918, and one in January 1919. National press coverage for the Library War Service’s efforts was extensive. Several images were created specifically for ALA posters and book plates.
As the U.S. sent more soldiers overseas, the Library War Service went with them. The ALA established central library offices in Europe through which they provided troops with reading materials. The Library War Service established the American Library in Paris and the basis for loaning materials through the mail. Libraries established by the Library War Service also offered classes and reading lists
At the close of the war, the ALA transferred control of the libraries to the military and any surplus books were transferred to libraries in need. The ALA used the success of the Library War Service to promote continued use of public libraries by returning soldiers.