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Florida Library Association
Formation1920; 104 years ago (1920)
HeadquartersTallahassee, FL
Parent organization
American Library Association

The Florida Library Association (FLA) is a regional, non-profit organization that promotes professional discourse and opportunities for the library community in Florida.[1] The FLA publishes the Florida Libraries Journal.[2]

The organization's mission shares similar goals with the American Library Association (ALA), in that organization members promote adapting to the new information age. The Florida Library Association began meeting in 1906,[3] but it was officially formed in 1920 by Helen Virginia Stelle, director of the Tampa Public Library.[4][5] In addition to its publication, Florida Libraries , the FLA provides a forum for issues and advocacy.[1]


Prior to any formal organization, the first state-wide assembly of Florida librarians took place in December 1906 in St. Augustine. On April 26, 1920, the Florida Library Association was officially established. [citation needed]

The institution started out with 23 charter members whose primary goal was to embolden the state government, to establish a state library agency, and to endorse legislation that allowed for counties to establish their own libraries within their own communities.[6] They were successful in their efforts, and in 1925 the state library was established. In 1931 a county library law was sanctioned. The first chairman and then-president of the Florida Library Association was Helen Virginia Stelle.[6]

Each year since 1920, with the exception of 1943-1945 (due to WWII), the conference has taken place in various libraries throughout the state. This federation and assembly of Florida librarians have brought about progress in discourse, activism, and forward-thinking adaptations to the way libraries function throughout the state.[6] Themes which over its history have informed the FLA assembly, its mission, and its activism include “The Enlightened South” in 1966, “Threshold of a New Decade” in 1969, libraries as a “Renewable Resource” in 1986, and “Diverse Libraries to Serve Floridians” in 2000.

The 1935 Florida Library Survey statement demonstrates the FLA’s commitment to its mission by indicating that the organization “must take the lead to inform citizens of the desirability of library service to meet their practical and cultural needs.” [6]


The FLA addresses important and impactful issues that affect Florida's libraries and intellectual freedom.[7] Its Statement on Professional Education states that Librarians and Library Directors must have a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences or Studies to uphold professional standards. The Statement on Privatization of Publicly-Supported Libraries advocates that efforts to privatize libraries by for-profit organizations should be opposed.

The FLA organizes an annual Library Legislative Day during which librarians, library advocates, and other supporters meet both virtually and in person at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee to speak with legislators in order to raise awareness of library issues.[8]

Court cases

In 2006, the FLA filed an amicus curiae memorandum in the United States District Court in support of an ACLU and Miami-Dade Student Government Association lawsuit. The Miami-Dade County School Board removed the book Vamos a Cuba and "A Visit to..." book series from the Miami-Dade School Board libraries and classrooms. In early 2009, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision to return the book to the school libraries.[7][9]


The FLA supports the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) in their opposition to filed Florida legislation HB855 and SB1454, which has been criticized by the National Coalition Against Censorship for weakening First Amendment rights to freedom of speech by "authorizing any Florida resident (even if they have no connection to a particular school or library) to sue for injunctions to remove material they deem controversial and burden school districts with legal fees and court action."[10]

Public awareness tools

The FLA works to show the benefits of Florida's libraries. On their website, the Association promotes several tools and information sources, including Return on Investment information, data to support advocacy messages, Access Studies, and recommended readings.[11][12]

Friends of Florida Libraries Honor Roll

The Friends of Florida Libraries Honor Roll supports FLA advocacy activities within the state government. Every year, the Friends of Florida Libraries sponsors a Library Day in Tallahassee in order to advocate for funding, library related legislation, and awareness.[13][14]


Bernadette E. Storck- Florida Library Association Past President and Archivist

The Florida Library Association records are available for research at the University of South Florida Libraries Tampa Special Collections. The collection consists of 144 boxes of historical research material and institutional records, ranging from 1905 to 2015. Included in the repository are meeting minutes, treasurer's reports, conference programs, planning material, newspaper clippings, photographs, committee records, and other associated subject files. They were organized by Bernadette E. Storck, 1979-1980 FLA president. The collection is available to affiliated University of South Florida researchers and the general public.[15]


The FLA offers multiple scholarships each year. In 2018-2019, there were three scholarships offered.[16] There were 3 FLA MLS Graduate scholarships for $2,000 each. The first one was the Florida State University Scholarship that was for a student attending the Florida State University MSLIS graduate program. The second scholarship was the Bernadette Stork/University of South Florida Scholarship that was for a student who was attending the University of South Florida MLIS graduate program. The third scholarship was the Minority Scholarship, for an MLS graduate student attending either Florida State University or the University of South Florida.

List of presidents

Year President
2022 Shane Roopnarine
2021 Phyllis Gorshe
2020 Laura Spears
2019 Eric Head
2018 Sarah J. Hammill
2017 Elana Karshmer
2016 Gene Coppola
2015 Linda McCarthy
2014 Gladys Roberts
2013 Barbara J. Stites
2012 Gloria Colvin
2011 John Callahan
2010 Wendy Breeden
2009 Mercedes Clement
2008 Charlie Parker
2007 Sol Hirsch
2006 Nancy Pike
2005 Derrie Perez
2004 John Szabo
2003 Marta Westall
2002 Betty Johnson
2001 Mary Brown
2000 Madison Mosley
1999 Mary Jane Little
1998 Patricia DeSalvo
1997 Eileen Cobb
1996 Elizabeth Curry
1995 Helen Moeller
1994 Susan Anderson
1993 Ann Williams
1992 Alphonse Trezza
1991 Linda O'Connor-Levy
1990 Thomas Reitz
1989 Althea Jenkins
1988 John D. Hales
1987 Lydia Acosta
1986 James Wheeler
1985 John McCrossan
1984 Jean Rhein
1983 Harold Goldstein
1982 Ada Seltzer
1981 Samuel F. Morrison
1979-1980 Bernadette Storck
1979 John DePew
1978 Glenn Miller
1977 Eloise Harbeson
1976 Ed Sintz
1975 Virginia Grazier
1974 Dennis Robison
1973 David Kantor
1972 Leo Meirose
1971 Lynn Walker
1970 Cecil Beach
1969 DeLyle Runge
1968 Verna Nistendirk
1967 Elizabeth B. Mann
1966 Margaret Chapman
1965 Harry Brinton
1964 Thomas Dreier
1963 Ruth Rockwood
1962 Betty S. Lunnon
1961 Elliott Hardaway
1960 Frank B. Sessa
1959 Archie L. McNeal
1958 Helen L. Keepfe
1957 Dorothy Dodd
1956 Elizabeth Peeler
1955 William Frieze
1954 Dr. Louis Shores
1953 Alice Pearce
1952 Paul A.T. Noon
1951 Clara E. Wendel
1950 Stanley L. West
1949 Sara Malcolm Krentzman
1948 Betty W. Service
1947 Ida Kelley Cresap
1945-1946 Eulah Mae Snider
1943-1944 Wesley Summers
1942 Bertha Aldrich
1941 Olive Brumbaugh
1940 R.W. Severance
1939 Henrie Mae Eddy
1937-1938 Mary Bright
1936 Carl Bohnenberger
1934-1935 William F. Yust
1932-1933 Louise Richardson
1931 Helen V. Stelle
1929-1930 Joseph F. Marron
1928 Olive Brumbaugh
1926-1927 Anne VanNess Brown
1924-1925 Cora Miltimore
1923 Louise Gamsby
1922 Helen V. Stelle
1921 Joseph F. Marron
1920 Helen V. Stelle (Convener)
1907-1910 George Burwell Utley
1905-1906 Carolyn Palmer



  1. ^ a b "FLA Mission Statement". Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  2. ^ "Florida Libraries". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  3. ^ Urbec, Karen. “The History of the Florida Library Association Is a Story of Service, Devotion, and Hard Work.” Florida Libraries 63, no. 1 (Spring 2020): 20–23.
  4. ^ Storck, Bernadette (2006). "From the FLA Archives: a Collection of Events, Facts and Personages from the Past". Florida Libraries. 49 (2): 23.
  5. ^ Gebhardt, Maria. 2014. “The Florida Library Association: A Century of Leadership, Advocacy, and Communication.” Florida Libraries 57 (2): 5–10.
  6. ^ a b c d Urbec, K. (2020). The History of the Florida Library Association is a story of service, devotion, and hard Work. Florida Libraries, 63(1), 20–23.
  7. ^ a b "FLA on the Issues". Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  8. ^ "FLA Home Page".
  9. ^ "American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Incorporated, Miami-Dad County Student Government Association versus Miami-Dade County School Board, Rudolph F. Crew" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit. February 5, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 11, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  10. ^ "Florida Students Threatened by Proposed Censorship Legislation" (PDF). National Coalition Against Censorship. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2021. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  11. ^ "FLorida Public Library ROI - Home". Archived from the original on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  12. ^ "FLA Public Awareness Tools". Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  13. ^ "Honor Roll Campaign". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  14. ^ "Library Day at the Legislature". Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  15. ^ University of South Florida Libraries - Special Collections (2020). "Guide to the Florida Library Association records, 1905-2015".
  16. ^ O'Donnell, Lisa. "2019 Scholarship Information". Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  17. ^ "Presidential and Conference History". Florida Library Association. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2022.