History of the APA Library

The APA Library was founded in 1932 as the Joint Reference Library.

It was begun by six organizations interested in governmental activity: International City Management Association, Public Administration Clearing House, American Municipal Association, American Legislators' Association, American Public Welfare Association, and Municipal Finance Officers' Association.

In 1938, a building was constructed on the University of Chicago campus to house these similar organizations.

For a time, the shared library was known as the Merriam Center Library, named for University of Chicago political scientist Charles E. Merriam.

1313 E. 60th St., Chicago

APA's library was a shared resource known as the Merriam Center Library when it was housed at 1313 E. 60th St. in Chicago from 1938 to 1995.

Also in 1938, the American Society of Planning Officials (ASPO) joined the cluster of organizations at 1313 E. 60th St. in Chicago and became a library supporter. ASPO merged with the American Institute of Planners in 1979 to form the American Planning Association (APA).

By the mid-1990s most of the organizations originally housed at 1313 E. 60th St. had moved from the building, and APA inherited the research library, now renamed the APA Library. It continued as a valuable resource in APA's Chicago office at 122 S. Michigan Ave. from 1995 through mid-2010, and is now open at the Chicago office's current location: 205 N. Michigan Ave.

Institutional Archives at Cornell

APA maintains an institutional archive at Cornell University. Items pertaining to APA's organizational history — including the history of the two predecessor organizations (AIP and ASPO) — are housed in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

American Institute of Planners (AIP) Archive

American Society of Planning Officials (ASPO) Archive

American Planning Association (APA) Archive