Vision Statement

Preserving yesterday, enhancing today, imagining tomorrow.

Mission Statement

To support libraries, through leadership and collaboration, in fostering lifelong learning and community enrichment.

Core Values

We are...

Strategic Directions

-- FY2023-2025 ALS Strategic Plan Approved by the ALS Governing Board on February 23, 2023
  *to request a full copy of the ALS strategic plan, please email 


The Arrowhead Library System (ALS) traces its roots to the Arrowhead Area Library Study Committee formed in 1964. This group, which involved 61 people over a two year period, was directly responsible for the formation of the System in 1965. Carlton, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties were the first members, followed by Itasca County in 1966, Cook in 1967, Lake of the Woods in 1968, and Lake in 1974. William R. Gordon was the first Director, followed by Kenneth R. Nielsen in 1977, Jim Weikum in 1992, and Mollie Stanford in 2024.

Original services offered by the new Arrowhead Library System included reciprocal borrowing, library consultant service, interlibrary loan and centralized registration of borrowers. In 1967 bookmobile service was initiated and in 1972 books by mail began. A print shop was founded in 1975. Today a wide variety of services is offered, including delivery van service, video/audio formats, online newspaper and magazine databases, downloadable audiobooks and e-books, and a regional online catalog.

Arrowhead Library System merged with the North Country Library Cooperative (NCLC) multitype library system in 2012 to become the state's first regional public and multitype library system.  As a multitype system, ALS facilitates cooperation among academic, public, school, and special libraries and receives basic operating funds assigned by statue to the seven regional multitype library systems through a biennial appropration from the Minnesota Legislature.