Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services: What We Do

ODLOS Venn Diagram, equity, diversity, inclusion, and outreach, and literacy, and social justice

Equity, diversity, inclusion, literacy, and outreach are part of the work across the American Library Association. None of these areas should be delegated to one office. It is where these issues intersect with social justice that the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) provides leadership, education, and consultation. ODLOS hosts and sponsors various events at ALA conferences. These events can be viewed on our webpage


The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) supports library and information science workers in creating responsible and all-inclusive spaces that serve and represent the entire community. To accomplish this, we decenter power and privilege by facilitating conversations around access and identity as they impact the profession and those we serve. We use a social justice framework to inform library and information science workers' development of resources. We strive to create an association culture where these concerns are incorporated into everybody's everyday work.

ODLOS actively works across the ALA and with membership to consult, facilitate, coordinate and train on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the membership, the field of librarianship, and our communities. It is our responsibility to serve and support the following individuals and groups:

  • Historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups 
  • Those discriminated against based on gender or sexual identities and expressions
  • Those from other protected classes, including age, religion, and disability status
  • Those discriminated against based on nationality or language
  • Those who experience socioeconomic barriers
  • People geographically isolated
  • People experiencing hunger, homelessness and poverty
  • Immigrants, refugees and new Americans
  • New and non-readers

ODLOS Frameworks 

Graphic of three frameworks, diversity, cultural competency, and social justice

There are three frameworks that ground the work in the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services: 

1. Diversity - To create an understanding and appreciation for cultural and social differences. 

2. Cultural Competency - Effectively interacting with people of different backgrounds and cultures.

3. Social Justice - Focus on power dynamics among different groups of people while acknowledging historical and institutional inequities.