Diversity in Libraries

Diversity is a fundamental value of the American Library Association and its members. 

The library profession recognizes the critical need for access to library and information resources, services, and technologies by all people, especially those who may experience language or literacy-related barriers; economic distress; cultural or social isolation; physical or attitudinal barriers; racism; discrimination on the basis of appearance, ethnicity, immigrant status, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression; or barriers to equal education, employment, and housing.

Libraries can and should play a crucial role in empowering diverse populations for full participation in a democratic society.

Librarianship recognizes the value of a diverse workforce in achieving this vision. By assembling the perspectives and experiences of multiple diversities—age, gender, ethnicity, physical ability, sexuality, and more—libraries can continue to innovate and improve services and respond to the needs of the nation’s changing communities.

The ALA Office for Diversity serves as the liaison to the five ALA-Affiliated Associations of Ethnic Librarian groups listed below.

  • American Indian Library Association
    The AILA, (American Indian Library Association) is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association
    The mission of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association is to address the needs of Asian Pacific American librarians and those who serve Asian Pacific American communities.
  • Black Caucus of ALA
    The BCALA (Black Caucus of the American Library Association) serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation's African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.
  • Chinese American Librarians Association
    CALA (Chinese American Library Association) promote Sino-American librarianship and library services; and the development of Chinese American librarianship and services To provide a vehicle whereby Chinese
  • REFORMA (services to Spanish-speaking and Latinos)
    REFORMA promotes the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population in regards to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos.

Other Diverse Groups