For immediate release | March 1, 2017

COSWL Celebrates National Women’s History Month

During the entire month of March, the ALA Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL) will recognize and celebrate women’s achievements with National Women’s History Month.

This year the Committee is putting the spotlight on librarians who participated in the Women’s March — a grassroots effort to send the message that women’s rights are human rights. It was a worldwide protest held on January 21-22, 2017. Visit our highlights page to look at some of the photos and read their stories.

The first planned protest was in Washington, D.C., and is known as the Women's March on Washington. The Women’s March drew over 500,000 people to Washington D.C. alone, and worldwide participation has been estimated at five million. After the marches, officials who organized them reported that more than 800 marches took place worldwide, on all seven continents, in 50 different countries including nearly 700 in the U.S. Librarians were front and center in many of these marches. See list for more details on locations where marches were held.

National Women’s History Month traces its origins back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was later observed in 1909. In 1981, the U.S. Congress designated the second week of March National Women's History Week, and in 1987 Congress expanded it to a month-long observance.

COSWL was established by the ALA Council on July 23, 1976, to officially represent the diversity of women’s interests within ALA and to ensure that the Association considers the rights of the majority (women) in the library field.

Over the years COSWL has helped develop evaluative tools, guidelines, and programs in cooperation with other ALA units to enhance the opportunities and the image of women in the library profession. COSWL has several social media outlets which highlight news and interests related to women’s issues:

COSWL represents the ALA as a national coalition member of the National Women’s History Museum where its mission of affirming the value of knowing Women's History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future.

Other groups within the ALA are concerned with women’s issues, including SRRT Feminist Task Force (FTF) and the ACRL Women’s Studies Section (WSS).

For additional information on National Women’s History Month, please visit the National Women’s History Project.

The ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) serves as the liaison to COSWL.

Related Links

ALA Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL)

Women's March highlights page

COSWL Facebook Page

COSWL Twitter Page

COSWL LinkedIn Page

National Women’s History Museum

National Women’s History Project

ACRL Women’s Studies Section (WSS)

SRRT Feminist Task Force (FTF)

ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR)


Lorelle Swader


Office for Human Resource Development & Recruitment (HRDR)