History of Diversity in SLA

DICE is the most recent outcome of members seeing value in identifying issues of diversity and inclusion that will realize the goals of an association that sees it as a welcoming and inclusive organization. This is a brief outline of an association that had its start at an ALA meeting in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in July 1909, and how that association and its members continued to evolve, grow and keep the issues of diversity present for the membership.

Much of this information comes from the Special Libraries collection of the association’s Journal maintained at http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/sla/ .



1909 – Special Libraries Association is formed.


1920 – “Colored Branches of the Louisville Free Public Library.” By Thomas F. Blue, Special Libraries Association, “Special Libraries, June 1920” (1920). Special Libraries, 1920. 6.

* Thomas F. Blue, the nation’s first African-American to head a public library. On September 23, 1905, Blue when was chosen to head the Louisville Western Branch Library, the first public library in the nation to serve African-American patrons with an exclusively African-American staff.


1932 – Montreal Chapter is added to SLA. The first chapter of SLA formed outside of the United States.



  • the Positive Action Program for Minority Groups is established following discussion at the 1972 annual meeting and approved by the board after a report delivered at the 1973 SLA Midwinter Meeting in Tulsa. Committee definition approved Jan 30, 1973.


  • “Consider the Handicapped!” by Larry K. Volin. Special Libraries Association, “Special Libraries, September 1972” (1972). Special Libraries, 1972. 7.


  • Social Responsibility Committee, of the Minnesota Chapter, expresses their commitment to concentrate on Prison Reform. Special Libraries Association, “Special Libraries, September 1972” (1972). Special Libraries, 1972. 7.


  • European Chapter formed, moving SLA beyond a North American association.  This is noted in a brief historical review: Special Libraries Association, “Special Libraries, Winter 1990” (1990). Special Libraries, 1990. 1.


1989 – the board changes the name of the Positive Action Program for Minority Groups to the Affirmative Action Committee.


1995 – the SLA Affirmative Action Committee developed the Diversity Leadership

Development Program.


2005 – Inclusion Caucus, formed during the 2005 SLA Annual Conference in Toronto, is a new partner collaborating with SLA units to provide a clearinghouse for the activities and practices that best promote inclusion.


2016Diversity Leadership Development Program Committee dissolved effective January 1, 2016.


2017– the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force is created to explore the role of diversity and inclusion within SLA and the services and needs of our members.


2018Diversity, Inclusion, Community, and Equity (DICE) Caucus as a result of a recommendation made by the association’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.Open to all SLA members at no cost, DICE creates a way for SLA members to get involved in issues related to diversity within SLA’s offerings.

SLA President Roberto Sarmiento

Statement of Purpose

SLA’s Diversity, Inclusion, Community, Equity (DICE) Caucus is a permanent, organized presence of diversity and inclusion (D&I) within and for the association and its members. All SLA members may join DICE at no charge. DICE provides tools and more for units and members. 



Events, Webinars, Links, RSS

Events, webinars, etc. – conferences, lectures, webinars on Diversity Inclusion Equity and Community in LIS:
  • The second Critical Librarianship & Pedagogy Symposium will be held November 15-16 2018 at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. The 2018 theme is “Power & Resistance in Library Pedagogy”.  **Registration will be free
  • IDEAL ’19 to be held Tuesday–Wednesday, August 6–7, 2019 formerly the National Diversity in Libraries Conference.  Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in Libraries & Archives.