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Status of Women in Librarianship, Committee on the | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Status of Women in Librarianship, Committee on the

Historical Note:

The resolution proposing the establishment of an ALA Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (COSWL) was presented during the 1974 Annual Conference (1), discussed by Council at the 1975 Midwinter Meeting (2), and approved by Council during the 1976 Centennial Conference (3). This followed endorsement

(April 1976) by the ALA Executive Board of the proposed guidelines for a standing committee on women submitted by the ad hoc committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship (4), which had been appointed in 1975 by the ALA President (5).

The Committee's ten members are appointed by the Council Committee on Committees, the chairperson is designated by the ALA president-elect, and an ALA staff member acts as liaison (6). The Committee's responsibilities are:

1. To represent officially 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;

2. To promote and initiate the collection, analysis, dissemination, and coordination of information on the status of women in librarianship;

3. To coordinate the activities of ALA units that consider questions which have special relevance for women;

4. To identify lags, gaps, and possible discrimination in resources and programs relating to women;

5. To help develop evaluative tools, guidelines, and programs in cooperation with other ALA units designed to enhance the opportunities and the image of women in the library profession, thus raising the level of consciousness concerning women;

6. To establish contacts with committees on women within other professional groups and to represent officially ALA concerns at interdisciplinary meetings on women's equality;

7. To provide Council and Membership with reports needed for the establishment of policies and actions related to the status of women in librarianship, and to monitor ALA units to ensure consideration of the rights of women.

Subcommittees formed to support these activities include: Legislation; Pay Equity; Publications; Re-entry Project (8), From 1982 to 1983 Equal Rights Amendment and Nestle Boycott subcommittees functioned (9).

COSWL sponsors research projects and publications concerning the status of women in the profession, including The COSWL Study (1979-) (10), the Directory of Library and Information Profession Women's Groups (3rd ed., 1983) (11), and On Account of Sex: An Annotated Bibliography on the Status of Women in Librarianship 1977-1972 (1984) (12).

In 1979 COSWL received the Bailey K. Howard - World Book Encyclopedia - ALA Goal Award to develop a profile of ALA personal members, known as the COSWL Study (13). COSWL was awarded the J. Morris Jones - World Book Encyclopedia - ALA Goals Award with the OLPR Advisory Committee in 1980 to undertake a special project on Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value (14).



2 - Secretary

3 - Publications

Advance Women in Library Management (subcommittee)

Bibliography/Clearinghouse (subcommittee)

Chapter Relations

Legislation (subcommittee)

Minority Women Oral History Project (task force)


1. School Library Journal, 23(5), Jan. 1977, p.35.

2. The ALA Yearbook 1976, p.148.

3. The ALA Yearbook 1977, p.106.

4. American Libraries, 7(6), June 1976, p.311.

5. American Libraries, 7(3), March 1976, p.138.

6. ALA Handbook of Organization, 1983-83, p.192.

7. Ibid, p.22.

8. Ibid.

9. ALA Handbook of Organization, 1982-83, p.21.

10. ALA Yearbook 1980, p.320; ALA Yearbook 1981, pp.299,301.

11. ALA Yearbook 1983, p.278.

12. On Account of Sex, 1984, p.i.

13. ALA Yearbook 1980, p.320.

14. ALA Yearbook 1981, p.301.

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