Publications: The Newsletters of Women in Libraries and Women Library Workers

Since 1970 the Women in Libraries Newsletter (and Women Library Workers Journal,1975-1993) have provided information resources for women working in libraries. Older issues are still information rich for current and future readers.

Read on to learn more about the art and history of Women in Libraries and Women Library Workers Newsletters!

Following its establishment at the 1970 ALA Annual Conference at Detroit, the Social Responsibilities Round Table Task Force on the Status of Women in Librarianship started, in part, to collect and to share information about equal opportunity and responsibility for women in the library field.

Women in Libraries, (1970-)

Women in Libraries (Record Series 49/2/11) began as a single-column, multiple page packet of Task Force announcements and news. From the first volume to the present day, every year has featured progressively increased news coverage expanding beyond the task force and membership to include national and regional library profession news, as well as conference or symposium announcements. Visually, the layout has changed too. Volumes Four, Five, and Ten feature redesigned banners, while the fifth through fourteenth volumes used color paper and dark ink.

Newsletter issues included a variety of comical cartoons or images from cartoonists with pen names including MLW, LNS, and R. Vass. During the 1970s and 1980s, unbound issues were donated to the ALA Archives. During the 1990s, issues were hosted on the Feminist Task Force’s website. Finally, beginning in 2010, newsletter articles were published online through the Feminist Task Force website.

Women Library Workers, (1975-1993)

During the 1975 ALA Annual conference in San Francisco, an independent organization of of women library workers was formed. In 1975, the first issue, known as “Special Issue”, describes the purpose of the new organization, why the decision was made to be independent of the American Library Association, and membership requirements. Printed six times per year, the Newsletter included national and regional news, as well as regular announcements from member chapters. Before 1980, publications featured colored paper covers with colored cover art.

Later issues, carrying the new name Women Library Workers Journal featured a larger glossy covers with finely detailed black ink images on solid colored backgrounds. Journal issues included artwork from cartoonists Bülbül and S McCoul. In fact, during the 1980s, many cover images were created by the editors too.

Copies Available at Your ALA Archives

Physical copies of Women in Libraries and Women Library Workers are available for viewing at the ALA Archives; however, not all copies are available yet. Please view either Record Series 49/45/10 or Record Series 49/2/11 database record entries, for information on which issues you can view or donate.

Got Something to Donate to the Story So Far?

Behind the headlines has stood a skilled volunteer crew and current ALA Archives holdings do not include all of those names. Were you (or somebody you know) a member of Women in Libraries or Women Library Workers? We welcome you to share your part of ALA history in the comments or to contact us. We and our readers would like to hear from you.