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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Visit the Living Library at MLA ’24 in Portland!

AAHSL Reads Virtual Book Club

Be A Living Library Book

Be a Living Library Book!

My extraordinary experience at the 4th National Joint Council of Librarians of Color (JCLC) Conference

View all MLAConnect DEI articles

Making MLA a More Diverse and Inclusive Association

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the threads that strengthen the fabric of the Medical Library Association”

Welcome! This site serves as a place to share information about MLA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion-related initiatives and MLA DEI Committee activities; a place to bring together communications and resources on diversity and inclusion. Thank you for visiting. #MLADiversity.

Talk to Us!

Help us strengthen DEI in MLA! 

Submit your comments, suggestions,
observations, or questions on
the (anonymous) DEI virtual feedback form!


How does MLA interpret diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Diversity: ways that people are both alike and different; understanding, accepting, and  valuing differences that include race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, language, culture, nationality, age, (dis)ability status, and religion

Equity: takes differences into account to ensure fair and impartial processes and outcomes, and equal opportunity

Inclusion: all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are intentionally valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; feel a sense of belonging; and can contribute fully to the association’s success.

Adapted from ALA ODLOS Glossary of Terms [1], University of Michigan: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Defining DEI [2], Racial Equity Tools: Glossary [3], Built in [4].

Current DEI Committee Actions and MLA Initiatives

  • Be a Living Library Book!  - The MLA DEI Committee has organized 5 Living Library events. Learn more about the program and sign up to share your story!
  • Connecting with MLA communities - The committee meets annually with MLA's 40 caucuses to provide ongoing support on DEI-related matters.
  • Updating the DEI Resources Page. If there are additional resources or a category that could be included, please the DEI form linked above.
  • The DEI Committee is currently preparing for a MLA DEI Survey this fall--5 years after the first DEI Survey
  • Highlighting MLA '24 DEI content in the meeting official program and in MLAConnect.

Actions taken to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in MLA

  • In August 2023, MLA members passed a codification in the MLA Bylaws of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as MLA core values along with other changes to use modern language that promotes inclusivity. The passed Bylaws amendment also allows more flexibility and inclusiveness for MLA Chapters by only requiring MLA membership for select positions, rather than all officers and committee chairs. The MLA Bylaws amendment will become effective January 1, 2024. 
  • Inclusive Language Guidelines for Presenters to Avoid Stigmatizing Language - assembled by MLA member Charlotte Beyer, AHIP, this guide helps presenters utilize inclusive language within their presentations to avoid stigmatizing language. These guidelines can assist presenters in using language that support MLA’s core values which include creating and sustaining an open, inclusive, and collaborative environment within and outside the profession.
  • In 2019, based on recommendations from the MLA Diversity, Inclusion Task Force (2017-2020) the association strengthened and clarified specific language on some MLA statements, specifically the MLA's  Vision, Core Values, and Mission statements This included adopting use of the terms Latinx, underrepresented, they/them/theirs, and Mx in MLA documents, websites, awards, scholarships and fellowship descriptions, and MLA communications:
  • Established the guiding principle "Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the threads that strengthen the fabric of the Medical Library Association"
  • Established the MLA Statement of Appropriate Conduct with the goal of ensuring that core values and professional behaviors are entwined throughout all its programs and services.
  • All MLA units (caucuses, committees, juries, chapters, task forces) are asked how their recent initiatives have addressed DEI in MLA Midyear and Annual Reports.
  • Strategies for Diversifying MLA Leadership - One DEI committee charge is to promote and encourage diverse leadership in MLA.  The committee is gathering literature, researching best practices, and looking to collaborate with caucuses around this topic. See the article on the committee's work and  resources related to this topic.
  • The committee strives to 0mprove diversity, inclusion and accessibility at MLA Annual Meetings (virtual and in person). This includes diverse programing in all seven practice area, insuring accessibility such as live transcription during virtual meetings,  interpreter services, use of pronouns, all gender bathrooms, nursing rooms, quiet rooms, and Ramadan accommodations (if during the meeting) at in person meetings.
  • MLA's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force (2017-2020) conducted a member survey in Fall 2019 to gather demographic information and ascertain how members feel about the association's DEI efforts. Read the survey report in the July 2020 JMLA.
  • DEI volunteer leaders regularly organizes events that engage members in a constructive discourse on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility-related topics. Such events have included Living Library, DEI Open Forums, Roundtable Discussions, and Fishbowl Workshop
  • Created the #MLADiversity Twitter hashtag
  • Further operationalized DEI in MLA by asking all MLA units on MLA midyear and annual reports how their activities have addressed DEI.

Statements of Solidarity

Read statements of solidarity and support made by the association, MLA caucuses and chapters. Views and opinions expressed by the individual caucus or chapter of MLA, do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Medical Library Association. 

LGBTQIA+ Caucus Supports Transgender People (March 25, 2022)

MLA, Caucus and Domain Hub Statements of Solidarity (June 4, 2020 - March 25, 2022)


I Am MLA showcases MLA's talented, engaged, and diverse membership while promoting the value of diversity and inclusion in both MLA and among its members. Get to know your colleagues through their I Am MLA stories. Learn more about the I Am MLA program and how to become a program ambassador.