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About MLA

The Medical Library Association (MLA) is a global, nonprofit educational organization, with a membership of more than 400 institutions and 3,000 professionals in the health information field. Since 1898, MLA has fostered excellence in the professional practice and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance health care, education, and research throughout the world. MLA educates health information professionals, supports health information research, promotes access to the world’s health sciences information, and works to ensure that the best health information is available to all.


Our dreams and aspirations. What we strive to be. Our desired future state.

The Medical Library Association (MLA) believes that quality information is essential for improved health. MLA aspires to be the association of the most visible, valued, and trusted health information experts. MLA strives to enhance the quality of health care, education, and research throughout the world. To that end, MLA fosters excellence and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in professional practice, leadership of health sciences libraries, and information professionals, now and in the future.

Core Values

Our principles, beliefs, ideals, and standards we will not compromise. The heart and soul of our association that provide meaning to our success.

  • Use of scientific evidence in making health care decisions
  • Public awareness of, access to, and use of high-quality health information
  • Lifelong learning and professional development
  • Advancement of health information research and evidence-based practice
  • An open, inclusive, and collaborative environment within and outside the profession
  • Advancement and support of accessibility for all stakeholder groups
  • Irreproachable ethical standards (Code of Ethics for Health Sciences Librarians)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential values of the Medical Library Association (MLA). To that end, MLA fosters excellence and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in professional practice, leadership of health sciences libraries, and information professionals, now and in the future.

How MLA interprets 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, 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, University of Michigan: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Defining DEI, Racial Equity Tools: Glossary, Built in.



Our fundamental purpose. What we will do to ultimately make the vision a reality. Answers: Who we are? What we do? For whom we do it? Why we do it?

1. Recruitment, Membersh​ip, and Leadership in the Profession

MLA to

  • Recruit to and retain individuals in the profession
  • Serve members
  • Develop leadership skills


  1. Promoting health sciences librarianship
  2. Promoting exploration of new roles, knowledge, and skills
  3. Promoting mentorship and leadership
  4. Promoting inclusive policies resulting in a diverse library workforce reflective of the communities we serve

2. Lifelong Learning

MLA to

  • Be the leading education provider and facilitator of profession


  1. Expanding its curriculum to meet needs
  2. Expanding market for its educational offering
  3. Extending access to educational offering
  4. Offering credentialing
  5. Seeking partnerships with other organizations to support above

3. Advocacy

MLA to

  • Demonstrate value of quality health information
  • Demonstrate role that health information professionals play


  1. Being a leading advocate for concerns of profession
  2. Promoting value of profession
  3. Helping members advocate their value to their institutions
  4. Helping improve the process of scholarly communication
  5. Serving as a leading advocate for unrestricted, affordable, and permanent access to quality health information for everyone

4. Knowledge Creation and Communication

MLA to

  • Develop and manage a knowledgebase of health information research


  1. Promoting the creation of the profession’s evidence-based research
  2. Supporting collection and use of data related to operational excellence
  3. Supporting collection and use of data related to promoting the profession
  4. Using and supporting members’ use of advanced information technology for health information sharing
  5. Promoting the dissemination and application of scientific knowledge

5. Partnerships

MLA to

  • Build a network of experts


  1. Working to develop local, regional, national, and international partnerships
  2. Seeking international partnerships through Librarians without Borders®
  3. Supporting the information needs of individuals including the underserved

Find out how MLA leadership is focusing on these things by reading MLA’s three-year rolling strategic plan.