The Southwest Chapter was founded in 1979 in Houston, Texas, consisting of 5 states including Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The first Southwest Chapter meeting was held December 8, 1979 in the Downtown College Library of the University of Houston. The meeting was hosted by the director of the library, Dr. Robert Chang who was the first Chinese American to become the director of a public library (the Pharr Memorial Library). 13 CALA members attended the meeting and William Wan was elected the first president of the CALA Southwest Chapter.
In 1979, William Wan, the first Southwest Chapter President, conducted a survey and found there were about 40 Chinese librarians working in Texas and most of whom were in Houston area. As the majority of the Southwest members were residing in Texas, the Southwest Chapter annual meeting has been traditionally held in Texas in conjunction with the Texas Library Association (TLA) annual meeting.
On the occasion of the CALA 30th anniversary in 2003, the number of Southwest Chapter members reached 32 and the Chapter’s territory expanded to including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. Currently, the Southwest Chapter serves 41 CALA members in 9 Southwest states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.
The Southwest Chapter leadership team consists of the president, vice president/president-elect, treasurer, membership chairperson and the webmaster. The president and the vice president/president-elect are elected by the chapter members; the treasurer, membership chairperson and the webmaster are appointed by the incumbent president.