The Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) started in 1973 as Mid-West Chinese American Librarians Association, a regional organization in Illinois. A year later, 1974, Chinese Librarians Association was formed in California. In 1976, Mid-West Chinese American Librarians Association was expanded to a national organization as Chinese American Librarians Association. In 1983, Chinese American Librarians Association and Chinese Librarians Association were merged and retained the name of Chinese American Librarians Association.

The CALA Midwest Chapter (CALA MW) is the oldest chapter in CALA and is organized to best serve the interests of its members in 13 states of the Midwest. Currently the MW Chapter has over a hundred members. The regular officers, elected by the chapter members are president, vice president/president elect, and treasurer. The secretary and the special committees, appointed by the incumbent president to serve the same length as the president, include those for program planning, membership, electronic publishing, nomination, public relations, special task forces, and state contacts. The election takes place in spring of each year.