Founded as a division in June 1974 at the Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association in Toronto, the Education Division had its beginnings in the "Education and Library Service Section" in 1948 which was later dissolved in 1955. Then seventeen years later, with renewed interest on the part of a few education libraries' leaders around the country, yet another attempt was made at the Pittsburgh Annual Conference in June 1973, culminating in the formation of Education Division in 1974.
The division was mandated to address the needs of "university education libraries, federal education libraries, school district professional libraries, education association libraries, textbook publishers, AV media publishers" and a wide variety of other special libraries with some education dimension. Since then, the division has broadened its membership base to include educational technology corporate libraries and librarian/information professional entities.
In the 21st century, the division has updated and expanded its publishing role. The division’s flagship journal Education Librares, SLA’s only peer-refereed publication, migrated to an online environment and was made freely available to the library world. The division also expanded membership participation through its eCommunication social networking presence.