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OCALD was established in 1988 by academic library directors in order to better coordinate library networking efforts and other collaborative projects.

In 1997, the State Regents contracted with Dr. Jim Mingle and the State Higher Education Executive Officers association for assistance in addressing strategic and operational issues to position Oklahoma higher education in the technology era. Dr. Mingle's report, Technology 2000: Recommendations on the Utilization of Information Technology in the Oklahoma Higher Education System, was presented to the State Regents at their September 5 meeting. At the October 31 meeting, the State Regents accepted the report's 20 recommendations in concept, directing staff to work with the appropriate advisory councils in developing specific recommendations to be presented to the State Regents.

The 12th recommendation in Technology 2000 called for the State Regents to recognize the Oklahoma Council of Academic Library Directors (OCALD) as an official advisory council to the State Regents. The State Regents established OCALD as a formal advisory council at their meeting on December 12, 1997. The first meeting of OCALD as a formal advisory council was held January 28, 1998.

In their action, the State Regents identified the following charges for the council: