The history of the Association dates back to 1955 and had its beginnings in Singapore. Mrs. Hedwig Anwar and the late Mr. Wilfred J. Plumbe first conceived the idea of setting up a library association covering Malaya and Singapore. Using the name of the University of Malaya Library, they sent out circulars to all librarians and interested persons inviting them to attend a preliminary meeting to discuss the possibility of the formation of a library group or association. The circular was sent out towards the end of 1954 and about 47 persons responded by attending the meeting held at the University of Malaya Library, Singapore on Friday, 7 January 1955 at 8.30 p.m. These 47 people came from both Malaya and Singapore, the largest number coming from the University of Malaya Library, Singapore. The meeting chaired by Mr. E. H. Clark unanimously agreed that there should be a library organization to unite all interested in library work. A subsequent meeting held in the Raffles Library on Friday, 25 March 1955 and attended by 36 members agreed to the formation of the association named the Malayan Library Group.
The objectives of the Malayan Library Group (MLG), as laid down in its constitution were:
- To unite all persons engaged in library work or interested in libraries in Malaya
- To promote a better administration of libraries
- To encourage the establishment and development of libraries in Malaya
- To encourage professional education and training for librarianship
- To undertake such activities, including the holding of meetings and conferences
The Group was registered by the Registrar of Societies in Singapore on June 6, 1955. The first Chairman was Mr. L. M. Harrod, Vice-Chairman was Mr. Wilfred J. Plumbe and the Secretary was Mrs. Hedwig Anwar. The University of Malaya Library, Singapore became the Secretariat. At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November 1958, the MLG changed its name to the Library Association of Malaya and Singapore. However, the Association was unable to re-register in Malaya because of the Malayan Government’s policy not to grant registration to societies covering both Malaya and Singapore.
An extraordinary general meeting of the Library Association of Malaya and Singapore which was held in Singapore on February 27, 1960 agreed that the Association be formally dissolved, followed immediately by the inauguration of the Library Association of Singapore, of which Mrs. Hedwig Anwar was elected President and the late Mr. Wilfred J. Plumbe became the first President of the Library Association of the Federation of Malaya.
With the formation of Malaysia, the name of the Library Association of the Federation of Malaya was changed to Persatuan Perpustakaan Malaysia (PPM) or the Library Association of Malaysia.
At its AGM in 1999, the by-laws of the Association were amended to change the name to Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia (PPM) or Librarians Association of Malaysia.