The Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) originated as part of a movement for Caribbean cooperation at the university level, initiated in the late l960’s by the Association of Caribbean Universities (UNICA). At that moment Sir Philip Sherlock, of the University of the West Indies, at Mona, Kingston, Jamaica, was its Secretary General.
UNICA recognized the need for close cooperation among university and research libraries in the region. It sponsored, along with the University of Puerto Rico and its Institute of Caribbean Studies, the first conference of librarians in university and research libraries of the region in Puerto Rico in 1969. This event was coordinated by Dr. Alma Theodora Jordan (University of the West Indies, Trinidad Campus), Dr. Albertina Perez de Rosa (University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus) and Luisa Vigo-Cepeda (Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus). At that conference, an independent Association of Caribbean University and Research Libraries (ACURIL) was voted into existence. Dr. Jordan was elected the first President, Dr. Pérez de Rosa the first Vice-President of the Association, and Ms. Vigo-Cepeda, first Secretary-Treasurer.
While adhering to the original proposal of collaboration among university and research libraries within the framework of UNICA, the Association recognized that it should embrace all kinds of libraries that traditionally functioned as research libraries. Public libraries, in particular, were effectively basic providers of information in many of the small Caribbean countries. There was also a growing number of special libraries in government and other institutions that should be included in the Association. The delimiting word ‘institute’ was therefore removed from the title of the Association, but the acronym remained unchanged. In 1976 the organization was renamed Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries, providing ample space for all information units in the Caribbean.