Meet the 2014 Candidates for ALA President

Two candidates unveil their campaign statements and appeal to ALA members for their vote

March 17, 2014

Maggie Farrell

Maggie FarrellAs I neared completion of my library science degree, a professor of mine, Ed Miller, encouraged my class to join the American Library Association. He spoke about the importance of ALA in advancing our professional values of intellectual freedom, privacy, and inclusion. As a member, I have benefited from ALA’s strong advocacy of local libraries and being on the forefront of national policies that impact libraries. The professional development opportunities within ALA are tremendous and help to keep our librarians and library workers current with the ever-changing technology and information environment. Online tools and conferences ensure members have just-in-time resources and experts to assist with local situations so that librarians know they have the power of ALA in their daily responsibilities. When I first joined, I had a limited understanding of how ALA would benefit my new career. I now appreciate the transformative leadership of our Association in supporting libraries, librarians, and library workers. This deep appreciation for and belief in opportunities will be the foundation of my presidency.

As president, I want to communicate the power and impact of libraries. Our libraries change lives—starting with children learning to read and experiencing the joy of learning in our public libraries; building literacy skills in our school libraries; advancing critical thinking in our academic libraries; and supporting economic development and personal learning in our public libraries. Libraries influence our communities at every life stage, and their strength is a reflection of our society. My focus as president will be to represent you in telling this story of connecting our values to society and communities.

Building external partnerships

My extensive ALA and professional service experience has prepared me for the position of president. My leadership strength is the ability to bring together diverse voices to consensus and achieve common goals. This is critical within ALA as we have a variety of purposes and we look at issues from different perspectives. It is from this variety that we draw our strength, but we need a united voice on critical legislative and political issues facing libraries. As president, I will soundly represent our Association on key policy and intellectual freedom issues.

Strengthening our Association

In addition to our external influence, as president I will work closely with Association leadership to ensure the financial stability of our work. ALA’s structure and protocols were developed prior to today’s communication tools, and some find the bureaucracy to be cumbersome. There have been some effective changes within divisions, and Council is having challenging conversations regarding our budget and operations. I would advance these conversations and assist our Association in determining how we can promote our core values while engaging the broad membership in meaningful experiences. With the ALA 2015 plan as a guide, I am confident we can achieve success in the eight key action areas.

Thank you for your service to our profession, and I look forward to working with you to communicate the impact of libraries in your lives and communities.

I ask for your vote.


Sari Feldman

Sari FeldmanWe know this to be true: Libraries change lives. As library professionals and supporters, we share an incredible opportunity to create environments where people can learn freely, exchange ideas, and draw inspiration.

Should I be elected president of the American Library Association, I will engage our membership to help them become advocates for libraries and to see themselves as valued contributors to the success of our organization. I commit to elevating best practices and championing the risk-takers who innovate for the future. I want to lead an ALA that inspires the library community and beyond—an ALA that galvanizes people around the world to get engaged with and to support libraries.

ALA has profoundly shaped my professional development. At critical stages throughout my career, ALA has provided invaluable leadership development opportunities. It is the place where I have learned best practices in library service, and I cannot overstate the value that ALA provides each member as a forum for learning, sharing ideas, and growing in the profession.


As president, I will engage our members at all points in their careers, provide valuable support that advances both individuals and the library profession, and attract a diverse group of library professionals and supporters to lead our organization. Our members must understand that their contributions are essential to the success of ALA.


I commit to promoting and protecting those core values that define us as library professionals, even as libraries evolve to meet changing customer needs. Repositioning libraries to address the ever-changing digital content landscape will be essential to our future viability. Supporting and promoting library organizations that are focused on innovation will be an important hallmark of my presidency. Where we have previously articulated our value proposition as grounded in material, now we must reframe the conversation: Libraries of all kinds deliver value as centers of community collaboration, learning, and service.


We all come to the library profession for different reasons. Some of us are moved by the opportunity to help young children develop a lifelong love of reading. Others are energized when connecting students with resources that contribute to academic success. Still others come to the profession with a desire to enhance research and learning. The common thread we all share is the belief that libraries have the power to transform lives. Libraries have inspired us all.

As ALA president, I will advocate on behalf of libraries and the library profession. I will make certain we deliver on the promises we set together in the ALA strategic plan. We all know that libraries are essential to thriving communities, successful educational institutions, and a better world. I will work to energize our organization so that the inspiration that brought each one of us to the library profession continues to drive our work. And I will lead our organization by ensuring that our efforts directly contribute to fostering library spaces and services that inspire people around the world.

I ask for your vote.