Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Patricia “Patty” Wong

Two candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote

March 2, 2020

Patty Wong

Colleagues: I am proud to be a librarian, where I make a difference to my community every day. I accepted the nomination for president of the American Library Association (ALA) because I can make a difference at this critical time, and because ALA impacts communities throughout this country.

America’s libraries are the cornerstones of social democracy. We face many challenges as a nation:

  • changing demographics and how to provide equitable access and service to all
  • differing views about public ­support for public services
  • privatization
  • challenges to the freedom to read, write, and speak
  • barriers to access
  • shifting landscapes for publishing and digital access

We also face challenges and opportunities internally. ALA will experience more change over the next five years than it has in the past 50: a new headquarters, a new executive director, a new model for conferences, the need for new or enhanced revenue streams, and perhaps a new governance structure.

Together, ALA members are more than 57,000 voices strong. The Association needs a president with the know-how and commitment to ensure we accomplish our goals—and manage change—for the benefit of libraries, librarians, library workers, and library users. We must not let change simply happen to us.

I know how ALA works. With more than three decades in leadership, I have developed relationships throughout the organization and among staff. I have chaired or served on key ALA committees: the Budget Analysis and Review Committee, Conference Committee, Council, and Executive Board. I understand ALA finances and governance. I am a champion for state chapters; equity, diversity, and inclusion; and school and youth services. I foster advocacy for all, especially our rural communities and the underserved. I value the network of divisions, round tables, committees, and offices that make ALA strong. Above all, I am proud of my work in activating collective impact and collaboration up, down, and across ALA.

I believe everyone makes a difference and everyone counts. I believe in the value of volunteerism, in developing young member leaders, and contributing to the profession through activism and engagement. I actuate this philosophy in my daily work, through my roles as Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library director, adjunct faculty at San José State University iSchool, and my work with the California Library Association and all ethnic professional librarian associations.

As president, my commitment will be to steer ALA successfully through this time of change; help grow our membership and resources; amplify our voice in defense of the freedom to read; fight for increased funding for libraries and policies that strengthen access; and become a more sustainable and resilient organization.

We face many exciting challenges ahead. Together, let us renew our commitments and leverage our influence and power for the public good. I thank you for your consideration and I ask for your support and your vote.

Together you and I can—and will—make a difference.


Steven Yates

Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Steven Yates

Two candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote