Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Steven Yates

Two candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote

March 2, 2020

Steven Yates

Members of the library community—it is our time to ACTT! Let’s harness the power of positive passion to meet our profession’s current needs while making sure that libraries and library workers sustain a daily commitment to our shared core values.

This year has already been historic for ALA. We have a new executive director and soon a new home in Chicago. These changes, along with the organizational review process, call for all of us to lend a hand. As a dedicated volunteer with leadership experience, I would like to work alongside you as your 2021–2022 ALA president.

My vision for the Association is that we remain a world leader in libraries while transforming the way we conduct business internally to match the level of innovation we provide every day in our communities. Library workers of all types should have meaningful paths to ALA involvement. While we continue to do the work needed, I look forward to our chance to ACTT:

A: Advocacy. Our presence in Washington, D.C., must remain robust. Developing and maintaining bipartisan coalitions on issues affecting our profession is critical. Library workers interact with city and county elected officials, board of education members, state representatives, and local and D.C. congressional offices. Let’s log each interaction with our elected officials to capture the resounding, daily impact of these relationships and see where to best focus future efforts.

C: Cultural competency. While our Association has a longstanding commitment to social justice, we continue to struggle with equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within our membership, at our conferences, and in our communities. Cultural competence must be integrated into how we onboard and develop volunteers across all ALA units. Library workers should rely on ALA for leadership, guidance, and learning in this area. Meaningful evidence of building competence in EDI must also be more explicitly integrated into ALA’s accreditation standards.

T: Training. Enhancing support to develop our future leaders through the Spectrum Scholarship and Emerging Leaders programs is also extremely important. Let’s strengthen these platforms and provide additional development opportunities that are not contingent on a member’s, or their employer’s, ability to fund travel to conferences.

T: Transparency. The ALA Executive Board works through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pages of documents at each meeting. While these are posted online, we can all benefit from leadership–membership interactions outside of conferences and documents. As your ALA president, I will host quarterly Zoom sessions to answer member questions and provide updates on Association business.

To see what these updates may look like, please join me for a meet-and-greet March 10 at 4 p.m. Eastern time at To join by phone, visit for info.

ALA has defined the profession that unites us for nearly 144 years. Let’s make sure we remain committed to the brightest future of our Association for the next 144 years by working together to harness the power of positive passion. I humbly ask for your vote to serve as ALA president. #VoteYatesALA


Patty Wong

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

Two candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote