Before I was a librarian, I worked at Sony Music and the American Diabetes Association. Needing a change, I investigated graduate schools and subsequently received a library school diversity fellowship, which allowed me to attend conferences and become involved in ALA early in my career. This experience was invaluable for someone who changed careers to become a librarian. I accepted the nomination for ALA president in an effort to give back to our Association, which has had such a positive impact on my professional life.
Our Association is facing internal and external challenges that can only be overcome by strong leadership and collaborative effort. I bring proven leadership and experience in corporate, nonprofit, and library settings to help navigate these challenges. I was a 2010 Emerging Leader and have served three terms on Council. I was a member of key committees and boards such as the Committee on Diversity, Spectrum Scholar selection jury, Finance and Audit Committee, Reference and User Services Association board, and ALA Executive Board.
Under my leadership, our team at Cranston (R.I.) Public Library received the 2020 Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize of $250,000 and the 2016 LibraryAware Community Award. While on the Executive Board, I helped guide our Association through important and difficult decisions, including hiring a new executive director, the sale of the ALA headquarters building, and moving our conferences to a virtual format. As your ALA president, I will bring more accountability and transparency to our finances and will continue our work of transforming ALA into a more responsive, sustainable, and modern association.
I have significant advocacy experience and have worked extensively with members of Congress. As legislative action chair for the Rhode Island Library Association, I have fought for increased state funding for libraries and statewide adoption of the AASL Standards for school librarians. With continued threats to federal funding for libraries and increased strain on local budgets because of the pandemic, our advocacy efforts need to be foremost in our work. As libraries reopen, the safety, job security, and mental wellness of library workers should be at the top of our advocacy efforts. With many struggling with the economic fallout of COVID-19, we should advocate for the elimination of student debt for library workers.
We should strive for a more inclusive library community, which means continuing to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. But this should also include a strong commitment to accessibility. As president, I will focus on member engagement, effective governance, and sustainability.
I believe in bringing people together. I have a proven track record at ALA and in my community, working with varied groups to bring about positive change. The decision to run was less about personal ambition and more about a sense of commitment and belief that I can help address the challenges we all face. I have a passion for public service, which my work within our Association has nurtured. I will bring that passion and commitment as your ALA president. I respectfully ask for your vote.