I am honored to be on the ballot for ALA president for the 2022–2023 term. When I began my career in college as assistant to the Slavic cataloger at University of Pittsburgh, little did I know that libraries would afford me experiences unlike any other field. I have worked in academic, special, public, and state libraries, and each has provided unique opportunities to positively contribute to the communities we serve and our profession.
I have spent the majority of my professional career in state libraries and have been the state librarian of California, Pennsylvania, and now Hawaii, where I am also director of the 51-branch public library system. In between, I worked for a futuring think tank in Washington, D.C., and have continued to facilitate, train, and present on future-forward thinking. I have been president of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies and served on various ALA and national advisory groups for projects like the Edge Initiative, Project Outcome, and Grow with Google. Most recently, I completed two years as president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.
I believe there are two important responsibilities of an ALA president. The first is stewardship, to ensure positive organizational continuity. This means listening and working with members, chapters, units, Council, the executive director, and the Executive Board to support the success of ALA and its members by focusing our energy on the most impactful decisions.
The second is to develop a program of ideas, conversations, and actions that help create the future of our profession.
I’d like us to have real conversations, debate, and futures-building sessions around four starting questions:
- Do ALA members feel heard and feel as though they have a place in the organization? Do we understand one another’s stories?
- What is the future of collections in libraries? What will be physical? What is our place in the digital world? Let’s not wait for publishers and content providers to decide for us.
- What is the role of libraries in the future of digital equity? How do we ensure all people have the skills to thrive, be safe, and successfully participate in society and actively contribute to their communities?
- What is the role of libraries in the future of communication, ideas, and the social dilemma? Have you seen the film The Social Dilemma? Creators of the digital age are questioning the humanity of social media and its impact on our society. Libraries have a role to play in engaging our communities and helping define the future.
I am curious about the big future questions that you think we should be talking about, and I want to start informal, deep-dive discussions or actions around them.
I would consider it an extreme privilege to represent and work with our community to build a future that will nourish and support our members, libraries, and the places we call home. Let’s create a year of future-forward thinking and action together.
Want to learn more and start chatting? Check out my Instagram.
Mahalo for your consideration!