Meet the Candidate for ALA Treasurer: Peter Hepburn

One candidate appeals to ALA members for their vote

March 1, 2022

Peter Hepburn

Library workers need a strong professional association that can conduct the critical work of advocating for libraries, for those who use them, and for the materials libraries collect and safeguard. The American Library Association (ALA) must continue to do that work in an environment where the financial health and sustainability of the Association are challenging issues for its leadership. The Association, as with so many of us in our libraries and at home, is still contending with the effects of the pandemic. Emerging from COVID-19, ALA needs to do more than simply endure.

In recent years, ALA has experienced declining membership and conference attendance. Publishing, another key revenue stream, has struggled to meet its projections. ALA sold its Chicago headquarters, trading the expense of maintaining and upgrading that building for the obligation of a long-term lease. And there have been changes in key personnel in the Finance office.

There have also been bright spots, however. For one, ALA’s endowment has continued to grow. Our executive director has led the Development Office in securing grants and donations for the Association. ALA staff members have worked hard at keeping expenses down. The next treasurer will have a considerable task in helping steer ALA through the roadblocks that have had an impact on the financial stability of the Association, compounded by the effects of the pandemic.

The treasurer is charged with providing sound guidance in relation to the budget so that ALA member leaders can make informed fiscal decisions. The treasurer also needs to work closely with ALA staff, ensuring strong coordination when setting the course for ALA’s finances and adapting to challenges.

Transparency is key to this work. As ALA treasurer, I will build on the work of my predecessors to strengthen lines of communication, ensure dissemination of information related to Association finances, and prioritize clarity for members. The financial health of the Association affects divisions, round tables, and offices, so information should be accessible to and understandable by all members.

I have been active at every level of ALA, from the ALA Executive Board and Council to the divisions and round tables. I have worked closely on the budget with ALA’s Finance and Accounting staff through my membership on the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) and the Finance and Audit Subcommittee. As chair of BARC from 2019 to 2021, I have also worked with our current treasurer and increased my familiarity with what the position entails. Coupled with my strong understanding of the structure and practices within ALA, my skills and experience provide the foundation needed for me to assume the role.

As treasurer, I will ensure that ALA remains financially stable and sustainable and that it thrives. I will support our president and other member leaders by providing the sound financial guidance they need to further the Association’s impact on our libraries, our communities and institutions, our patrons, and our colleagues working in libraries.

I am honored to stand for election to the position of ALA treasurer and eager to take on this work on our behalf. I ask for your vote.


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