Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Raymond Pun

Two candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote

March 1, 2024

Photo of Raymond Pun

For almost 150 years, ALA has been recognized as the world’s first and largest library association. However, ALA has not been without its flaws, including its history of excluding underrepresented groups. The Association now reckons with its past to build a better future.

Today, libraries and library workers are enduring simultaneous challenges of book bans, artificial intelligence, climate crises, surveillance, digital content price gouging, job burnout, and workplace safety. ALA must realign itself and its core values to empower our work and better support our communities during these turbulent times.

As a first-generation college graduate and an emergent bilingual child of immigrant parents, I’ve navigated complex spaces and established spaces for others. My inclusive leadership centers on compassion and collaboration. Guided by the Universal Design for Learning framework, I always seek to reduce barriers to learning and access.

For the past 17 years, I have worked in public and academic libraries in America and China, from serving as a student worker to a library assistant to a librarian. Currently I am proud to serve teachers, teacher educators, and graduate students. I have held leadership positions within and across ALA, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the National Associations of Librarians of Color, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

As president of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association and the Chinese American Librarians Association, I forged local and global coalitions, streamlined governance processes through transparency, and increased fiscal health and membership through fundraising and engagement, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that cultivating meaningful connections among our volunteers is purposeful work. I would continue to bring this intentionality to ALA, collaborating with members and partners to calibrate and communicate its impact, values, and growth areas.

As ALA president, my priorities would focus on:

  • supporting and showcasing library workers as they confront unprecedented challenges and conditions
  • building stronger relationships between ALA and its chapters and affiliates
  • expanding ALA’s engagement in the international library community

We need to highlight the invisible labor that library workers are doing. We can collect and share our communities’ stories about how our advocacy work supports workforce development, technology and equitable access, accessibility, literacy, civics, and more.

We must also build stronger connections among ALA, organizational and individual members, state and regional chapters, and affiliates, leading up to the Association’s 150th anniversary.

Finally, strengthening ALA’s role in bridging global networks is critical. More than 350 languages are spoken in the US, and there are opportunities to collaborate with libraries and library workers supporting immigrants, migrants, refugees, international students, and multilingual speakers.

We can accomplish a lot together. Library work is community-driven and relationship-building work. I encourage you to join me in these efforts!


Photo of Sam Helmick

Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Sam Helmick

Two candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote