Thanks to all who joined me last summer on the virtual “Holding Space” tour, a conversation series with libraries. I will forever remember you as faithful partners and travel companions as we faced seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Thanks in part to our advocacy, libraries secured federal relief funding of historic proportions. ALA staff and leadership managed … Continue reading Moving Forward
Author Archive: Julius C. Jefferson Jr.
I am beginning to see the light at the end of a dark COVID-19 tunnel. Many of us have been vaccinated or will be soon—a critical step toward healing all the communities hit by the global pandemic. Another ray of light came on March 11, when the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed … Continue reading Making a Difference
What do these events mean for libraries and the Association? Libraries and library workers had an important role leading up to the 2020 presidential election by encouraging and supporting voter registration, which led to more than 66% of eligible voters participating—making 2020 the most engaged election since 1900. No matter who you voted for, as … Continue reading A Place within ALA
Similarly, 2020 made an indelible impression on the history of our country, and it has left us collectively exhausted. Many will remember it as the year we were locked down, Zoomed out, and either lonely or wanting to be alone. We lost loved ones, icons, and champions. We were confronted with furloughs and loss of … Continue reading A New Year of Hope
The primary focus of my ALA presidency is to serve the people—all people—with particular attention to those who were not included or who are underrepresented or forgotten. In my last column, I shared the idea behind ALA’s “Holding Space” tour, which began in July and featured virtual visits to 11 libraries across the country that … Continue reading We the People
For 60 years Lewis served and advocated for our collective humanity. What many may not know is that his wife, Lillian, who passed in 2012, was his chief advisor and a librarian. Lewis’s legacy reminds me that service is the fundamental reason libraries exist and that reading and access to information—which are human rights—are necessary … Continue reading Stand Up, Speak Out
If you scroll through my tweets between July 27 and August 7, you will see a series of crowded Zoom screenshots. But they don’t do justice to the expert librarians and community partners who participated in our discussions. Every stop we visited was unique. The range of innovation I witnessed within the library profession in … Continue reading “Libraries Are Holding Space for Their Communities”
Rather than a celebration on wheels, “Holding Space” will take place virtually. The intent remains the same: As American Library Association (ALA) president, I want to elevate the stories and successes of libraries whose work takes place just out of the spotlight. Libraries improve lives every day, and though their services and delivery models may … Continue reading The Stories of America’s Libraries, Virtually
These events spurred singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye to record “What’s Going On” 50 years ago. As I assume leadership of ALA, we are confronting an unprecedented global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen since 1918; an economic collapse, including the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression; unjust police killings of unarmed Black … Continue reading Black Lives Matter
It is an exciting time to be a member of the American Library Association (ALA). ALA can and will play an important role at this critical juncture in the history of our profession and our country, and it must stand united to speak with one voice: to advocate for the education of an informed citizenry; … Continue reading Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Julius C. Jefferson Jr.