Author Archive: Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

A Place within ALA

March 1, 2021

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


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

A New Year of Hope

January 4, 2021

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


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

We the People

November 2, 2020

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


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Stand Up, Speak Out

September 1, 2020

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


Clockwise from top left: Karina Quilantan of Jaime Escalante Middle School, Pharr, Texas; Bill Chapman of Jarrell Independent School District; Kristi Starr of Coronado High School, Lubbock; Heather Lamb of Castleberry Independent School District, Fort Worth; Roger Ceballos of Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy, Dallas; Tamiko Brown of Fort Bend Independent School District, Sugar Land; Stephanie Galvan Russell of Gorzycki Middle School, Austin; Rosenid Hernandez-Badia of Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy, Dallas; and Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

“Libraries Are Holding Space for Their Communities”

August 12, 2020

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”


Holding Space, a national conversation series with libraries

The Stories of America’s Libraries, Virtually

July 27, 2020

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


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Black Lives Matter

July 1, 2020

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