Drabinski, Watson Seek 2023–2024 ALA Presidency

Hepburn, Lanza-Galindo to run for 2022–2025 treasurer

October 5, 2021

ALA Presidential Candidates Emily Drabinski and Kelvin Watson

The American Library Association (ALA) released a statement October 5 announcing the candidates running for ALA president for the 2023–2024 term and the candidates running for ALA treasurer for 2022–2025.

The October 5 presidential candidates statement reads as follows:

Emily Drabinski, interim chief librarian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Kelvin Watson, executive director of Las Vegas–Clark County (Nev.) Library District, are the candidates for the 2023–2024 presidency of the American Library Association (ALA).

Drabinski has served as chair of the International Relations Committee (2020–2021), ALA councilor-at-large (2018–2020), and chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Frameworks and Standards Committee (2019–2020).

She is an active member of ACRL and Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures. She was cochair of the ACRL President’s Program Planning Committee (2020–2021) and serves as reviews editor for College & Research Libraries. She is also a member of several round tables: the International Relations Round Table, the Library Support Staff Interests Round Table, the Social Responsibilities Round Table, the Sustainability Round Table, and the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT).

Drabinski is a member of several ALA affiliates: the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), Reforma: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, the American Indian Library Association, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, and the Chinese American Librarians Association.

Drabinski holds an MLIS from Syracuse (N.Y.) University, a bachelor’s in political science from Columbia University in New York City, and a master’s in composition and rhetoric from Long Island University Brooklyn.

“So many of us find ourselves at the ends of our worlds,” Drabinski said. “The consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism have led us here. If we want a world that includes public goods like the library, we must organize our collective power and wield it. The American Library Association offers us a set of tools that can harness our energies and build those capacities.

“I am honored to stand for election as president of this Association. In this role, I will steward our shared resources on behalf of all of us who seek a better world. I know that world is possible, and I want to build it with you. I am humbled to ask for your vote.”

Watson cochairs the Joint Digital Content Working Group and is on the ALA Business Advisory Group. He has served on the Committee on Accreditation (2016–2017) and on an ALA Presidential Task Force. He was an ALA Spectrum Scholar (2006), a RUSA Spectrum Intern (2007–2008), and an American Association of School Librarians (AASL) member/Spectrum Scholar (2007).

He was the Public Library Association’s director-at-large (2018–2021) and holds membership in EMIERT and BCALA, for which he served as president (2014–2016), executive board member (2006–2018), fundraising chair (2008–2010), and budget and finance chair (2010–2012).

Watson also served on the Southeast Florida Library Information Network board of directors (2017–2021), the Metropolitan New York Library Council board of trustees (2015–2017), and as cochair of the Florida Library Association’s Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Task Force (2020–2021).

He currently serves on the board of the Book Industry Study Group (2018–2021), was recently appointed to the Digital Public Library of America board, is a candidate for OCLC’s Global Council, and is a member of ALA’s Standards for Library Services for Incarcerated and Detained Individuals Working Group.

Watson holds an MLS from North Carolina Central University in Durham and a bachelor’s in business administration from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

“America and our libraries continue to transform, and I’m humbled and honored by the possibility to represent you as an ALA presidential candidate,” Watson said. “We have always been a melting pot of nationalities, religions, ethnicities, and gender identities, but historically, many of these segments have been blocked from realizing their full potential. By 2030, the US Census predicts that immigration will become the primary source of growth, putting greater pressure on our schools to teach the literacy and tech skills needed in the 21st century.

“All libraries will be called to fill this void, and I know that we can create a plan to address this coming need for new funding sources, exciting LIS educational and support staff opportunities, and new technologies that create efficiencies for ease of discovery and access.”

2022–2025 treasurer candidates announced

In an October 5 statement, ALA announced that two candidates will run for 2022–2025 ALA treasurer. The statement reads as follows:

Peter Hepburn, head librarian at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, and Oscar Lanza-Galindo, associate dean of the library and learning commons at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, are candidates for ALA treasurer for 2022–2025.

Hepburn chaired the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee (2019–2021), was a member of the ALA Executive Board (2016–2017) and the Finance and Audit Committee (2019–2021), and was an ALA councilor-at-large (2017–2020). He is currently serving as a member of the Committee on Organization (2021–2023).

He is an active member of ACRL and AASL. He is involved with the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table, the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, the New Members Round Table, the Rainbow Round Table, the Social Responsibilities Round Table, and the Sustainability Round Table.

Hepburn holds a doctorate of education from Arizona State University in Tempe, an MLIS from McGill University in Montréal, and a bachelor’s from the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Hepburn said, “I am honored to be invited to stand for election. The financial health of ALA is a critical consideration for us as an Association as we continue to deal with the repercussions from the pandemic, including membership levels, the ability to stage in-person conferences, and other activities. Even before the crisis, however, ALA’s financial health had been cause for concern. For ALA to grow, we need to be on solid fiscal footing. That is key to the sustainability of ALA. As treasurer, I will partner with the Executive Board, Council, divisions, round tables, and ALA staff to ensure that there is transparency around Association processes, clear communication with the membership, and sound decision making to carry the Association forward.”

Lanza-Galindo serves on ALA Council (2020–present) and is a member of ACRL’s 2022 President’s Program Planning Committee.

He is an active member of ACRL and Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures. He is involved with Reforma: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.

Lanza-Galindo holds an MLIS from the University of Arizona in Tucson, a master’s intercultural service, leadership, and management from the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont, and is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Lanza-Galindo said: “A sincere thank you to all the candidates who serve and are running in this election. It is my honor, privilege, and responsibility to run as treasurer candidate. I am a first-generation student, an immigrant, and Indigenous person from Central America. These threads and identities form the lenses that I bring to everyday decisions and work. I will apply the same critical lens to ALA’s finances, operational standards, and social awareness and action, while remembering there are people behind financial numbers and membership figures. As a library leader, I make decisions that directly impact lives, and I was taught early on that my actions have consequences that often go beyond immediate impact. Affordance of membership dues is an issue that many librarians experience—I hear you, and I see you. If elected treasurer, I will strongly advocate that ALA identify cost-effective methods to expand membership and opportunities for active engagement. I look forward to hearing from many of you. In solidarity.”

The ALA Nominating Committee also announced candidates for 34 open councilor-at-large seats October 5.

Ballot mailing for the ALA election will begin March 14, 2022, and will run through April 6, 2022. Individuals must be members in good standing to vote in the 2022 ALA elections. Renew your membership online or by calling 1-800-545-2433, option 1. For more information, please visit the ALA Election page.

All four candidates will engage in a virtual candidates’ forum at 1 p.m. Central on February 16, 2022. Each candidate will have an opportunity to make a statement and answer questions from members. Register to attend.