Helmick, Pun Seek 2025–2026 ALA Presidency

November 9, 2023

2025-2026 ALA Presidential Candidates Sam Helmick and Raymond Pun

The American Library Association (ALA) released a statement November 9 announcing the candidates running for ALA president for the 2025–2026 term.

The announcement reads as follows:

The candidates running for ALA president for the 2025–2026 term are Sam Helmick, community and access services coordinator at Iowa City Public Library, and Raymond Pun, academic and research librarian at Alder Graduate School of Education in Redwood City, California.

Helmick is a current member of the ALA Executive Board and president of the Iowa Library Association. They previously served as chair-elect on the Freedom to Read Foundation and chair of the Iowa Governor’s Commission of Libraries. They have served on committees for the Network of the National Library of Medicine, Stonewall Book Awards, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Michael L. Printz Award, and Reference and User Services Association Sophie Brody Award, and on the YALSA Fundraising Task Force, and the ALA Policy Monitoring Committee. Helmick is a 2017 Emerging Leader as well as an author, consultant, and instructor for social media marketing and graphic design.

Helmick holds an MLIS from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s in human services from Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant.

“Libraries are cornerstones of knowledge, equity, and community. Every day, library workers and those we serve, breathe life into opportunity and civil engagement. As a lifelong exponent of literacy and a staunch believer in the transformative power of our work, it is an honor to run for the presidency of ALA and to leverage this opportunity to connect, celebrate, and advocate libraries,” said Helmick. “Together, let’s chart a course for an ALA that champions innovation, embraces diversity, and ensures that libraries remain vibrant hubs of inspiration and inclusivity. Join me in shaping a future where every voice is heard, every story is celebrated, and every library is a beacon of enlightenment. Together, we will write the next chapter of ALA’s legacy.”

Pun currently serves as the immediate past president of the Chinese American Librarians Association and as a member of the California Library Association Advocacy and Legislation Committee. He is also former president of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association.

Pun previously served on ALA Council, ALA Policy Corps, and as a member of the advisory committees for two ALA past presidents. He is a member of American Association of School Librarians; Association for Library Service to Children; Association of College and Research Libraries; Library Freedom Project; American Indian Library Association; Black Caucus of the American Library Association; Association of Jewish Libraries; Association of Rural and Small Libraries; Reforma: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking; and ALA’s International Relations Round Table and Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table. In addition to librarianship, Pun is a member of the Committee of 100’s Next Generation Leaders program and a speaker for Weave Speakers Bureau.

Pun holds an EdD in educational leadership from California State University, Fresno; an MLS from CUNY Queens College in New York; and a master’s degree in East Asian Studies and a bachelor’s degree in history from St. John’s University in New York.

“For almost 150 years, ALA has been recognized as the world’s first and largest library association, but ALA has not been without its flaws, including its exclusionary history, particularly regarding underrepresented groups. As a dedicated library worker, an experienced association leader, and a teacher educator, I am honored to stand as a candidate for ALA president-elect,” said Pun. “From book challenges to artificial intelligence to job burnout, we are witnessing increasing challenges impacting ALA, library workers, libraries, and our communities today. I believe inclusive leadership centers on compassion and collaboration, and with these guiding values, I strive to champion ALA as an evolving model of organizational excellence in advocacy efforts and global engagement and lead ALA in collective response to these issues in our profession and beyond.”

The ALA Nominating Committee also announced candidates for 12 open councilor-at-large seats November 9.

Helmick and Pun, as well as any petition candidates, will take part in a virtual candidates’ forum at 2 p.m. Central on Thursday, February 8, 2024. Each candidate will have the opportunity to share a statement and answer questions from members. Register to attend.

Ballot mailing for the election will begin March 11, 2024, and will run through April 3. Individuals must be members in good standing to vote in the 2024 ALA elections. Renew your membership online or by calling 1-800-545-2433, option 1. For more information, visit the ALA Election webpage.

Updated: Jan. 1, 2024


Photo of ALA President Emily Drabinski

Our Shared Mission

While our work varies, our values remain steadfast

Photo of ALA President Emily Drabinski

A Welcoming Space

Celebrating the strength and transformative power of libraries