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


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



From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Libraries Adapt amid Crisis

May 1, 2020

COVID-19 and the novel corona­virus have upended our way of life and altered the way we as library professionals do our work. Of course, it has also impacted the American Library Association in profound ways. In March, the Executive Board made two difficult decisions: First, to recommend the closing of all libraries to all patrons. … Continue reading Libraries Adapt amid Crisis


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Don’t Be Counted Out

March 2, 2020

Quite simply, representation matters. If people aren’t counted in, they will most likely be counted out. That’s because the census informs everything from districting for federal, state, and local offices to the allocation of as much as $1.5 trillion in federal funding to states and localities. The census intersects with the work of libraries in several … Continue reading Don’t Be Counted Out


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Forward Together

January 2, 2020

But as we hear often, many members find the path to engagement too confusing, too insular, and too expensive. How do we address these concerns while also modernizing the way our Association functions? This is where we start. For the past 18 months, as a member of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE), I’ve … Continue reading Forward Together


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Welcoming New Americans

November 1, 2019

Libraries have a role to play too. From hosting programs with local legislators and teaching patrons media literacy to offering support for online census questions and assistance with government e-forms, today’s libraries are hot spots of civic engagement. Newcomers to this country, especially, see libraries as trustworthy guides on their path to integrating into their … Continue reading Welcoming New Americans


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Inclusive by Design

September 3, 2019

“When you can navigate a space, whatever that space may look like, and you don’t have to ask for help and you can do it independently, that’s confidence-building,” he says. When we think of some of the foremost goals of our profession—advocating for the value of libraries, librarians, and library workers as well as promoting … Continue reading Inclusive by Design


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Find Your Place within ALA

July 17, 2019

The American Library Association’s (ALA) strength in representing and advocating for librarians and library workers is likewise critical. However, the feedback we frequently receive is that getting involved in an association as complex as ours is daunting and that our Byzantine structure often leads to exclusion and confusion. Over the course of my presidential year, … Continue reading Find Your Place within ALA


Loida Garcia-Febo

Moving the Needle

June 3, 2019

During this time, I treasured the opportunity of being the first Puerto Rican American and second-youngest ALA president in the organization’s 143-year history. I have loved representing ALA nationally and internationally and collaborating with a talented Executive Board. Over the past year, ALA has helped secure funding for libraries to keep them open, equipped, and … Continue reading Moving the Needle


Loida Garcia-Febo

Supporting Our Agenda

May 1, 2019

Threats to libraries include budget cuts and legislation that would directly impact people from our communities, including women, children, first-generation college students, job seekers, new US residents, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and all the other people who visit our libraries every day. Our strategy needs to be twofold: library advocacy and community engagement. We … Continue reading Supporting Our Agenda