A Seat for All

September 1, 2021

It’s a striking reminder that in our all-too-recent past, entire groups were denied access to the institutions we serve. That’s why during Library Card Sign-Up Month, celebrated each September, I am calling on all of us to recognize the errors of the past and commit to fighting for improved access for groups that may still … Continue reading A Seat for All


Libraries Connect Us

July 8, 2021

Taking on the struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to ALA’s mission of fostering cultural understanding and defending equity, diversity, and inclusion. In that spirit, my presidential plans focus on equity at the intersection of service. During my term, I will advocate for four initiatives, collectively called “Libraries Connect.” The first focus … Continue reading Libraries Connect Us


Isabel Wilkerson

History, Race, and Caste

June 27, 2021

Jefferson spoke of the “twin pandemics” that have marked his tenure as president—COVID-19 and systemic racism—and pointed out that only the virus seems to be reaching resolution. “Isabel Wilkerson and her book Caste help explain why,” he said. Simone Stone, an MSLIS student at the School of Information Services at the University of Illinois at … Continue reading History, Race, and Caste


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Moving Forward

June 1, 2021

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



Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada

Pelayo-Lozada Wins 2022–2023 ALA Presidency

April 14, 2021

Pelayo-Lozada received 4,056 votes, while her opponents, Ed Garcia, director of Cranston (R.I.) Public Library, received 2,598 votes, and Stacey A. Aldrich, state librarian of the Hawaii State Public Library System in Honolulu, received 2,186 votes. Upon learning the outcome of the election, Pelayo-Lozada provided the following statement: “I want to thank each and every … Continue reading Pelayo-Lozada Wins 2022–2023 ALA Presidency


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


Dewey Decibel: Small and Rural Libraries

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Small and Rural Libraries

September 15, 2020

In Episode 54, Dewey Decibel speaks with Jefferson, as well as two librarians whose work was showcased on his tour. First, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries Senior Editor Phil Morehart discusses small-library concerns with Corey Christians, director of Yavapai County (Ariz.) Free Library District. Next, Morehart talks with Stacey Russell, interim executive director of … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Small and Rural Libraries


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”