ALA Candidates’ Forum

I attended a forum at which the candidates for ALA President-Elect and ALA treasurer presented prepared statements and answered questions from the audience.  Here are some notes from that forum.

Molly Raphael – candidate for ALA President-Elect

Her platform consists of three key points:

  1. advocacy – move perceptions forward that libraries are essential for learning and essential for life; she pledges to cite and support research that demonstrates the transformative power of libraries; she also wants to encourage constituents to tell their stories about the transformative power of libraries
  2. diversity – she has valued diversity throughout her life’s work; we must recruit and retain a more diverse workforce to reflect the demographics of the communities we serve; we must also work effectively to sustain diversity in our staffs
  3. defending core values – she pledges to protect intellectual freedom, privacy and open access, while building coalitions with others to leverage influence

The power of ALA derives from its collective voice, speaking for all types of libraries.  Embracing a shared purpose is what gives ALA its power.  She says she will bring to the role of president a broad and deep knowledge of ALA; a long record of leadership and ability and experience; extensive experience in working with government officials; promovte core values; experience in advancing diversity and inclusiveness; and experience building collaborative iniatives around all types of libraries.  More information is available at

Sara Kelly Johns – candidate for ALA President-Elect

She believes that the challenges facing libraries require innovative change.  She wants to connect ALA’s resources and members to better meet those challenges.  She believes her longtime service as a school librarian, as a public library trustee, and as an adjunct professor position her well. She envisions ALA as an organization with an increasingly involved memberhsip.

Her platform includes : advocacy, diversity, intellectual freedom, transparency, and inclusion.

She would institute a targeted national public awareness campaign.  She supports the initiatives of Pres. Camila Alire and Pres-Elect Roberta Stevens.  People need to hear the stories aabout the public’s use of libraries.  She would also spearhead the creation of a tool kit for diversity recruitment.  She is committed to providing effective, efficient and nimble leadership for ALA.  She wants to ensure that ALA members have the organizational structure, technology  support and inspirational leadership to remain ahead of the curve in transformational times.

More information is available at

Alan Kornblau – candidate for ALA Treasurer

He serves as the Director of the Del Ray Beach Public Library in Florida.  He has been in the library profession for over 20 years and has worked in public libraries in four states.  He currently serves as treasurer of the Florida Library Association.

He stated that ALA is suffering the same difficulties as libraries.  He believes that ALA needs to get aggressive and creative in seeking new sources of revenue.  Among the areas that should be explored are CE, certification programs, and membership drives.  ALA has to be a leader wtih technology and should explore virtual library conferences.  The future of ALA depends on the involvement of young professionals and fresh faces.  The treasurer’s position has many responsibilities and the person in that position must make prudent financial desions to see us through tough times.

More information is available at

Jim Neal – candidate for ALA Treasurer

He stated that he will bring experience and expertise to the treasurer assignment.  He will advance and represent member’s interests and the important role that libraries play.  ALA must employ sound budgetary policies and practices.  His experience in ALA over 35 years will enable him to be an effective treasurer.  He has served the past two years as chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC).  He has also served on the ALA Executive Board, as the president of LLAMA, as the treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation Board

Membership, conferences, and publishing (and increasingly, interest revenue) are the three main sources of income.  ALA needs to sustain and grow these as well as look for new sources of revenue.  He will focus on making sure that budgetary resources support where we are going as ALA.  There is an urgency for the association and its financial condition.  We must remain committed to our core values.  The ALA Treasurer sometimes has to deal with complex topics and he has experience dealing with the complexities of finance.  He is committed to both vision and action.

More information is available at

Members of the audience asked the candidates the following questions:

What should be the role/relationship of ALA with state associations?

How will the candidate deal with ALA-APA and what is the commitment to its longevity?

What will you do to support student members as they attempt to progress into the workforce from their graduate programs?

What is your experience with operating on a national stage and your experience dealing with federal office holders?

Video of the entire candidates’ forum will be available on YouTube,, and the ALA website after the Midwinter Conference.


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