237: ALA Presidential Candidates (2023)

Steve chats with the 2023 candidates for President of the American Library Association, Cindy Hohl and Eric D. Suess, about why they want the role, creating safe and equitable environments for library workers and patrons, neutrality, and how new members can find their way in the Association.

Read the transcript!

Cindy Hohl is past president of the American Indian Library Association and is an active member of other ALA affiliates, including the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, Black Caucus of ALA, Chinese American Librarians Association and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. As a member of the Public Library Association, a division of ALA, she currently co-chairs the Membership Advisory Group, and was a member of the PLA Strategic Plan Review Team. Hohl is also a member of several round tables: Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT), Library Research Round Table (LRRT), and Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT). Hohl holds a Bachelor of Science in Organization Management and Leadership from Friends University, a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Baker University.

Eric D. Suess is the Director of the Marshall Public Library in Pocatello, Idaho. He has been active in ALA for thirty-five years, including twelve years as a Councilor At-Large, where he was involved in several council committees, including the Policy Monitoring Committee, Committee on Legislation and the Committee on Organization. He is currently a member of the following ALA divisions: Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), Core, PLA and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). He also belongs to several round tables, including International Relations Round Table (IRRT), IFRT, Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table (GNCRT) and Games and Gaming Round Table (GAMERT). He is an active member of the Idaho Library Association, a chapter of ALA, where he previously chaired its Intellectual Freedom Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Michigan. His wife Karen works with special needs students at Pocatello High School. When not at work, Eric is usually acting in or directing community theater productions. He is currently playing George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.

Subscribe (FREE!) to the Circulating Ideas newsletter!

218: ALA Presidential Candidates (2022)

Steve chats with the 2022 candidates for President of the American Library Association: Emily Drabinski, Critical Pedagogy Librarian and Interim Chief Librarian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Kelvin Watson, executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

Read the transcript!

Emily Drabinski is Critical Pedagogy Librarian and Interim Chief Librarian at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She has been an academic librarian for two decades, publishing and presenting widely on the politics of knowledge organization and the importance of organized labor in the library workplace.

Kelvin Watson is the executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, oversees 25 branches spanning 8,000 square miles, a budget of $77 million, 700 employees, and a collection of 3.2 million items. The Library District is a vibrant and vital member of the community offering limitless learning; business and career advancement; and government and social services support.

Mr. Watson joined the Library District from his role as the director of the Broward County Libraries Division, where he managed 700+ full-time employees and a budget of more than $70 million. The Broward County library system serves 1.9 million people through 38 locations in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida region.

Regarded as one of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry, he is credited with expanding his customer base in past library management roles, through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations. His deep experience in fundraising, technology, program development, plus his demonstrated success in addressing the digital divide, will help the Library District to further expand its role as a free educational resource for all residents. A current example of this is a partnership with the Regional Transit Commission of Southern Nevada to provide a library app to bus riders using on-board WiFi. This program introduces the library to thousands of potential new customers who may have had no previous library interaction.

Subscribe (FREE!) to the Circulating Ideas newsletter!
Emily Drabinski campaign site
Kelvin Watson campaign site

197: ALA Presidential Candidates (2021)

Steve chats with the three 2021 candidates for American Library Association President: Stacey Aldrich, Ed Garcia, and Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada.

Read the transcript!

Stacey Aldrich has more than 20 years of library experience, and is currently the State Librarian of Hawaii. Prior to Hawaii, she served as the Deputy Secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries in Pennsylvania and State Librarian of California. Stacey has also worked in public and academic libraries. In between, she took a detour to work as a Senior Associate at the futuring think tank of Coates & Jarratt, Inc., where she began to sharpen her futurist thinking skills. She was selected as a Mover and Shaker in the 2003 Library Journal Annual Movers and Shakers edition, and she received a LINK AMERICAS Foundation Knowledge Award for vision and leadership in the area of Digital Literacy in 2012. Always curious and always learning, she believes we all should have a little futurist in us so that we can create our preferred futures. Visit her Instagram to learn more about her campaign.

Ed Garcia is the Library Director at the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI, a position he has held since 2012. Ed is a proud graduate of the University of Rhode Island and received his MLIS in 2008. He is currently serving as a member of the Executive Board of the American Library Association and is a 3 term Councilor-at-Large on the ALA Council. He is a former ALA Emerging Leader (2010) and Library Journal Mover & Shaker (2010). Ed is very involved in library advocacy and is the current Legislative Action Chair for the Rhode Island Library Association. He is happily married with 16 year old twin sons. To learn more about his candidacy for ALA President visit www.edforala.com.

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada is the Adult Services Assistant Manager at the Palos Verdes Library District in Southern California. She serves as the Executive Director and is a Past President of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). Much of her professional work focuses on services to youth and promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries, librarianship, and her local community. She lives in San Pedro, California with her poet husband, Chrisitan Hanz Lozada and their menagerie of pets. Find out more about Lessa and her vision for ALA at lessaforlibraries.com.

Today’s show is brought to you by Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing. Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.

152: ALA Presidential Candidates (2019)

Steve chats with Julius Jefferson and Lance Werner, the two 2019 candidates for President of the American Library Association, about why they want to be President, how to promote and advocate for more diversity and inclusion in the profession, how the association can be more open to virtual participation, and why libraries are still important in the 21st century.

Read the transcript.

Julius Jefferson (l.), Lance Werner (r.)

An active member of ALA for 15 years, Julius Jefferson currently serves on and has been a member of the ALA Council since 2011, and most recently completed a 3-year term on the ALA Executive Board (2015-18). He has also served on a number of critical committees, including the Finance and Audit Committee (2017-18), the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (2014-18), the Intellectual Freedom Committee (2010-14) serving as the 2010-11 chair, and is currently chair of the Chapter Relations Committee, as well as on numerous other committees and task forces of the association. He is co- editor of The 21st-Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges and is often sought as a speaker on library-related issues such as diversity, leadership and professional development. Jefferson holds a BA in History from Howard  University and an MLS from the University of Maryland.

Julius Jefferson campaign site

Lance Werner has served as Executive Director for Kent District Library since 2011. He received a juris doctorate degree from Michigan State University’s College of Law and his master’s degree in Library Science from Wayne State University (WSU). In 2018, he was chosen as Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year, and in years past, he was the recipient of the Joey Rodger Leadership Award from the Urban Libraries Council, Librarian of the Year Award from the Michigan Library Association (MLA), the WSU Distinguished Alumni award, and Library Journal’s Mover and Shaker Award. Lance is currently involved in the ALA Policy Corps, WSU’s Capital Campaign, MLA’s Legislative Committee, and has just graduated from Michigan Political Leadership Course.

Lance Werner campaign site

This episode of Circulating Ideas is brought to you with support from Mometrix. Through their eLibrary portal, Mometrix offers study guides and practice questions for over 1800 different exams covering college entrance, graduate school, nursing, medical, teacher certification, civil service, and many other careers or fields of study, all fully customizable and at a fraction of the cost of printed books. It’s like having an entire library of test prep materials…. all at your fingertips. So, save space, save paper, and save money; with Mometrix eLibrary. To learn more, visit GOeLibrary.com and use promo code PODCAST to get a free demo and save 10% on your first purchase.

128: ALA Presidential Candidates (2018)

Steve chats with Peter Hepburn and Wanda Brown, 2018 candidates for American Library Association President, about why they want to be president, how to increase diversity in the profession, and what the degree requirements should be for the ALA Executive Director.

Read the transcript.


Canadian-born and raised, Peter Hepburn earned his BA (Honours) in Political Science from the University of Victoria (1992) and his MLIS from McGill University (2000).  On earning his masters degree, he started as a resident librarian in the Reference Department of the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  He eventually earned tenure and became head of the Digital Programs department before moving to California in 2013 where he took on the head librarianship of the College of the Canyons, a community college in Santa Clarita. In his spare time, Peter enjoys swimming, running, and food and cooking. He lives in Pasadena with his husband, Conrad.

Campaign Site


Wanda Kay Brown is the Director of Library Services for the C. G. O’Kelly Library at Winston-Salem State University. A 1977 graduate, she returned home after nearly three decades of comprehensive library experience. Prior to her appointment, she served as the Associate Dean of Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Wanda Brown has been an ALA member for 30 years and is an active member of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Association for Libraries Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA). She has held multiple leadership positions within each division.  Brown holds a BA in English, with a minor in psychology from Winston-Salem State University, and an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Campaign Site

105: ALA Presidential Candidates (2017)

Steve chats with the three candidates for president of the American Library Association, 2018-2019: Loida Garcia-Febo, Terri Grief, and Scott Walter.

Read the transcript.


Loida Garcia-Febo’s campaign site
Terri Grief’s campaign site
Scott Walter’s campaign site

ALA Election Information

2017 ALA Midwinter – Presidential Candidates Forum

“ALA strongly protests rollback of protections for our nation’s transgender students” [ALA press release]

ALA Council Candidate Sorter 2017 [courtesy of Andromeda Yelton]

Circulating Ideas is produced with support from the University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science and listeners like you. Find out how you can help here.

86: ALA Presidential Candidates (2016)

Steve chats with the three candidates running for President of the American Library Association: Christine Lind Hage, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, and Jim Neal.

Read the transcript.

Hage Head Shots 001

Christine Lind Hage has been a full-time public librarian for 45 years and has
been responsible for five major library construction projects. Recognized as
Michigan’s Librarian of the Year in 1997 she has published and presented widely
on various public library subjects both nationally and internationally.
Christine has been a frequent contributor to PUBLIB and is the author of THE
PUBLIC LIBRARY START-UP GUIDE published in 2004 by ALA. Within ALA
Christine is a past president of the Public Library Association and is the past
president of United for Libraries, an ALA Councilor for 12 years, Chair of the
Office of Information Technology’s America’s Libraries for the 21st Century

She knew she would be a librarian since she was 8 years old and has never
worked anywhere but a library. She is currently the director of the Rochester
Hills (MI) Public Library.



Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe is Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction in the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. At Illinois, she has also served as Acting Head of the University High School Library, Head of the Undergraduate Library, Acting Coordinator for Staff Development and Training, and Coordinator for Strategic Planning in the University Library. Previously, she was the Library Instruction Coordinator at Illinois State University and Reference Librarian at Parkland Community College.

Lisa served as the 2010-2011 President of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which launched the Value of Academic Libraries Initiative during her presidency. Along with Debra Gilchrist, Lisa is the lead designer for ACRL’s training program for theStandards for Libraries in Higher Education and the IMLS-funded Assessment in Action project. In addition to her work in ACRL, Lisa has served on numerous ALA and division committees, including the International Relations Committee, School Library Implementation Task Force, and the Digital Literacy Task Force of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. She was a member of the National Expert Panel for the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services’ Libraries, Literacy, and Gaming Initiative and serves on external review panels for the ALA Office of Accreditation and portfolio evaluator for the ALA-APA Library support Staff Certification. Lisa has also served on various committees and groups in ILA (llinois Library Association), IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations), ARL (Association of Research Libraries), NISO (National Information Standards Organization), and LOEX (Library Orientation Exchange Clearinghouse).

Lisa has presented and published widely on information literacy, teaching and learning, the value of libraries, library assessment, program evaluation, and organizational innovation. Her most recent book is Environments for Student Growth and Development: Libraries and Student Affairs in Collaboration (co-edited with Melissa Autumn Wong). She is an internationally sought after speaker and has also conducted workshops and trainings on five continents.

Lisa was the recipient of the 2015 ACRL Instruction Section Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award as well as the 2009 ACRL Special Presidential Recognition Award for Information Literacy Immersion Program. She was also awarded the University of Illinois GSLIS Library School Alumni Association Leadership Award in 2003 and the University of Illinois GSLIS Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award in 1995.

Lisa received her Master of Education in Educational Psychology and Master of Library and Information Science degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently a PhD student in Global Studies in Education in the Department of Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.



Jim Neal served as the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University during 2001-2014, providing leadership for university academic computing and a system of twenty-two libraries. His responsibilities included the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, the Copyright Advisory Office, and the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research. Previously, he served as the Dean of University Libraries at Indiana University and Johns Hopkins University, and held administrative positions in the libraries at Penn State, Notre Dame, and the City University of New York.

Neal is a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees. He serves on the Council and Executive Board of the American Library Association, and recently completed a three-year term as ALA Treasurer. He has served on the Board and as President of the Association of Research Libraries, on the Board and as Chair of the Research Libraries Group (RLG), on the Board and as Chair of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and on the Board of the Digital Preservation Network.  He is on the Board and serves as Treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and on the Board and serves as Treasurer of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). He has also participated on numerous international, national, and state professional committees, and is an active member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

Neal is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, consultant and published author, with focuses in the areas of scholarly communication, intellectual property, digital library programs, and library cooperation. He has served on the Scholarly Communication committees of ARL and ACRL and as Chair of the Steering Committee of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. He has served on the university press boards at Columbia, John Hopkins and Indiana. He has represented the American library community in testimony on copyright matters before Congressional committees, was an advisor to the U.S. delegation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) diplomatic conference on copyright, has worked on copyright policy and advisory groups for universities and for professional and higher education associations, and during 2005-08 was a member of the U.S. Copyright Office Section 108 Study Group. He is chair of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2017 National Conference, and is coordinating the fundraising for the IFLA 2016 scholarship program.

He was selected the 1997 Academic Librarian of the Year by the Association of College and Research Libraries and was the 2007 recipient of ALA’s Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award and the 2009 ALA Melvil Dewey Medal Award. In 2010, he received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta. And in 2015, he received the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award for “distinguished service to the profession of librarianship”, and the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award.


Christine’s campaign site
Lisa’s campaign site
James’s campaign site

ALA Presidential Candidates (2013)

Steve speaks with the two candidates for president of the American Library Association for 2013.

Read the transcript.

Courtney L. Young is currently Head Librarian and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Penn State Greater Allegheny. She is an active leader in the American Library Association (ALA), serving on the ALA Executive Board (2009-2012) and as a past President of the New Members Round Table (2009-2010). In 2011, Courtney was named a Library Journal “Mover& Shaker”, recognized as a Change Agent for her ability to successfully make connections among a diversity of duties in her library, on campus, and in the profession. She graduated from the College of Wooster in Ohio with a B.A. in English and minors in Black Studies and Women’s Studies. She received her M.S. in Library Science from Simmons College.

Before coming to Penn State Greater Allegheny, Courtney worked at The Ohio State University, Michigan State University, where she received a Staff Achievement Award as the assistant instruction librarian, and Penn State’s University Park and Beaver campuses. Courtney frequently presents and publishes on issues related to academic librarianship, diversity, virtual reference, and professional development.

Barbara Immroth has worked as a free-lance indexer, an instructor for the State Library of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh, an assistant in the Brown University Library, a librarian for the University of Denver Library, a children’s librarian at Carnegie Library, and a high school librarian in Pittsburgh. Her research interests center on children’s services, children’s health and children’s literature. She is the author of Texas in Children’s Books and co-author of Teaching Texas History: An All-Level Resource Guide. She edited, with Viki Ash-Geisler as co-editor, Achieving School Readiness: Public Libraries and National Education Goal No. 1; and Library Service for Youth of Hispanic Heritage with Kathleen de la Pena McCook. Her most recent books, written with Bill Lukenbill, are Health Information for Youth: The Public Library and School Library Media Center Role and Health Information in a Changing World: Practical Approaches for Teachers, Schools and School Librarians. She is a past President of the Association for Library Service to Children, a former Trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, a past President of the Texas Library Association and a past national President of the Beta Phi Mu LIS honorary society. She is the P.I. for two grants that received IMLS funding: “Youth, Community, Libraries: Empowerment for Success” for Ph.D. student recruitment and “Promoting Information Literacy & Teacher Collaboration through Social Marketing Strategies” for a study of librarian-teacher collaboration. She was the first woman in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, now School of Information, at The University of Texas to direct a dissertation.

Please note that these election episodes are done to be informational, not necessarily as an endorsement of one or more candidates.

10: ALA Presidential Candidates (2012)

Steve speaks with the two candidates for ALA President in 2012: Barbara Stripling and Gina Millsap.

Read the transcript.

Barbara Stripling has recently joined the faculty at Syracuse University as an Assistant Professor of Practice.  Prior to Syracuse, she was Director of Library Services for the New York City schools for seven years.  Stripling brought to New York City schools the experience of a thirty-year career as a classroom teacher in Colorado and North Carolina, a school library media specialist and school district director of libraries in Arkansas, a library grant program director in Tennessee, and director of library programs at a local education fund in New York City.  She received her Doctorate in Information Management from Syracuse University in May 2011 and has written or edited numerous books and articles.  Stripling is a former president of the American Association of School Librarians, a former member of the American Library Association Executive Board, and a current member of ALA Council.

Barbara’s campaign site

Gina Millsap is the Chief Executive Officer of the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. She leads an organization of 225 incredible employees serving a library-loving community of 177,000. She served as the director of the Ames (Iowa) Public Library and at the Daniel Boone Public Library prior to making Kansas her home. She’s worked in libraries for 30+ years and received her Masters of Library Science from the University of Missouri, in the previous century. Her degree may be an antique, but her outlook isn’t; she’s been recognized as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker and is Past President of the Library Leadership and Management Association, a division of the American Library Association. She presents and writes on a variety of current topics, including market segmentation, public library trustee education, 21stcentury librarianship and process improvement.

Gina’s campaign site