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Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada receives 2022 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager, Palos Verdes Library District, Rolling Hills Estates, California as the recipient of the 2022 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award. Pelayo-Lozada is executive director of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and president-elect of the American Library Association (2022-23 President). She is a determined advocate for issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, inspiring those around her.

What was unswervingly cited in the many recommendation letters received was Pelayo-Lozada’s passion for doing the hard work of bringing groups together to strive towards greater cooperation and understanding. Pelayo-Lozada is seen as an agent for change through listening to others and understanding their concerns, all with the goal of the growth of the organization or committee that she was a part of.

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada’s contributions to ALA and librarianship are numerous. To list the number of committees, task forces, and boards that she has served on or is currently serving on is a true testament to her passion for moving ideas forward. She served as 2016 president of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and was later appointed APALA executive director (2019-2022). She has held many influential positions – from chairing the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) Advisory Committee to serving on ALA Council and the Executive Board. Her noted work as chair of the Steering Committee for Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) highlighted her skill and passion for moving ALA forward as an organization. In 2021, Pelayo-Lozada was elected ALA president 2022-2023.

“Visionary,” “a ball of fire,” “compassionate,” “inspiring” are the words and phrases most used by her colleagues. Her tireless efforts around equity, inclusiveness, and diversity continue to inspire those who work with her.  Her energy, her devotion are catalysts of change, and she personifies someone that can make the impossible possible.

The award will be presented before the ALA Presidents Program, Sunday, June 26  at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 

Honoring the memory of Dr. Elizabeth Futas, the Catalyst for Change Award is a biannual recognition administered by the American Library Association. Dr. Futas was the director of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She joined the faculty at the university in Kingston, Rhode Island in 1986 and during the next decade helped to train a generation of reference and children’s book librarians. She also revamped the programs of the library school and within two years helped it to secure accreditation. The award is $1,000 and a gold-framed citation of achievement.

Members of the 2022 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award are: Chair, Susan Kusel, library director,  Temple Rodef Shalom Library,  Arlington, Virginia; Skip Dye, SVP, library marketing and digital sales, Penguin Random House, New York; and Elizabeth Philippi, school program coordinator, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

The deadline for submission of applications for the 2024 Elizabeth Futas, the Catalyst for Change Award is Feb. 1, 2024.  Guidelines and applications are available on the ALA website.


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