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Wong, Yates seek 2021-22 ALA presidency

CHICAGO – Patricia “Patty” M. Wong, City Librarian at Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library. and Steven Yates, Assistant Director, University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies, are the candidates for the 2021-22 presidency of the American Library Association (ALA).

Patty Wong is the city librarian at Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library. She also serves as part-time faculty at the San Jose State University iSchool and is the former director of library services, Yolo (Calif.) County Library (2008-2017). An active ALA member for 35 years, Wong has served several terms as at-large councilor (1996-2007, 2012-14) and as California Chapter councilor (2015-2017). Wong is currently in her second term on the ALA Executive Board, previously serving 2001-05. She has held numerous committee positions, including chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee. She is an active member of ALSC, LLAMA, PLA, United for Libraries, YALSA, the Social Responsibilities Round Table, Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, and the Rainbow Round Table. She is a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation and, as an Executive Board member, has worked with the Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Legislation and the Conference Committee.

Wong is a member of several ALA Professional affiliates, including the American Indian Library Association, 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. 

Wong has also supported ALA Presidential Initiative Planning as a co-chair for Barbara Stripling (2012-2014), Molly Raphael (2009-2011) and Camila Alire (2008-10), a contributor for Julie Todaro (2015-16), and a member for both James (Jim) Neal (2016-17) and Mary Somerville (1995-97).

In addition to her service to ALA, Wong currently serves as a Board Member for the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) (2014-present). She has served as a Board Member of the California Library Association (2015-2017), President of APALA (1999), Treasurer of USBBY (1995-1998), Board Member of CALA (1991-93), and President of CALA, California Chapter (1993). 

Wong is often called to speak on several issues related to leadership, diversity, youth development and grant writing.
Wong also is the recipient of several awards, including the 2012 ALA Equality Award, CALA Distinguished Service Award (2014), and Member of the Year, California Library Association (2012). She holds a BA in Women’s Studies and an MLIS, both from the University of California at Berkeley. 

“There will be more change within the American Library Association in the next five years than in the past fifty,” said Wong. “We will face stressors that challenge us in publishing and digital access, intellectual freedom and legislation, funding and innovation. Our success will come from managing that change and not allowing it to manage us. 
“Sustainability and resiliency are critical to ALA.  I want to grow and activate the membership, so that leading from any position becomes a natural part of our culture. I will focus on the strengths of our membership and ALA staff, the value they contribute to our greater community, and will foster initiatives where everyone has a role and all are welcome.  We are facing an evolution as an Association and I want to move ALA towards success, through collaboration, team building, and effective partnerships.”

Steven Yates is an active member of AASL, ALSC, LLAMA, YALSA, the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT), and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking. He currently serves as a member of the second Policy Corps cohort, the ALA Executive Director Search Committee, 2019, and the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness, 2018-present. He served as AASL president in 2017-2018 and is a member of the 2010 class of ALA Emerging Leaders.

Additional ALA activities include serving as a member of ALA’s Advisory Committee for the National Legislative Network, 2019; Committee on Appointments, 2016-2017; Emerging Leaders program subcommittee, 2013-2015, and the ALA Committee on Diversity, 2013-2015; AASL: Chair, Leadership Development Committee, 2018-2019; member-at-large, Board of Directors, 2014-2016; board-elected representative to Executive Committee, 2015-2016; chair, Fall Forum 2014 Committee; National Conference 2013 Committee /Virtual Conference Subcommittee Chair; Professional Development Advisory Group, 2013-2015; Knowledge Quest Editorial Board, 2010-2013; and Annual Program Committee, 2011 and 2012.

At the local level, Yates was president of the Alabama Library Association, 2011-2012, and served as moderator of its young adult services roundtable, 2009-2010. For the Alabama School Library Association, he has served as treasurer (2007-2009). In the Tuscaloosa community, Yates currently serves on the board of the Krewe of Druids, an organization that raises funds for Five Horizons Health Services, an AIDS Service Organization, as well as a member of the volunteer allocation team for the United Way of West Alabama.

Yates earned a PhD in Instructional Leadership (Instructional Technology), University of Alabama, an EdS in Library Media, University of West Alabama, and an MLIS and BA in Geology and History, University of Alabama.

“I am humbled and excited to stand for election at this important time in the evolution of ALA,” said Yates. “Our profession has more work to do to ensure that our workforce reflects the communities we serve. I look forward to working alongside my fellow members in leading the association to harness the power of positive passion as we build cultural competence in our membership, maintain a strong national, state, and local policy and advocacy presence, all while sustaining member engagement through transparent volunteer opportunities.”

Wong and Yates will engage in a candidates’ forum from 4:30 – 5:30 pm on Saturday, January 25, during the 2020 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits in Philadelphia. The candidates will each have an opportunity to make a statement and will answer questions from the audience.

Ballot mailing for the 2020 ALA election will begin on March 9, 2020 and will run through April 1, 2020.  Individuals must be members in good standing as of January 31, 2020 in order to vote. Renew your membership online or by calling 1-800-545-2433, option 5.

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit 

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