In a tight three-person race, James G. (Jim) Neal, university librarian emeritus at Columbia University, has been elected president of the American Library Association (ALA) for 2017-2018.

Neal received 3,479 votes, narrowly defeating Christine Lind Hage, director of the Rochester Hills (Michigan) Public Library, who received 3,248 votes; and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, professor and coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who received 3,317 votes.

Neal will be serve as president-elect for one year, before taking office at the close of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference, which is set for Chicago.

An ALA member since 1976, Neal has held numerous leadership positions throughout ALA and its divisions. He is currently completing his second term on the ALA executive board as an at-large member, and served as the 2010-13 ALA treasurer. Neal served as the vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia from 2001-14.

“I am honored to serve as president-elect of the American Library Association," Neal said in a statement. "My commitment is to a successful and influential ALA, to a profession characterized by service, diversity, impact and leadership, to the readers and users who depend on our libraries, and to the individuals who work in and advocate in support of libraries."