The American Library Association this week announced that Emily Drabinski and Kelvin Watson will vie for the 2023-24 presidency of the American Library Association (ALA).

Drabinksi is currently interim chief librarian at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). Watson, is executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

Both candidates bring a wealth of experience and strong records of service to the table.

Among her professional contributions, Drabinski has served as chair of the International Relations Committee (2020-21), and as an ALA councilor-at-large (2018-20), and she is an active member of Core (Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures) and the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries), serving as chair of the ACRL Information Literacy Frameworks and Standards Committee (2019-20), and as co-chair of the ACRL President’s Program Planning Committee (2020-21). She also reviews editor for College & Research Libraries.

Drabinski is also a member of several roundtables: the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), the Library Support Staff Interests Round Table (LSSIRT), the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), the Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT), and the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). And, she is a member of several ALA affiliates as well, including the Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA), REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking), the American Indian Library Association, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, and the Chinese American Librarians Association.

In a statement, Drabinksi pledged to “steward our shared resources on behalf of all of us who seek a better world,” if elected.

Ballot mailing for the ALA election will begin the second Monday in March on March 14, 2022.

“So many of us find ourselves at the ends of our worlds,” Drabinski said. “The consequences of decades of unchecked climate change, class war, white supremacy, and imperialism have led us here. If we want a world that includes public goods like the library, we must organize our collective power and wield it. The American Library Association offers us a set of tools that can harness our energies and build those capacities.”

Among his professional service, Watson currently co-chairs the ALA’s Digital Content Working Group and serves on the ALA Business Advisory Group. He has served on the ALA Committee on Accreditation (2016-2017) and on an ALA Presidential Task Force. He was an ALA Spectrum Scholar (2006), a RUSA Spectrum Intern (2007-2008), and an AASL Member/Spectrum Scholar 2007. And from 2018-2021 he was a Public Library Association (PLA) director-at-large. He is also active in BCALA, serving as fundraising chair (2008-10), budget and finance chair (2010-12), as president (2014-16), and as executive board member (2006-2018).

He also currently serves on the board of the Book Industry Study Group (2018-21), and was recently appointed to the Digital Public Library of America board. He is a candidate for OCLC’s Global Council, and is a member of ALA’s Standards for Library Services for Incarcerated and Detained Individuals Working Group.

“We have always been a melting pot of nationalities, religions, ethnicities and gender identities, but historically, many of these segments have been blocked from realizing their full potential,” Watson said, in a statement, adding that demographic change will contibue to put “greater pressure on our schools to teach the literacy and tech skills needed” to compete in the coming years. “All libraries will be called to fill this void, and I know that we can create a plan to address this coming need for new funding sources, exciting LIS educational and support staff opportunities, and new technologies that create efficiencies for ease of discovery and access.”

Ballot mailing for the ALA election will begin the second Monday in March on March 14, 2022 and will run through the first Wednesday in April on April 6, 2022.

In addition to the ALA presidency, ALA also announced this week that Peter Hepburn, head librarian at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, and Oscar Lanza-Galindo, associate dean, Library and Learning Commons, Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, will vie for ALA treasurer for 2022-25.

Hepburn chaired the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee (2019-21) and was a member of the Executive Board (2016-2017) and the Finance and Audit Committee (2019-21) and an ALA Councilor at Large (2017-2020). He is currently serving as a member of the Committee on Organization (2021-23). Lanza-Galindo serves on the ALA Council (2020-present) and is a member of the ACRL 2022 President’s Program Planning Committee.

ALA also announced that 68 candidates are running for 34 at-large seats on the ALA Council.

For more information, members can visit the ALA Election page.