Patty Wong, Steven Yates Announce ALA Presidential Candidacy

Patricia “Patty” M. Wong, City Librarian at Santa Monica Public Library, CA, and Steven Yates, Assistant Director of the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies, Tuscaloosa, are the candidates for the American Library Association (ALA) 2020–21 presidency.

Patricia “Patty” M. Wong, City Librarian at Santa Monica Public Library, CA, and Steven Yates, Assistant Director of the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies, Tuscaloosa, are the candidates for the American Library Association (ALA) 2020–21 presidency.

Patty Wong head shotWong holds a BA in Women’s Studies and an MLIS, both from the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to her position as city librarian, Wong serves as part-time faculty at the San José State University iSchool. She was director of library services at Yolo County Library, CA, from 2008–17. Wong has been an active member of ALA for 35 years, serving several terms as at-large councilor (1996–2007 and 2012–14) and California Chapter councilor (2015–17). She is currently in her second term on the ALA Executive Board, having also served from 2001–05.

Wong’s committee positions within ALA include Chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee, and she is a member of Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA), the Public Library Association (PLA), United for Libraries, Young Adult Library Services Association (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 has worked with the Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Legislation, and the Conference Committee.

She is a member of several ALA 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 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 was named a LJ Mover & Shaker in 2007.

“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.”

Steven Yates head shotSteven Yates earned his PhD in Instructional Leadership (Instructional Technology) from the University of Alabama, an EdS in Library Media from the University of West Alabama, and an MLIS and BA in Geology and History from the University of Alabama.

He is an active member of American Association of School Librarians (AASL), ALSC, LLAMA, YALSA, the Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT), and REFORMA. He currently serves as a member of the second ALA Policy Corps cohort, the 2019 ALA Executive Director Search Committee, and the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness. He served as AASL president in 2017–18 and is a member of the 2010 class of ALA Emerging Leaders. Within ALA Yates has also served on the Advisory Committee for the National Legislative Network in 2019; Committee on Appointments, 2016–17; Emerging Leaders program subcommittee, 2013–15, and the Committee on Diversity, 2013–15, as well as holding numerous positions in AASL.

Yates was 2011–12 president of the Alabama Library Association and served as moderator of its young adult services roundtable from 2009–10, as well as serving as treasurer of the Alabama School Library Association from 2007–09.

“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 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, during the 2020 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, where they will each have an opportunity to make a statement and 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.

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Lisa Peet

Lisa Peet is News Editor, News for Library Journal.

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