Meet the Candidate: Loida Garcia-Febo

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Loida Garcia-Febo photo by Peter Schaaf

Together, we can bring change!

As a librarian and activist, I serve as a library advocate every day. The opportunity to meet the needs of the communities we serve, help change lives, benefit our profession, libraries and information professionals is very exciting!  I based my decision to run for ALA President on my experience advocating for libraries in streets and sidewalks of New York City, at NYC City Hall, New York State Senate, the US Congress and at the United Nations, my background growing up as the daughter of a school librarian and a community organizer, and serving communities as an academic, special and school librarian in Puerto Rico, and a public librarian in Queens. My vision for the Association and my focus will be to build on the work of ALA Presidents to strengthen an ALA that will be the leading voice advocating for libraries and library users while maintaining our core values.

ALA will have a place and a voice at the decision makers’ table, particularly for those in our communities with no voice. We will amplify their concerns to Congress, at the state house, in city councils, and school boards.  ALA will build coalitions with like-minded partners sharing our values. ALA will train our members to flourish throughout our careers, to serve and empower libraries, patrons, and communities. ALA will advance our concerns through actions conveyed by pillars of ALA’s Strategic Plan: Advocacy, Information Policies, Professional and Leadership Development, and Diversity and Inclusion. Together, we can bring change to impact public policy, benefit the communities we serve and our profession.

As a librarian and as a person of color, I am deeply concerned about the underrepresentation of persons of color in our Association. As ALA President, I will focus on pillars including Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). My Vision for the Association includes an ALA that will embed EDI values in our association’s programs and services which in turn will impact our profession at large, services provided by libraries, communities, and generations of diverse individuals across our nation.

Recruitment and retention are among my biggest concerns. I am committed to follow recommendations from ALA’s Task Force on EDI and expand marketing to include promotion of librarians which can greatly increase understanding and value of the profession. At the same time, we must work together to understand why individuals may join our profession and why they may leave.

I believe in supporting the Spectrum Program. I have been inspired to build on the work of this Program and the Office for Diversity to dedicate resources to increase fundraising to award more scholarships for individuals from different ethnic groups interested in obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions. These grants can be a tremendous help for individuals to complete their library school.

As ALA President, I will work together with all ALA’s ethnic affiliates, JCLC, ODLOS and the ALA EDI Implementation Working Group. They bring expertise needed to implement recommendations in the areas of recruitment and retention, promotion of librarianship, advocacy, continuing education, better salaries and work conditions and more opportunities to thrive in our careers and as leaders. Develop a strategy to ensure inclusion of more members from underrepresented groups in committees and association activities. Pursue increasing funding opportunities to support participation at ALA conferences. Explore ways to increase continuing education for ALA members in the areas of diverse groups and building connections between people who are not like themselves. I wholeheartedly believe that, Together, we can bring change!

More information about Loida and her Vision for ALA: http://loidaforalapresident.com/

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