Keith Michael Fiels named ALA's new Executive Director

Contact: John W. Berry, ALA President
708-366-0667
Liz Bishoff, ALA Treasurer
303-908-6736

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2002

Keith Michael Fiels named ALA's new Executive Director

American Library Association (ALA) President John W. Berry today announced the appointment of Keith Michael Fiels, 52, as ALA's new executive director, effective July 31, 2002.

"Mr. Fiels brings a wealth of experience in many library settings and a combination of attributes that are well-suited to managing ALA in the first years of the 21st century," commented Berry.

Fiels has over 15 years of senior level administrative experience in the state library arena, including his current position as the director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. He also has experience working in public and school libraries. Fiels has been a member of ALA since 1976, and is active in ALA committees and divisions, as well as various state library associations.

Fiels is the recipient of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) Leadership Achievement Award and the Library Public Relations Council Award. He was named to the ALA Association for Library Trustees and Advocates (ALTA) National Advocacy Honor Roll in 2000. Fiels is the current president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA). He holds a B.A. and an MLS from the State University of New York, Buffalo and did advanced studies at the University of Denver.

Fiels stated, "The prospect of serving as the executive director of the association is a lifelong dream. ALA has made great progress over the last five years as an advocate for libraries, for librarians and for an informed public. I look forward to working with a tremendous board, staff and membership to build on these successes and to work toward even stronger libraries and library services in our country and around the world. What we do as librarians is so important for our communities, our democracy and our future."

William R. Gordon, retiring executive director, will assist in the management transition through August 2002. Fiels will be introduced at the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta, June 13-19.

The ALA Executive Board and staff interviewed the finalists on April 11-12 at ALA headquarters in Chicago. "We were very fortunate to have two well-qualified finalists for this most important assignment. The ALA Executive Board thanks Ken Haycock, chair of the Search and Screening Committee, as well as all members of the committee for the excellent work and for completing the search in a timely and efficient manner. The board also thanks ALA staff for providing thoughtful input throughout the process," Berry said.

Fiels has signed a three-year contract. His first year salary is $183,000.

The ALA is the voice of America's libraries and the millions of people who depend on them. Its 64,000 members are primarily librarians, but also trustees, publishers and others who support the work of the association. The mission of the ALA is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.