American Library Association gears up for 2015 ALA election

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/04/2015


JoAnne Kempf

Director, Office of ALA Governance

Office of ALA Governance

CHICAGO — The American Library Association is gearing up for its upcoming election.

Polls will open at 9 a.m. Central time on March 24, 2015 for the American Library Association’s annual election.

For the seventh year in a row, the American Library Association is holding its election exclusively online.  On March 4 members began receiving notification by email confirming their eligibility to vote.  To be eligible to vote, individuals must be members in good standing as of Jan. 31, 2015.

When the polls open, the ALA will notify voters by e-mail, providing them with their unique passcodes and information about how to vote online. E-mails will be sent over a three-day period between March 24 – 26. 

The polls close on Friday, May 1 at 11:59 p.m. Central time.

On May 8, the Election Committee will meet at the ALA offices to certify the election.  Election results will be released following that meeting.

Although the election is being conducted online, there remains one exception. Members with disabilities and without Internet access may obtain a paper ballot by contacting ALA customer service at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5. Those without Internet access at home or work can easily access the election site by visiting their local public (or in many instances academic or school) library.

This year members are asked to vote for the next ALA president-elect and for 33 councilor-at-Large candidates to serve a three-year term (2015-2018).

 “Voting is one of the most important things you do as a member,” said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “The President represents all of us as members, whether doing hundreds of media interviews each year or helping to guide the association through financial opportunities and challenges. They are our spokespeople - and that of libraries around the country.”

Presidential Candidates

Joseph Janes, associate professor and chair of the MLIS program at the University of Washington Information School, James LaRue, CEO of LaRue & Associates, Castle Rock, Colorado, JP Porcaro, librarian for acquisitions and technological discovery at the New Jersey City University Guarini Library, Jersey City, New Jersey, and Julie Todaro, dean of library services at Austin (Texas) Community College, are the candidates for the 2016-17 presidency of the ALA.

Janes has been an ALA member since 1982.  He served on the ALA Committee on Accreditation (2007-11) as well as the ALA Office of Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee (1998-02).  He is an active member of the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), both divisions of the ALA.  He was the 2006 recipient of the Isadore Gilbert Mudge award, from RUSA, for distinguished contributions to reference work.

Janes was the founding director of the Internet Public Library (1995-98). He is a frequent presenter at national conferences, including ALA, the Canadian Library Association and Library of Congress, in addition to conferences in Europe, the UK, and Japan.  He provided expert plaintiff testimony in the 2001 Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) lawsuit (ALA vs. United States), and has been a columnist for American Libraries magazine since 2002.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a Masters of Library Science and a Ph.D. in Information Transfer, all from Syracuse University.

“Who would have guessed, when the teenaged me was working beside my mom on the reference desk at the Oneida Library, that one day I’d be running for ALA President?  Wow!” Janes said.  “I’ve had the great good fortune to help prepare people for their careers in librarianship for almost 30 years, and the privilege to write and speak and think about how what we do makes humanity more human.  I’ve met some extraordinary people and learned a great deal, and it would be an honor—and a lot of fun—to share widely the stories of this profession we all hold so dear, which makes people and communities better, and to help all of us to think creatively and critically about what comes next.”

Janes is the author of several books and articles, including Library 2020, Rowman & Littlefield, 2013, and Introduction to Reference Work in the Digital Age, Neal-Schuman, 2003. He co-authored, with Elisabeth Jones, “Anonymity in a World of Digital Books: Google Books, Privacy, and the Freedom to Read,” Policy & Internet, 2011, and wrote the entry on libraries for the 2014 World Book Year Book.  He is also the creator of the podcast series “Documents That Changed the World” available via iTunes.

LaRue has been an ALA member since 1994 and has served as a member of the ALA Digital Content Working Group from 2010-14.

Recently retired from the Douglas County (Colorado) Libraries, he has also held offices on the Bibliographic Center for Research Board of Trustees and the OCLC Membership Council and has served on numerous committees of the Colorado State Library and the Colorado Library Association, including a stint as its president (1998-99).

"This is a time of both extraordinary opportunity and extraordinary challenge,” said LaRue. “Librarians have a vital role to play, right now, at the birth of an unparalleled explosion of local, national, and international content creation. We are also urgently needed to help our communities thrive, and to promote literacy for the young, which itself solves many community problems before they begin. I am honored to have the opportunity to speak on behalf of our profession as a candidate for ALA President."

In 1998, LaRue was named Colorado Librarian of the Year and received the Colorado Library Association’s Julie J. Boucher Award for Intellectual Freedom in 2000 and again in 2007. Other honors include the John Cotton Dana Award for the Douglas County Libraries for the 2006 project “Page to Stage” and the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce’s 2003 Business Person of the Year.  Upon his retirement in January 2014, the Board of Trustees of the Douglas County Libraries renamed the former Highlands Ranch Library to the James H. LaRue Library.

He led the establishment of an independent public library district in Douglas County, Colorado, which went from the worst ranked public library in the state in 1990 to the top ranked library in the nation in 2006. For over 20 years he wrote a weekly newspaper column connecting the public library to the community and most recently has written an eContent blog (2011-14).

LaRue holds a Master of Science degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy and English from Illinois State University.

Porcaro has been an ALA member since 2004 and was the organizer and founding president of the ALA Games & Gaming Round Table (GameRT) (2010-12).  He served on the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) Executive Board (2012-13) and served as the NJLA chapter councilor on the ALA Council (2013-14).

Porcaro was an ALA Emerging Leader in 2010 and was named as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2012.  He is a founding member of the ALA Think Tank, social media’s largest space for librarians. He is also a member of the advisory board of the EveryLibrary political action committee, the social organizer for Urban Librarians Unite and an administrator for the Librarian Wardrobe blog. 

"Through their service – and with a spirit of empathy, enthusiasm, and joy – librarians make the world a better place. Bringing that message and energy to the highest level of the American Library Association will inspire positive change in libraries everywhere!" said Porcaro.

Porcaro is the author of several articles, including “The Pokémon Generation,” School Library Journal, May 2010; “Fostering Community Engagement from $500, Booklist Online, Nov. 2010; and “First Amendment Rights,” School Library Journal, Jan. 2011.  He holds an MLIS from Rutgers School of Communication and Information and a BA in philosophy from New Jersey City University.  

Todaro has been an ALA member since 1972.  Her activities – which focus on all types of libraries - include co-chair of President Barbara Stripling’s “Libraries From Now On” summit; co-chair of President Camilla Alire’s “Frontline Advocacy” initiative; member of President Nancy Kranich’s “Information Literacy Partnerships” initiative; member of President Mary Somerville’s “Kids Can’t Wait” initiative and lead authorship of Alire’s ACRL Presidential Initiative The Power of Persuasion. Todaro is the 2007-08 past-president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the 2000-01 Texas Library Association (TLA) past-president and 2012 chair of the Texas Council of Academic Librarians. She has been active in ALA Divisions and Roundtables, including ACRL, the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Library Information Round Table (LIRT). Todaro was the chair for Texas school library standards, public library development and transforming Texas libraries.

”My professional commitment has been to the communication of the role and value of libraries, librarians, library workers and library supporters,” said Todaro. “Although ‘role and value’ is typically an easy sell to our loyal constituents, our challenge has been and continues to be creating awareness, illustrating outcomes and proving worth to decision makers and funders. It would be an honor to serve ALA members and stakeholders to advance the vision and mission of libraries.”

Todaro received the TLA 1996 Librarian of the Year Award, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2005 Austin Business Journal Profiles in Power Award.

She is the author of Library Management for the Digital Age: A New Paradigm, Roman and Littlefield, 2014; Emergency Preparedness for Libraries, Government Institutes, 2009; co-authored Training Library Staff and Volunteers to Provide Extraordinary Customer Service, Neal-Schuman, 2006 and authored the columns “Truth is Out There” (LLAMA) and “Nothing but Net” (Community & Junior College Libraries.)

Todaro is the dean of library services for Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. She earned her DLS from Columbia University’s School of Library Service, a MLS from The University of Texas Graduate School of Library Science (including school librarian all-level certification) and her BS in English and History from The University of Texas.

Watch excerpts of the Presidential Candidates’ Forum that took place at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting. 

Biographical information about the Councilor-at-Large candidates, including a searchable Excel spreadsheet can be found on the ALA website.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 55,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

For more information on the election, call (800) 545-2433, ext. 5, or e-mail