Meet Amita Lonial, Director-at-Large
I am currently the assistant library director for Tacoma (WA) Public Library. I’ve spent about ten years working in public libraries. Prior to becoming a librarian, I spent eight years in the non-profit sector organizing for racial and economic justice. I’m proud to have been named a 2016 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and to have co-chaired PLA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice.
In addition to being a librarian, I identify as queer, desi, femme, and fabulous. I am a parent and a partner. And I have a deep and requited love with karaoke.
Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board
I owe much of my growth and learning in the field to PLA. It’s an honor to give back to an organization that has nurtured me personally and professionally.
My vision for the future of public libraries
Libraries are seen as the place to go find a story, but I envision libraries as the place to go when you have a story to tell. I am hopeful that we will continue to push our institutional boundaries to reflect and shape culture, exerting our power to capture and uplift local, critical, and marginalized narratives.
My favorite book
A book I find myself going back to time and time again is Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. The themes of love, empathy, interdependence, and creating and sustaining community, are forever resonant and inspiring.
Somewhere I love to frequent in my community
I recently moved to the Pacific Northwest and Tacoma, Washington. I find myself falling in love with the region and the city every day. One of my favorite places to go is Alma Mater, a local arts, music and community center, just down the street from the main branch of the library. I love this space for their cute cocktails and creative energy.
Photo: Amita Lonial and her child enjoy some fun at a birthday party.