Meet the PLA Board

Meet Felton Thomas, Jr., Past-President

Coach Felton Thomas, Jr. (center) with his 2015 Leadership Academy teamI was appointed director of the Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library (CPL) in January 2009. Prior to accepting the position of director of CPL, I served as director of regional branch services for the Las Vegas-Clark (Nev.) Library District and President of the Nevada Library Association. I served on PLA standing committees since 2006, including PLA’s 2007 National Conference Program Committee and the 2010 Annual Conference Program Coordinating Committee. I have served on the PLA Board of Directors since 2012, and most recently was named to the Aspen Institute’s Task Force on Learning and the Internet in 2014. My awards and accomplishments include being named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal, and acting as a fellow and sponsor in the Urban Library Council’s Executive Leadership institute. I live in Shaker Heights with my wife and two daughters, am an accomplished musician, and have become a devoted Cleveland sports fan.

Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board

I sincerely believe that public libraries can be transformational to the lives of the public we serve and have dedicated my life to this purpose. PLA is the premier organization for the transformation of public library service, and I wanted to serve on the PLA board so I could be a part of this mission.

My vision for the future of public libraries

At the Cleveland Public Library, we strive every day to be the People’s University. The place where everyone can dream, create, and grow. Public libraries are tools for transformation and every day I see the results of how our library is helping to transform lives. PLA is the premier organization for the transformation of public library services, and its continued success is vital to the progression of public library services in the future. I see PLA working to re-envision the work of public libraries.

My favorite book

I read Catcher in the Rye as a teenager and it resonated with me like no other book had up to that point. I read it once a year just to reconnect with that version of myself.

Somewhere I love to frequent in my community

I love Cleveland and its many sports teams. While these teams don’t tend to win, it is still unbelievable to have professional a baseball, basketball, and football team to root for.

Photo: Coach Felton (center) with his 2015 Leadership Academy team.