Meet the PLA Board

Meet Kelvin Watson, Director-at-Large

Kelvin Watson shows off some moves on the dance floorI started my career as an officer in the United States Army and then transitioned into the private sector as an executive with Ingram Library Services, Borders Group, and The Library Corporation (TLC). These positions fueled my passion for the field of library science and I joined the USDA National Agricultural Library and then the Queens Borough Public Library in Queens, NY, before becoming director of the Broward County (FL) Libraries Division. Throughout my career, I have remained active and involved in professional associations, have been a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences, been published in national library literature, and I have been recognized numerous times for my work. I am past president of Black Caucus of American Library Association and currently serve on the board of directors for Book Industry Study Group, in addition to the PLA Board.

Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board

Just as libraries serve their customers and the communities at large, as a librarian I feel called to serve our professional community. Joining the PLA Board provides me the opportunity to influence the national conversation on how to best increase access to the technological tools our society demands—both for our customers and the members of our profession. We must be fearless in leading the charge, looking forward and not just meeting needs but anticipating them.

My vision for the future of public libraries

Public libraries must continue to evolve methods of access and delivery that enhance the customer experience. A user’s experience is a journey, and public libraries must keep evolving to meet and exceed the customer’s expectation of a 21st century library. Today’s technology giants have created expectations of services that compel public libraries to provide more, better, and faster services and resources to stay relevant. The key to accomplishing that is understanding who our users are and what they want.

My favorite book

My favorite book (and play) is A Raisin in the Sun. It’s my favorite because of where the title comes from, the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes, which continues to speak to me. The poem relates to the lives of African Americans living in the U.S. and poses questions about the aspirations of a people and the consequences that might arise if their dreams and hopes don't come to fruition.

Somewhere I love to frequent in my community

As a relatively newcomer to South Florida (I moved here in February 2017), I love spending time with my family and friends exploring the area’s beaches and parks and attending the area’s many local festivals and events.

Photo: Kelvin Watson shows off some moves on the dance floor.