2011 PLA Virtual Spring Symposium

2011 PLA Virtual Spring Symposium logo

The Sustainable Library

Closing Session

  • 5:00–6:00 PM EDT
  • 4:00–5:00 PM CDT
  • 3:00–4:00 PM MDT
  • 2:00–3:00 PM PDT

How do libraries sustain service in the face of declining budgets, increased demand, and a proliferation of alternatives? Joan Frye Williams and George Needham will lead you through a set of questions that you can use to test the sustainability of both existing and proposed programs and services. These questions get to the existential questions that public libraries are facing today. George and Joan will also discuss ways to innovate new, sustainable approaches to providing the best service possible, all leavened with their trademark humor.


Living proof that recruitment can't start too young, Joan Frye Williams and George Needham each worked in their teens as public library pages. Since then they've spent a combined 70+ years tackling a variety of library jobs, doing everything from testifying at Senate hearings to emptying the book drop. (Guess which one of those was more fun!)

In 2005 they began co-presenting about library trends and topics, and that collaboration has grown into a consulting venture, georgeandjoan.com. Now they're doing everything they can to help libraries ensure a successful future. 

George's credits include a number of high profile management posts, including State Librarian of Michigan, executive director of the Public Library Association, director of member services of the Ohio Library Association, and library director of Fairfield County (Ohio) District Library. He is also part of the executive team at OCLC, a nonprofit library service and research organization and the world's largest library consortium.

Joan has worked as a successful librarian, consultant, vendor, designer, trainer, and evaluator of library services. She is an internationally recognized library futurist, with a special emphasis on innovation and emerging library trends.