For immediate release | May 5, 2014

PLA members elect Oehlke as president-elect; Huggins, Sass and Shorr to board

CHICAGO — Vailey Oehlke, director of the Multnomah County (Ore.) Library, has been elected the 2015-2016 President of the Public Library Association (PLA). Oehlke acknowledged, “I am truly honored to have been elected. I am passionate about the work PLA is doing on behalf of public libraries and am excited to engage our field in the conversations necessary to ensure libraries remain responsive and vital to our communities.”

Oehlke began her career at Multnomah in 1997 as a youth librarian and quickly rose from there. Since becoming director in 2009, she has been proud to lead the organization through three successful funding efforts, culminating in 2012 with the formation of a library district to provide stable funding for the cherished and well-used institution celebrating its 150th year of service.

In addition to her excellent work on behalf of her own library, Oehlke has consistently been dedicated to furthering the larger field of public libraries—serving on the PLA Board (July 2011 to June 2013) and the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board (current). Additionally, she serves on an advisory committee for an IMLS-grant project with the University of Albany's Center for Technology in Government, and has served on ALA's Digital Content Working Group. Locally, she serves on the Leadership Advisory Council for the Cradle to Career's Ready for Kindergarten Collaborative. Life beyond work includes family, a feisty terrier named Tucker, lots of running, hiking and general “outdoorsiness,” and time with friends.

Oehlke will become PLA president-elect at the conclusion of the American Library Association (ALA) 2014 Annual Conference this June and will assume the PLA presidency in June 2015 for one year.

Also on the ballot were the ALA Division Councilor and two Director-At-Large board vacancies; all three-year terms. PLA members elected Rivkah Sass, director, Sacramento (Calif.) Public as ALA Division Councilor. Sass will represent PLA on the ALA Council and keep PLA apprised of Council activity and decisions. Melanie Huggins, executive director, Richland Library, Columbia, S.C., and Manya Shorr, assistant director, Community Programs and Services, Omaha (Neb.) Public Library, were elected as directors-at-large to the PLA Board.

PLA thanks all the candidates who stood for election as well as all the members who voted. Their efforts to impact and enhance PLA are extremely valuable to the future of the organization.

For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or visit PLA is a division of the American Library Association. PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve. Its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services.


Amy Sargent

Marketing and Communications Manager