For immediate release | April 29, 2016

PLA members elect Sandlian Smith as president-elect; Kong and Strobel to board

PLA members elect Sandlian Smith as president-elect; Kong and Strobel to board

CHICAGO —Pam Sandlian Smith, director of Anythink Libraries in Adams County (Colorado), has been elected the 2017-2018 President of the Public Library Association (PLA). Sandlian Smith acknowledged, "I am humbled and honored to serve as PLA President Elect. Public libraries are at the heart of our communities and continue to be cornerstones of our democracy. I look forward to working on behalf of our libraries over the next years."

Through Sandlian Smith’s leadership at Anythink, the public library system went from being the worst funded system in the state of Colorado to one of the most recognized library brands nationwide by creating an entirely new service model. Working with a collaborative team of library thought leaders, Anythink reinvented itself as a library focused on participatory learning, community engagement and shifting perceptions of the role of libraries.

Anythink was awarded the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the 2011 John Cotton Dana Award for Outstanding Public Relations, 2011 Library Journal Landmark Libraries award, and is a grantee of the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation learning labs project. Sandlian Smith was the 2010 Colorado Librarian of the Year and the recipient of the 2012 Charlie Robinson Award for innovation and risk taking. She has also been honored for her work in library technology innovation and early literacy projects.

Through her speaking and writing, Sandlian Smith stimulates discussions on innovation, creativity and participation in libraries worldwide. Previously, she was the director of the West Palm Beach (Florida) Public Library and the manager of Children’s Services at the Denver (Colorado) Public Library. She is a member of the working group for the Aspen Dialogue on Public Libraries. She enjoys traveling, hiking, baking pies, walking her Great Pyrenees—Buddy Einstein Doodle—and inventing libraries that help people fall in love with learning.

Sandlian Smith will become PLA president-elect at the conclusion of the American Library Association (ALA) 2016 Annual Conference this June and will assume the PLA presidency in June 2017 for one year.

Also on the ballot were two Director-At-Large board vacancies; both three-year terms. PLA members elected Richard Kong, deputy director, Skokie (Illinois) Public Library and Tracy Strobel, deputy director, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library.

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.

The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.

For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or


Kara O'Keefe

Manager, Membership Marketing