For immediate release | August 28, 2018

Jefferson, Werner seek 2020-21 ALA presidency

CHICAGO – Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., Section Head, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, and Lance Werner, Executive Director, Kent District Library, Comstock Park, Mich., are the candidates for the 2020-21 presidency of the American Library Association (ALA).


An active member of ALA for 15 years, Jefferson currently serves on and has been a member of the ALA Council since 2011, and most recently completed a 3-year term on the ALA Executive Board (2015-18). He has also served on a number of critical committees, including the Finance and Audit Committee (2017-18), the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (2014-18), the Intellectual Freedom Committee (2010-14) serving as the 2010-11 chair, and is currently chair of the Chapter Relations Committee, as well as on numerous other committees and task forces of the association.

Jefferson is an active member of a number of ALA-affiliated entities, including the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA), the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table (which will become part of the Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA) effective Sept. 1), International Relations Round Table, the Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA) and the Asian/Pacific Librarians Association (APALA).

In addition to his service to the American Library Association, Jefferson has held a seat on the board of the Freedom to Read Foundation (2012-16) serving as the 2013-16 president; served as president of the DC Library Association (2015); and served on the board of the BCALA (2007-09). He is the recipient of several awards, including BCALA Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Award (2013), BCALA Appreciation Award (2010), and Congressional Research Service Special Achievement Award (2010).

An often called upon authority/speaker on issues of importance to library workers, Jefferson has appeared on a number of media outlets, including National Public Radio. He is co- editor of The 21st-Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges and is often sought as a speaker on library-related issues such as diversity, leadership and professional development.

“It is an honor to stand as a candidate for ALA President,” said Jefferson. “I look forward to being a champion for library workers who should be recognized and celebrated for the value they bring to the communities they serve. I am also enthusiastic about advocating for a healthy library economy, creating strong financial support for libraries. The significance of ALA is the instrumental role our members perform in our communities. As ALA President I will seek to ensure that all voices are valued so together we can transform lives.”

Jefferson holds a BA in History from Howard University and an MLS from the University of Maryland.


Werner has also been an ALA member for 10 years and is an active member of the Public Library Association (PLA) and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) and is a member of the new ALA Policy Corps.

Werner has held numerous positions in the Michigan library community, including chairing the Michigan Library Association Legislative Committee (2015-16), serving as president of the Lakeland Library Cooperative (2015-16), and president of the Michigan Library Association (2012-13). He is currently a Fellow at the Michigan Political Leadership Program and serves on the Advisory Board of the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science Advisory Board (2015-present).

Werner has received various awards and honors, including: Library Journal Librarian of the Year (2018), Michigan Library Association Librarian of the Year (2017), Joey Rodger Leadership Award from the Urban Libraries Council (2017), Wayne State University Distinguished Alumni Award (2017). He has received special tributes from the Michigan Secretary of State (2018), Michigan Legislature (2017) and was named a Wayne State University Rising Star (2017), Library Journal Mover & Shaker Change Agent (2016) and received the Capital Area Michigan Works New Kid on the Block Award (2010).

“The world is rapidly changing, making this an exciting time to help libraries because their role has never been more important than it is now,” says Werner. “While technology and politics attract a lot of attention, I believe that people and relationships are the core of libraries. Working with people at all levels of academic, public and special services libraries is very rewarding to me because of our common goal to transform lives. Additionally, I’ve become involved with advocacy for libraries in Washington DC because it’s important to engage stakeholders at all levels. I find that it’s best to engage stakeholders in ways that enable them to become part of the solution. This creates win/win situations for everyone.”

Werner holds an MLIS from Wayne State University as well as a Juris Doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law.

Jefferson and Werner will engage in a candidates’ forum from 4:30 - 5:30 pm on Saturday, January 26, during the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. The candidates will each have an opportunity to make a statement and will answer questions from the audience.

Ballot mailing for the 2019 ALA election will begin on March 11, 2019 and will run through April 3, 2019. Individuals must be members in good standing as of January 31, 2019 in order to vote in the 2019 ALA election. Renew your membership online or by calling 1-800-545-2433, option 5.


Joanne Kempf


American Library Association, Office of ALA Governance