For immediate release | March 25, 2020

ALA announces 2020 Policy Corps members

The American Library Association (ALA) announced today the names of eight library and information professionals selected to participate in the 2020 ALA Policy Corps, which aims to develop a cadre of experts with deep and sustained knowledge of national public policies in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals.

Sara Benson, Copyright Librarian, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Library, IL

Sonya Durney, Research and Teaching Librarian, University of New England, ME

Sonnet Ireland, Branch Manager, St. Tammany Parish Library, LA

Amanda Kordeliski, School Librarian, Norman North High School, OK

Erin MacFarlane, Customer Experience Administrator, Maricopa County Library District, AZ

Nikki Scarpitti, Director, Strategic Initiatives & Advocacy, Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH

Valerie Tagoe, Media Specialist, Wilmer-Hutchins High School, TX

Timothy Vollmer, Scholarly Communication & Copyright Librarian, University of California Berkeley Library, CA

“ALA is proud to welcome our third cohort of Policy Corps members,” said ALA President Wanda Brown. “As the number of Policy Corps members grows, so does the power and strength of our overall network for library advocacy across all library types. As our libraries--and the nation--struggle to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis, we know our advocacy for libraries and our values will be even more critical in the months of economic shock and recovery that will certainly follow.”

The Corps’ goals include developing policy experts available to the library community and ALA, creating longevity in expertise and engagement in early to mid-career library and information professionals, and positively impacting national public policy priorities.

Launched by ALA Past President Jim Neal in October 2017 as an extension of the Libraries Transform; Libraries Lead campaign, the Corps is designed to build on other ALA professional development programs. The initiative is guided by an advisory group of ALA members and staff, which Neal co-chairs.

“I am grateful for the hard work--again--of our selection committee to bring forward this third Policy Corps class,” Neal said. “It is never an easy decision, and I look forward to working with the advisory group and Public Policy & Advocacy Office staff to continue to engage more people in our critical work related to advancing balanced copyright and fair use, broadband equity, privacy protections, intellectual freedom, and federal funding for all libraries.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting work and travel, Corps members will begin their orientation and training via virtual sessions in April. The typical first year of engagement includes two face-to-face residencies in Washington, D.C.; regular webinars and online meetings; participation in National Library Legislative Day; individual and small-group activities, including scenario planning, presenting on policy-related issues at state and national library conferences, and speaking on DC-based policy panels; and ongoing readings and networking.

More information is available at


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy