PLA members elect Thomas as president-elect; Brown Lawson and Millsap to board

For Immediate Release
Fri, 05/08/2015


Kara O'Keefe

Manager, Membership Marketing


CHICAGO — Felton Thomas, Jr., director of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL), has been elected the 2016-2017 president of the Public Library Association (PLA). Thomas acknowledged, "I am very honored to serve our public libraries, and humbled to have been elected PLA president-elect. Public libraries have transformed my life and I welcome the opportunity to work with so many folks at PLA, who continue to advance the transformation of public library service."

Prior to accepting the position of director of CPL, Thomas served as director of Regional Branch Services for the Las Vegas-Clark County (Nevada) Library District and president of the Nevada Library Association. He has served on PLA's Board of Directors since 2012 and standing committees since 2006, including PLA’s 2007 National Conference Program Committee and the 2010 Annual Conference Program Coordinating Committee. Most recently, he served as chair of the 2013 Demco New Leaders Travel Grant Jury, and continues to serve on the ALA Chapter Relations Committee.

In 2013, Thomas was named to the Aspen Institute's Task Force on Learning and the Internet. Additional awards and accomplishments include being named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal, and acting as a fellow in the Urban Library Council’s Executive Leadership Institute. Thomas lives in Shaker Heights with his wife and two daughters, is an accomplished musician, and has become a devoted Cleveland sports fan since his arrival on the shores of Lake Erie.

Thomas will become PLA president-elect at the conclusion of the American Library Association (ALA) 2015 Annual Conference this June and will assume the PLA presidency in June 2016 for one year.

Also on the ballot were two director-at-large board vacancies; both three-year terms. PLA members elected Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, executive director, Houston Public Library, and Gina Millsap, chief executive officer, Topeka & Shawnee (Kansas) County 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 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.

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