Neal announces candidacy for 2017-18 ALA presidency

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/29/2015


JoAnne Kempf

Director, Office of ALA Governance

Office of ALA Governance

CHICAGO – James G. (Jim) Neal, university librarian emeritus at Columbia University, New York, has filed as a petition candidate for the 2017-18 presidency of the American Library Association.

Neal served as the vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia from 2001-14. He holds an MSLS and an MA in history from Columbia and a BA in Russian studies from Rutgers University. He also holds a certificate in advanced librarianship from Columbia.

An ALA member since 1976, Neal has held numerous leadership positions throughout ALA and its divisions. He is currently completing his second term on the ALA executive board as an at-large member and served as the 2010-13 ALA treasurer. He has also served as a member-at-large on ALA council, 1994-2001. His ALA committee service includes the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), Endowment Trustees and various others. Neal’s division experience includes serving as president of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) 1992-93, as well as multiple committees within the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL), including chair of the 2017 national conference in Baltimore.

Neal is currently a member of the board of trustees of the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) and has also served on the board and as president of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). He has chaired the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and is the current treasurer of the Freedom to Read Foundation as well as the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). He is also an active member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).

In 1997 ACRL named Neal the Academic Librarian of the Year and he was the 2007 recipient of ALA’s Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award and the 2009 ALA Melvil Dewey Medal Award. The University of Alberta presented Neal with the honorary doctor of laws degree in 2010. In 2015 he received the ALA Joseph W. Lippincott Award for “distinguished service to the profession of librarianship,” and was added to the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor also in 2015.

Neal is a frequent speaker, consultant and published author in areas such as scholarly communication, intellectual property, digital libraries and library cooperation.

“Libraries and library workers are fundamental to the vitality and success of communities, schools, colleges and organizations of all types,” said Neal. “Access to information, supportive services and information policies in the public interest are the key ingredients. ALA is spearheading the charge through advocacy and education. I will bring strong leadership and extensive professional experience to the ALA presidency.”

Neal will join presidential candidates Christine Lind Hage, Sara Laughlin and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, along with treasurer candidates Patricia (Patty) Wong and Susan Hildreth, in a candidates’ forum from 4:30 - 5:30 pm on Saturday, Jan. 9, during the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston. The candidates will each have an opportunity to make a statement and will answer questions from the audience as time permits.

Ballot mailing for the 2016 ALA election will begin on March 15, 2016 and will run through April 22, 2016. Individuals must be members in good standing as of Jan. 31, 2016 in order to vote in the ALA election.