2020 Public Library Association election results

For Immediate Release
Mon, 04/13/2020


Scott Allen

Deputy Director

Public Library Association

American Library Association


CHICAGO -- Today, the Public Library Association (PLA) announced the results of its 2020 Election. Voting was available from Mar. 9 through Apr. 1, and open to all PLA members in good standing.

The members elected Melanie Huggins, Executive Director of the Richland Library (Columbia, SC) to the office of 2021-2022 PLA president. Huggins will serve a three-year term beginning this June and including one-year stints as president-elect (2020-2021), president (2021-2022), and immediate past-president (2022-2023). 

“I’m honored to serve on the PLA board as president-elect and know that I’m joining a group of talented and committed professionals” said Huggins upon learning the outcome of the election. “Public Libraries are more important in times of crisis than most realize and we’ll be fundamental to the recovery of our communities. I’m proud to join the strong and steady leadership at PLA and will work to ensure our 10,000 members have the support and voice they deserve.”

Huggins has worked for the Richland Library since 2009, overseeing 11 renovations and new building projects include a joint-use, project-based learning high school paired with a 30,000 square foot library branch; and the renovation of 240,000 square feet of library space at the Main Library that includes artists’ studios, a theatre, film and media production labs, and a maker space. She is a recognized leader and speaker in the library profession, having held trustee positions with both the Urban Libraries Council and PLA. In 2012, she was named South Carolina Outstanding Librarian by the South Carolina Library Association. She is a Liberty Fellow, member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network; a member of the Spring 2018 class of Furman University’s Riley Diversity Leaders Institute; Chair of the TogetherSC Board; president of the University of South Carolina’s University Associates Board; and a Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice (MOREJustice) representative.

Also elected to the PLA Board, as directors-at-large, were Brandy A. McNeil, Associate Director, Tech Education at The New York (NY) Public Library and Dara Hanke Schmidt, Library Director at Cedar Rapids (IA) Public Library. Each will serve a three-year term beginning in June 2020. Stephanie Chase, Director of the Hillsboro (OR) Public Library was reelected as the ALA Division Councilor on the PLA Board and will serve a three-year term beginning in June 2020.

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. Special thanks to the 2020 Nominating Committee, chaired by Pam Sandlian-Smith of Anything (Colo) Libraries, producing an outstanding slate of candidates. 

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About the Public Library Association

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 10,000 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 pla@ala.org.