Cordes Lakes Library’s service to rural communities captures interest of nation’s library leaders

For Immediate Release
Tue, 08/04/2020


Shawnda Hines

ALA Media Relations

Communications & Marketing / Public Policy & Advocacy

CHICAGO – On Wednesday, August 5, at  3 p.m. CT, American Library Association (ALA) President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., will virtually visit Cordes Lakes (Ariz.) Public Library in Yavapai County, where he will discuss Arizona libraries’ unique role in supporting education and lifelong learning within their rural surroundings. 

The visit will feature a roundtable discussion themed “From Interior to Border: Libraries Reaching Rural Communities.”  This discussion will include a variety of voices from Arizona’s library community as well as elected officials. Topics will focus on how libraries are serving specific populations, keeping residents connected, cultivating community relationships and the expansion of the Cordes Lakes Public Library building. 

“Cordes Lakes (Ariz.) Public Library is improving lives every day, providing internet access to underserved communities, helping people find jobs and build careers, empowering students as they develop literacy skills that will lead to lifelong learning,” said Jefferson. “Many of these successes take place in the shadows. Their stories need to be told, their professional organization and local community need to listen, and their elected leaders need to support them.”

The visit is one of the stops on Jefferson Jr.’s 12-stop virtual tour, Holding Space: A national conversation series with libraries, to spotlight how libraries of all kinds across the country are addressing the needs of their diverse communities and engaging stakeholders to advocate for libraries.

Joining Jefferson are:  

  • State Senator Lisa Otondo
  • Thomas Thurman, Yavapai County Supervisor 
  • Holly Henley, State Librarian
  • Corey Christians, Director, Yavapai County Free Library District
  • John Walsh, Director of Library Services, Cochise College and President, Arizona Library Association
  • Erin McFarlane, Advocacy Chair, Arizona Library Association
  • Jessica Rainbow, Lobbyist, Arizona Library Association
  • Amadee Ricketts, Director, Cochise County Public Library District
  • Amber Mathewson, Director, Pima County Public Library District
  • Ofelia “Liz” Zepeda, Library Director, O’ohana Ki: Tohono O’odham College Library 
  • Marla Price, Library Assistant, Navajo Technical University 
  • Nicole Umayam, Digital Inclusion Library Consultant, Arizona State Library

“We have been so excited about Julius Jefferson's Virtual Tour visit,” said John Walsh, Director of Library Services, Cochise College and President, Arizona Library Association. “I don't believe we have ever had a visit from the ALA president, and we appreciate his consideration in giving AzLA a voice in the national picture.”

Each Holding Space community discussion will explore local and national solutions to local and national issues and feature deep dives into an area of library service, including workforce development programs, children and family services, outreach to rural residents, and broadband for Tribal communities.

Jefferson will also invite tour participants to join ALA advocates, who are currently supporting the Library Stabilization Fund Act to provide federal resources to libraries during the COVID pandemic.

For more information on tour stops and how to join, visit

o speak with ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., or other library leaders/advocates, contact:

  • Shawnda Hines, assistant director, communications, ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, at (202) 628-8410 ext. 8208 or
  • Steve Zalusky, Communications Specialist, ALA Communications and Marketing Office, at (312) 280-1546 or 

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit