ALA welcomes long-awaited nominees and library supporters Rosenworcel (FCC Chair), Sohn (FCC Commissioner) and Davidson (NTIA Administrator)

For Immediate Release
Tue, 10/26/2021


Shawnda Hines

Assistant Director, Communications

Public Policy & Advocacy

American Library Association

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) praised White House nominees to lead the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Gigi Sohn. In addition, the administration designated Rosenworcel as Chair and announced Alan Davidson would head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). 

“The American Library Association (ALA) congratulates Jessica Rosenworcel, Gigi Sohn and Alan Davidson on their appointments,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “The administration has chosen strong leaders who are committed to advancing digital equity and inclusion for all through libraries. All three have publicly recognized libraries’ role in connecting the nation, especially households without affordable access to broadband or the skills to use it effectively.

“ALA representatives in Washington and ALA member groups have met with these leaders, who respectively have worked on regulations that improved libraries’ ability to obtain broadband funding. ALA looks forward to continue engaging with them on the new programs and funding from COVID recovery legislation and forthcoming bills, as well as larger policy issues related to telecommunications.”

The FCC oversees federal policy and programs related to telecommunications, including funding for the E-rate program as well as new programs designed to close the digital divide. Rosenworcel, the first woman to chair the FCC, praised libraries’ role in bridging learning gaps during the pandemic. In a video urging libraries to apply for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, Rosenworcel said, “During this pandemic, libraries have been the lifeblood of communities all across this country. Libraries and their teams have worked to provide so many services to so many who are in need.”

Sohn, a relentless advocate for net neutrality, has spoken at several ALA conferences and events over the past decade, including a 2018 post-election panel to help libraries prepare for the 116th Congress. ALA has worked with her since she served as CEO of longtime ALA coalition partner Public Knowledge, an advocacy organization on telecommunications policy in the public interest.

Davidson, also a strong advocate for the public interest, will lead an agency slated to manage tens of billions of dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. He has worked to enable opportunities for libraries in his past tenures and has met with ALA’s technology policy committee.

The nominations require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.