CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Nominating Committee has selected two nominees to run for ALA president in the upcoming election. The candidates running for the 2025-26 term are Sam Helmick, Community & Access Services Coordinator at Iowa City Public Library, and Raymond Pun, Academic and Research Librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education in California.
Helmick is a current member of the ALA Executive Board and president of the Iowa Library Association. They previously served as chair-elect on the Freedom to Read Foundation and chair of the Iowa Governor's Commission of Libraries. They have served on committees for the Network of the National Library of Medicine, the Stonewall Book Awards, the ALA Policy Monitoring Committee, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Michael L. Printz Committee, on the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Sophie Brody Award Committee and on the YALSA Fundraising Task Force. Helmick is a 2017 Emerging Leader as well as an author, consultant, and instructor for social media marketing and graphic design.
Helmick holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Iowa Wesleyan University and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.
"Libraries are cornerstones of knowledge, equity, and community. Every day, library workers and those we serve breathe life into opportunity and civil engagement. As a lifelong exponent of literacy and a staunch believer in the transformative power of our work, it is an honor to run for the presidency of the American Library Association and to leverage this opportunity to connect, celebrate, and advocate libraries," said Helmick. "Together, let's chart a course for an ALA that champions innovation, embraces diversity and ensures that libraries remain vibrant hubs of inspiration and inclusivity. Join me in shaping a future where every voice is heard, every story is celebrated, and every library is a beacon of enlightenment. Together, we will write the next chapter of the American Library Association's legacy."
Pun currently serves as the immediate past president of the Chinese American Librarians Association and was past president of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. Pun previously served on the ALA Council, ALA Policy Corps, and as a member of the advisory committees for two ALA past presidents. Pun is a member of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Pun is a member of the California Library Association (CLA) Advocacy and Legislation Committee, the Library Freedom Project (LFP), and other ALA affiliates including the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Black Caucus of ALA (BCALA), the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. Pun is also a member of the International Relations Round Table (IRRT) and the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). In addition to librarianship, Pun is a member of the Committee of 100's Next Generation Leaders program and a speaker for The Weave Speakers Bureau.
Pun holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California State University, Fresno; a Master of Library Science from CUNY Queen College; a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in History from St. John's University in New York.
"For almost 150 years, ALA has been recognized as the world's first and largest library association, but ALA has not been without its flaws, including its exclusionary history, particularly regarding underrepresented groups. As a dedicated library worker, an experienced association leader, and a teacher educator, I am honored to stand as a candidate for ALA President-elect," said Pun. "From book challenges to artificial intelligence to job burnout, we are witnessing increasing challenges impacting ALA, library workers, libraries, and our communities today. I believe inclusive leadership centers on compassion and collaboration, and with these guiding values, I strive to champion ALA as an evolving model of organizational excellence in advocacy efforts and global engagement and lead ALA in collective response to these issues in our profession and beyond."
Helmick and Pun will engage in a virtual candidates' forum on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. CT. Each candidate will have the opportunity to share a statement and answer questions from members. ALA members can register for the forum here. Immediately following, ALA members will have the opportunity to virtually meet and greet each candidate.
Individuals interested in running by petition for President-Elect may complete a petition form with the signatures of no fewer than 200 ALA current personal members. Here are instructions for creating an e-petition by December 31, 2023. Once the petition process is completed, petition candidates and nominated candidates are treated exactly the same. They are not differentiated on the ballot because they are on equal footing and are all viable candidates for these positions.
Ballot mailing for the election will begin Monday, March 11, 2024, and will run through Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Individuals must be members in good standing to vote in the 2024 ALA elections. Individuals can activate their membership by going online or by calling 1-800-545-2433, option 1. For more information, visit the ALA Election webpage.
ABOUT AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
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, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.
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