Wong shares her 37-year journey with the ALA and the association's ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion.
Last month, the College of Information Studies hosted Patricia (Patty) Wong, President of the American Library Association (ALA), as a featured speaker for the College’s ALA Lecture Series. The joint Lecture Series was established in 2019 to provide an additional platform for the ALA leadership to talk with researchers, educators, and practitioners of library science. The event held on April 27 was moderated by Joe Thompson, Director of Public Services for the Carroll County Public Library in Maryland. Dr. Keith Marzullo, Dean of the College of Information Studies, and Dr. Ursula Gorham, Faculty Director of the MLIS Program, provided opening remarks.
Throughout the lecture, Wong shared her extensive history of committee work, policy development, and advocacy for underrepresented groups in the fields of library and information science, and offered advice for incoming students interested in studying LIS and becoming more involved with their local library chapters and organizations.
Wong highlighted several of the ALA’s diversity, equity & inclusion initiatives, including the recent adoption of the DEI Scorecard for library and information organizations to evaluate their education, training, recruitment strategies, and the overall sustainability of the organization’s commitment to DEI practices, and the introduction of DEI as one of the latest metrics adopted into the accreditation review process by the end of the 2023 fiscal year. Wong announced the ALA will also be instituting the study of race in libraries and information technologies as part of the mission of the ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries.
“What that means for our students and our LIS programs is that for the first time we’re going to be looking at the standards, and seeing how we frame EDI purposefully, in the evaluation of our LIS programs through curriculum and faculty and student recruitment and retention,” Wong said.
Later this year, the ALA will be implementing a maximum three-year cycle for comprehensive DEI training for all ALA staff, and hiring its first ever Accessibility Officer, a role that Wong believes will be an invaluable resource for both internal staff and ALA members. Wong also announced a one year residency program that will also be adopted later this year to serve as a ALA workforce pipeline for early and mid-career professionals with interests in LIS or association management.
Wong is the first Asian American to serve as President of the ALA. An active ALA member for 37 years, Wong has served several terms as at-large councilor (1996–2007, 2012–2014) and as California Chapter councilor (2015–2017). Wong previously served as the Executive Board member from 2001-05. She has held numerous committee positions, including chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee. She is an active member of Association of Library Service to Children, Public Library Association, United for Libraries, Young Adult Library Services Association, the Social Responsibilities Round Table, Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, and the Rainbow Round Table. She is a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation and, as an ALA Executive Board member, has worked with the association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, Committee on Legislation and the Conference Committee.
You can watch the full ALA Lecture Series event below or on YouTube here.