2023 WLA Candidate Statements

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Board Candidate Statements | Division Candidate Statements | Section Candidate Statements

Candidates for WLA Leadership Positions were asked to answer four questions for their candidate statement:

  • What skills and experience would you bring to the position you are seeking?
  • What past involvement have you had with WLA?
  • Where would you like to see WLA and the Division/Section in the future, and what would you do to move it toward that vision?
  • WLA is committed to promoting EDI (equity, diversity, and inclusion) within the library profession, our association, and our communities. How do you see yourself upholding these values as a leader?

Voting is open to WLA Members Oct. 5-26. Please review all candidates statements in their entirety before casting your votes.

Thank you to all of the 2023 WLA Elections Candidates!


Board Candidate Statements

Vice President/President-Elect

Headshot of Sarah LoganSarah Logan

I have served as Teacher-Librarian at Dorothy Fox Elementary School in Camas, WA since August 2015.  My time at DFE has been focused on updating a very poorly-managed collection, finding funds to improve the collection, and creating an environment and curriculum that meets the needs of all students.  Prior to that, I was the Teacher-Librarian at Lynbrook High School in Cupertino, CA.  While attending San Jose State University’s iSchool program to earn an MLIS, I became an active advocate for our public library system, which had hours cut due to city budget issues.   I am organized, reliable, and take an active role in library advocacy both locally and at the state level.

I served as the School Library Division Chair in 2021, and then joined WLA’s Board of Directors representing the School Library Division in 2022.  During the 2021-22 school year, I coordinated  WLA School Library Division's mentor program. I also represent the WLA Board on the Advocacy Committee, and am currently very involved in the #K12Librarians4AllWA campaign.  

I would like to see WLA increase the profile and professionalism of libraries and library workers in Washington.  One step toward this goal is to reorganize our website as an advocacy and recruitment tool, placing the focus on how WLA and our members are moving librarianship forward in Washington.  We should actively define best practice for our profession in the state, and our website should clearly communicate those practices to the public.  Another step is to leverage our existing programs, like WLA Awards, to bring positive attention to the library community.  Finally, I hope to continue creating connections across divisions and sections, allowing opportunities for partnerships.

Equity and diversity in school librarianship is a passion of mine.  Currently, there is no equity in Washington’s school libraries because individual school district boards are free to decide whether or not to implement school library programs.  We know that students impacted by poverty are least likely to be served by Teacher-Librarians, even though research shows that the most impactful way to close reading gaps in students experiencing poverty is providing access to a quality school library collection.  Every child and teacher in Washington public schools deserves to be served by a certified Teacher Librarian in school libraries with adequate funding to maintain current, robust, diverse collections.  This is why the Advocacy Committee and School Library Division have started #K12Librarians4AllWA campaign.  Although we will not realize true equity in school libraries overnight, we are taking steps to create equity in school library programs in Washington.  

During my time as School Library Division Chair, the ScLD began a BIPOC WLA School Library Division member scholarship program to welcome and increase access to WLA membership for those historically excluded from the profession.  I would like to see this program expanded to include membership in any division.  


Board Director, Academic Library Division/ACRL-WA Representative

The WLA Board will require a voting Board Director, Academic Library Division/ACRL-WA Representative for a two-year term (January 2023-December 2025).

If you are interested in this running for this position, please reach out to the WLA Office at [email protected] or (206) 823-1138.


Board Director, Special Library Division Representative

Headshot of Judy PitchfordJudy Pitchford

38 years ago, I began my library career as an elementary school librarian in Virginia. I moved to Washington in 1997 and began my tenure with Washington State Library in 1998. I worked first in the prison branch libraries, then Digital Collections and, eventually, to my current position as the Central Library Operations Coordinator, where I oversee the day-to-day operations of Public Services and Acquisitions. Though these types of librarianship are quite different, they have helped build my knowledge of the varied array of libraries and their diverse needs.

My past involvement with WLA has been serving as Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair of the Special Libraries Division.

I would like to see WLA build even more on continuing education opportunities that meet the vast and varied needs of all of our library communities, especially the Special Libraries where we have fewer members. Targeting their needs would help build that membership.

Having spent much of my career working with marginalized populations and as a mother of children who identify as LGBTQ, EDI is very important to me. As a leader, I do my best to be aware of my unconscious bias and communicate to staff the need to be aware of theirs so that we all can better work with and help others.



Headshot of Muriel WheatleyMuriel Wheatley

Hello! My name is Muriel Wheatley and I am your current WLA Board Treasurer for 2021/2022. I have learned so much during my two years on the WLA Board, and I would be honored to continue serving the WLA membership for this next term.

I graduated with my MLIS from the University of Washington in 2016 and have been working as a supervisor in the Timberland Regional Library system for over 5 years. I served as Board Treasurer for the Centralia Downtown Association (CDA), a Main Street 501(c)(3) non-profit, between 2018-2022. During my time as treasurer I took steps to streamline the financial side of the organization, including transitioning accounting to QuickBooks Online and automated payroll/tax filings. During the COVID-19 closures I helped the CDA secure funding through the Paycheck Protection Program, and have worked with the board on a successful proposal for CARES Act funding through our city council.

I’ve been a member of WLA since 2020, and was elected to the WLA Board Treasurer position in Fall 2020. I chair the WLA Financial Committee and have worked with WLA on 2022 transition to 501(c)(3) non-profit status. I was selected to present at the 2020 WLA conference and gave a presentation on the importance of centering diversity and quality when selecting books for display.

Our transition to a 501(c)(3) non-profit opens the door for more fundraising efforts. Donations to WLA are now tax deductible, which provide incentive to those looking to support our organization. I would like to see WLA explore how we can best benefit from our new 501(c)(3) status, and I would work with the Finance Committee to make sure that our policies and discussions align with that goal.

I’d like to see the WLA continue its focus on EDI, making virtual professional development opportunities available to our libraries and modeling best practices for accessibility and inclusion in our conferences, social media, websites, and more. I would use my efforts and my board vote to support WLA in legislative advocacy efforts, as well as letters of support for libraries in our state that are experiencing book challenges and discriminatory policies.


Student Representative to the Board

Headshot of Tien TriggsTien Triggs

I am a first-year student in the SUNY Buffalo Information Sciences program and will be applying for admission to the school's dual degree MS/JD program after this semester. I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for both fields and hope to leverage my degrees into greater community advocacy and partnerships through libraries. I recognize that I'm just at the beginning of this journey, but my experience with working with different teams and on different library projects at both the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library and the Washington State Library have prepared me to be a productive, contributing member of WLA. I'm also highly organized, creative, and motivated. (And fun, I hope!)

I have been a member since 2017 but have not yet been actively involved with WLA. If elected, this would be my first active role.

I would like to see WLA Sections highlighted more regularly. Perhaps more scheduled collaborations between Sections would give members a better perspective of how they work together. For example, CLAWS and LISS could do a short, themed PSA regularly or host a Q&A for students. I hope that I will have the opportunity to learn more in order to do more, especially to get other members more engaged and involved.

One of my goals in my MS/JD program is to address representation and inclusion, both within the library profession and for the larger community. I currently have the opportunity to research the issues specific to Washington in the classes that I am taking, focusing my first semester library work on Indigenous knowledge and knowledge systems, users experiencing barriers to library service, and immigrants/refugees in Washington state. EDI is an ongoing process of education and service, one that cannot be addressed solely through an annual webinar or a single session at a conference. It requires continuous appraisal and revision as our understanding and compassion increase, and I hope that I can be part of creating real opportunities for work with marginalized and underserved communities in Washington. I know that many would be interested in doing more but may not know how to critically engage in promoting EDI. And I would hope that my perspective as a woman of color and a daughter of immigrants would be a needed voice in this conversation.


Division Candidate Statements


Academic Library Division/ACRL-WA Member-At-Large

Headshot of Greg BemGreg Bem

My wide range of interests in academic librarianship, my ongoing involvement on the Library Leadership Council, and my current role on ALD/ACRL-WA have prepared me for another year in this role.

I have one year of ALD/ACRL-WA member-at-large experience behind me, and would love to continue contributing. I've also helped significantly with CLAWS over the past years.

I believe that the work we've done thus far has been compelling and needs to be sustained. As with every division and section, continued involvement and interest from membership, and growth in membership, is one of my priorities.

We already do EDI audits on a quarterly basis and I think these need to continue. I would like our events programming and conference planning to continue to be evolved by centering EDI. I personally want to advocate for groups and issues that have fallen to the wayside or have historically been left out of academic librarianship.


Academic Library Division/ACRL-WA Student Representative

Headshot of Lauren SavageLauren Savage

I'm new to librarianship and the WLA, but I am not new to teamwork. I've earned a graduate certificate in Project Management and have familiarity with planning and working with a group toward goals. Additionally, I have administrative experience as a Staff Analyst. In this role, I coordinated meetings, gave presentations, wrote for the organization newsletter, and designed employee handbooks and training.

I don't have much WLA experience so far — I joined this past summer at the same time I became a MLIS student.

I'd like to see membership expanded to more information professionals and MLIS students in our state. Each of us can help with this by sharing WLA accomplishments and advertising our conferences within our own social circles and beyond by way of social media. Whenever you meet someone new-to-you in our field, I'd encourage you to ask if they are currently a WLA member.

Having valued EDI before it was even referred to as EDI, this is something inherent to my way of thinking and approaching daily life. As a white female in America, I knew I was born with a certain semblance of privilege based on my skin color. It was hard for others to see my empathy on the outside, so I made sure I had firsthand experience truly being in the minority. After receiving my undergraduate degree and TESOL certificate, I began work as an English language instructor in Japan which was a truly humbling experience. Now, married to a man of Asian descent and mother to two children of mixed heritage, I'm more aware than ever of the challenges and imbalances in our society today. I remain committed to ensuring representation in all facets of my community, both in-person and online.

Academic Library Division/ACRL-WA Positions

If you're interested in running for one of the following Academic Library Division/ACRL-WA positions, please contact [email protected].

Public Library Division - Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Headshot of Jannah MinnixJannah Minnix

I have been working professionally in public libraries since 2014, and volunteering since I was a teen. My experience spans from a rural county library system in northern California to city and 2-county library systems in the greater Seattle area. I’ve been in roles where I was a one-stop shop for marketing, collection development, outreach, programming, and the desk, and my current role where I focus on outreach wherever the community needs it. I started as a page and spent time in each role before landing in my current spot as librarian, and recognize that it takes all positions to make a library run smoothly. I have worked in libraries amid “good times” as well as during crisis from natural disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic, and am committed to offering support to other library workers wherever they are and regardless of what they’re going through. I hope that, as vice-chair/chair-elect of PLD, I can support the continuation of progress for public libraries into better times – or at least help you remember you’re not alone, and that we’re all going through things together.

I served as vice-chair (last year) and chair (this year) of Public Library Division from 2021-2022. With last year's team, we rewrote PLD's guiding statements and redid parts of our website. We hosted quarterly check-ins to see how public library staff were adapting to the ever-changing pandemic guidelines as libraries across the state reopened their doors to the public. We also sent out a survey towards the beginning of the year in hopes of checking the pulse of what PLD members were hoping to get out of their membership. During the virtual WLA conference, we hosted an unconference and late-night PLD social session.

In 2022, we continued to do quarterly check-in meetings and hosted a really wonderful well-attended unconference at WLA Annual conference. In the second half of the year, we started some monthly information sessions and roundtables focusing on topics such as services available to the public statewide (Washington Talking Book and Braille Library and Northwest Reading Rooms/historical collections), equity, diversity, and inclusion, and rural libraries with a final general check-in to wrap up the year.

In the survey we conducted last year, there was interest expressed in networking, a way to share information, and training and continuing education.

For networking and sharing information, I definitely want to continue offering check-in sessions for members, as there have been some really excellent discussions among folks from all across the state and from different levels in their respective organizations.

With continuing education, I would like to keep offering monthly topics/trainings to focus on that people can choose to attend if it feels applicable to their role or interests. I'm looking specifically at programming and outreach, as many of our libraries have returned to in-person events, as well as collection development, leadership/supervision skills, reader's advisory, advocacy, and more. I would love to find folks who want to step up as guest speakers, whether leading a session, speaking as part of a panel or leading a breakout room, especially for those who have been wanting to get more involved but are not sure how. I want to help ensure that members are getting the most possible benefit out of their membership, and feel more connected and supported.

I am always seeking opportunities to build upon my understanding and happy to share what I learn with others. I accept criticism, admit when I’m wrong, learn from mistakes, and move on while always trying to do and be better and encouraging others to do the same. One session we were able to offer this year was a presentation from Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, as well as an upcoming (as of this writing) EDI-focused roundtable. Schedule and budget-permitting, I would like to offer more EDI-focused training and group sessions in the future.


Public Library Division - Secretary/Communications

Headshot of Leah HammerquistLeah Hammerquist

I have nine years of experience as an employee in public libraries, both as support staff and as a branch manager; and I earned my MLIS from the University of Washington. I currently manage the Colville Public Library, the largest branch of the Libraries of Stevens County (LOSC). My experience has been in circulation, technical services, sustainable librarianship, advocacy, and outreach. My education focused on traditional knowledge organization and management in public libraries, as well as data curation best practices.

In addition, I served as secretary for my 4-H club during my formative years, have facilitated community conversations around difficult topics such as climate change and policing, and am an active member in a team-based, annual, international scavenger hunt for charity (G.I.S.H.).

My involvement in WLA has been minimal to date. I moved to Washington in November 2019 and joined WLA in Spring 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am applying for the Secretary/Communication position of the Public Library Division to be more engaged in WLA and explore how my skills can benefit our state-wide library community.

The future of public libraries is radical. Radical trust, radical transparency, and the radical leadership required to get us there. Using a blending of creativity and pragmatism, I will foster sound communication that supports libraries as a user-oriented profession that continually grows in response to local, regional, and global information needs.

I will promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in WLA by committing myself to being a key-maker, not a gatekeeper. I try to approach conflict with curiosity. In my current role as a library manager, I place paramount importance on supporting a diverse team that capitalizes upon unique skills and strengths, using shared expectations as a way to set team goals and priorities for a collaborative workflow that makes a whole greater than the sum of its parts. 

School Library Division - Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Headshot of Sam HarrisSam Harris

I have spent 28 years in education and 20 years in school libraries supporting students at all grade levels, have served as Vice Chair for the School Library Division, and have served on nonprofit boards in the South Puget Sound community for over a decade including the Oasis Youth Center and Tacoma Rainbow Center. I have planned and led workshops at WLA/WLMA conferences, the Northwest Association of Independent School (NWAIS) Fall Educators Conference, the NWAIS Librarians Conference, and more. Together with. my colleague, I design and have lead, "Raising Kids in a Digital World" workshops for families at schools and other organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest Region for over a decade.

Conference participation and workshops, various years since 2005. Vice Chair of the School Library Division in 2020.

Libraries are vital to schools. At their best, they serve as the heart of a school: a place where students see themselves reflected in the world around them, where they can explore new ideas, perspectives, and experiences, and where they engage in active, joyful inquiry. Librarians see the scope of a school's academic and social-emotional arc, and have insight into the way youth experience the school's program. They are essential members of academic and student support teams, providing insight and understanding into school improvement and continuous reflection and growth. I believe strongly that WLA leadership should to continue the advocacy efforts of current and past leaders, seeking to make further steps toward codifying into law the expectation that every student will have a school library and school librarian in the state of Washington, while at the same time providing relevant and accessible advocacy resources to all school librarians so that they can work within their schools and districts to grow the visibility and importance of their programs. One step toward this goal is to create and facilitate a team of librarians across the state to develop and publish more resources for individual librarians to use in their advocacy efforts. I also want to continue the incredible work of the past few leadership teams to improve communication to school librarians across a variety of platforms.

I have served as a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging leader at my institution for over 15 years by identifying strategies, developing policies and positions adopted by the board of trustees, seeking out professional development opportunities for employees, planning and leading workshops, and engaging with and advocating for youth at my school and in the South Sound community as we center the voices of students in the essential work of inclusivity and belonging. This work is core to who I am and I believe it should be a primary lens through which all of us approach our roles in and out of the classroom.


School Library Division - Secretary/Communications

Jamie MoffettJamie Moffett

As current Secretary/Communication Manager for the School Library Division, I have been responsible for record keeping of all meetings, constant communication through emails, and  work with a Social Media Committee to ensure that the WLA School Library division has up to date social media posts. Our meetings are twice a month held after school and often to lead to additional duties that I am happily involved in!

The 2022 has brought leadership opportunities tome with WLA and I am beyond excited of my work with WLA thus far. I have presented at several WLMA conferences in prior years and presented at this 2022 conference in Bellevue on Recent Challenges in the Library. 2022 has brought opportunities for me I am hoping to continue in 2023!

I believe the School Library Division has started making strong waves in the Teacher Librarian world! We ensured that the conference had accurate and relevant sessions available for Teacher Librarians and work with all of the book award committees to ensure successful rollout of awards in the spring. This fall we have started a large campaign initiative and working with legislation on getting Teacher Librarians in each school in the state. I look forward to our continued work on this initiative in 2023 as well as mentorship opportunities and a huge spring roll out of spring book awards!

I believe the School Library Division holds these EDI in highest regard- our current initiative we are working with legislative focuses on equity of all students to have access to Teacher Librarians in schools. In our meetings we focus on inclusion of all WLA members to feel welcome and supported by WLA. I look forward to moving forward with the School Library division on EDI matters.

Special Library Division - Chair

Headshot of Julie ThompsonJulie Thompson

I have nearly a year under my belt as a reference librarian with the Washington State Library (WSL). During this time, I have accumulated a wealth of experience fielding the myriad queries that folks all across the State, and sometimes across the world, send our way.

Prior to joining the WSL, I spent over ten years with public libraries in Western Washington (Timberland Regional Library, Sno-Isle Libraries), working with folks in quiet and bustling communities, alike. My experiences are a reflection of my desire to connect with my community and colleagues. I served as a co-chair and team member with the Whidbey Reads initiative; developed adult programming; cultivated strong adult media and teen collections as a Collection Development selector; and delivered essential Business and Readers’ Services. I have built a strong foundation of collaboration, communication, and service as an information professional through my smorgasbord of experiences with public librarianship. These skills and experiences are invaluable in my work with the State Library, and to leadership position with the Special Libraries division.

I have been a member of WLA for several years, benefitting from professional development opportunities in the form of online trainings and conferences. Moving forward, I am excited to step up my participation in WLA by furthering the work done by Special Libraries.

I would like the Special Library Division to continue to foster and strengthen connections between Special Library professionals and supporters through accessible learning and networking opportunities. The past few years have highlighted how we can communicate, collaborate, and grow as professionals using technologies like Teams, Zoom, Google. As an organization representing all of Washington, it's exciting to take advantage of these ways to connect with each other despite the miles between us.

I would also like to continue growing our awareness of the wide array of libraries that make up the Special Libraries Division. The Special Libraries Crawl was a fantastic idea. Let’s continue to get to know each other! It is important to also explore how we can promote our amazing offerings to the communities we serve. How well do they know who we are and what we do?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are incredibly important to me and essential to developing a relevant professional organization that supports and nourishes all of the information professionals it serves (and our communities, in turn). As Division Chair, I will work with my Special Libraries colleagues to apply an EDI lens on all division activities, including group discussions, programming and professional development, and how we promote ourselves within our communities. We can use this as an opportunity to continue conversations about who we are, who uses our services, and what this says about us concerning the community members who don’t come to us or see themselves reflected in our priorities, online platforms, and resources. The first steps always start with good questions.

Other Special Library Division Positions

If you're interested in running for one of the following Special Library Division positions, please contact [email protected].


Section Candidate Statements


Children & Young Adult Services (CAYAS) - Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Headshot of Rachel BeckmanRachel Beckman

I have worked with children and young adults in a library capacity for the past 6 years, first as an Outreach Services Specialist at KCLS and currently as a Teen Services Librarian at Sno-Isle. My focus in library services, especially to youth, is making personal connections via outreach and partnerships with community organizations, creating a sort of tiered support for youth success. Those connections help me create programs that speak to the diverse, but specific, needs of my community. I truly enjoy working with youth, and think that teens especially are one of the most underserved (and underestimated) populations; there is so much potential to create wonderful connections that have a lasting impact, both on teens themselves and on a community as a whole!

I have participated with WLA quite a bit, but only as an individual. I published an article in Alki magazine, as well as presented at the 2022 in-person WLA Conference. I am excited to be able to participate more deeply with the library field, and to share our experiences, our hardships, and our successes. I see many previous colleagues in CAYAS, and am very excited to continue engaging with the field and with colleagues who also want more for our patrons and our libraries.

I would like to see more support of librarians building outreach relationships, especially between public libraries and schools, as well as school libraries. I think there are many librarians and educators out there that want to build relationships, but don’t quite know where to start, especially when educators are extremely busy, hard to reach, or overwhelmed. It can be difficult for public librarians and school librarians to create partnerships together - even if the desire is there! It would be great to have school librarian voices featured more prominently in CAYAS in order to address some of these lingering questions.

EDI is at the core of everything I do, especially within the library field. As a leader, I am thrilled to be able to lift up voices of historically underrepresented groups, as well as address the EDI topics that are central to our work. To me, EDI work has been under strain recently, with increases on book challenges, loss of LGBTQ+ youth rights, backlash against social-emotional learning, etc. Centralizing EDI work at this moment is the most important thing that I can do to provide safe spaces for patron and librarian growth, support, and community-driven success.

Headshot of Lauren KesselLauren Kessel

While I am a new teacher-librarian, in my second year in this type of position (non-consecutive), I am an experienced educator. In addition to working for five years in Washington, I taught for more than three years in Taiwan. This experience has strengthened my skills while working with students as they develop as readers, including those who are just learning English. I have worked in Title I schools, increasing my insight into a variety of communities, in Kent, Lakewood, and on JBLM. I have led multiple committees and look forward to increasing my leadership experience in an organization that I am passionate about.

I am a new WLA member, and I bring experience in schools in Washington.

I would like to see WLA have a stronger partnership with public schools in Washington. This could be accomplished through increased outreach, cooperation, and collaboration through shared resources and professional development opportunities, not just for teacher-librarians but also for teachers.

Over the past three years, I have served on various equity committees and led equity trainings for other educators. I am committed to providing books that serve as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors to students and the community as a whole. I believe that all students should have ample opportunities to experience, explore, and engage in library media spaces. I will continue this work, understanding that I must work both internally and externally to move toward increased equity, diversity, and inclusion.


CAYAS Secretary/Communications 

Headshot of Genessee RickelGenesee Rickel

I have served on several committees for the public library I work at, as well as during my time as a student government representative in college. Part of my duties included taking and distributing meeting minutes. I also have professional social media account management experience; part of my current duties include creating and scheduling content for Facebook and Instagram. During my MLIS, I was required to create and maintain a blog, giving me experience managing a website. In addition to this, I have excellent communication skills and prioritize continuous learning and being open to feedback so I can grow when I make mistakes.

I joined CAYAS in March of 2022 and have attended a couple of section meetings and helped with tabling at WLA 2022.

I would like to see CAYAS recover its pre-pandemic reach and activity level and then work towards growing the section's participation to include smaller library systems from Central and Eastern Washington, all while centering the perspectives and needs of the most marginalized communities. 

EDI is integral to all that I do, and I believe one of the best ways to model this is to recognize that I will always be learning more about how to actualize EDI. EDI is not a passive thought experiment, it requires action. I am likely to make mistakes in this work, and I believe strong EDI leadership is about being held accountable for these mistakes, learning, and continuing to do the work. I will prioritize the words and work of BIPOC library workers because centering race addresses all axes of systemic oppression. As the section's Secretary, I will make sure my notes, social media posts, and all communication are accessible.


Intellectual Freedom Section (IFS) - Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Headshot of Gavin DowningGavin Downing

In late 2021, after eight years as a school librarian, I faced a book challenge in my school library, coming from my own administration.  My efforts to stand for student book choice took over six months, and eventually came before my school board, who made the decision to allow the books to remain in the library.  Having faced this intense book challenge, I wish to support other librarians confronting difficulties in Washington State.  As a result of this process, I have experience in coordinating with both allied organizations as well as with community activists, which I can bring to this role if elected.

I was the Candace Morgan Intellectual Freedom Award winner of 2022.  I'm also currently serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the 2023 WLA Conference Committee.

We know that book challenges and bans are currently on the rise across the country, including in Washington State.  This effort is being organized by groups that seek to stifle free speech and intellectual freedom.  In response, we must organize in turn to fight back against this push for censorship.  We must stand together to assure our patrons have a right to choose for themselves what they read.  Only through united effort can we fight back against this specter of censorship.

The rise of book challenges we are currently facing is primarily focused on silencing voices of historically excluded and marginalized groups, particularly the voices of Black and Indigenous People of Color, and/or of LGBTQIA+ perspectives.  It is critically important that we push back on this effort to silence these communities, but it is also important we do so in a way that partners with the affected communities, instead of assuming that we always know what is best.  That partnership will help assure that WLA is championing EDI through our efforts to champion intellectual freedom.


Intellectual Freedom Section (IFS) - Secretary

Headshot of Elizabeth EbersoleElizabeth Ebersole

Throughout my 15-plus years as a teacher, librarian, and teacher educator, I have played leadership roles in my workplaces and have sought out membership and leadership roles in professional organizations. In all of my roles, I have prioritized student choice in reading and deeply engaging with students about independent reading and information literacy. I have advocated for school libraries at both local and state levels by keeping the communities I served informed and attending WLA Advocacy Days, which allowed me to inform WA State Legislators about issues affecting school libraries. I believe my combination of education, experience, skills, and interests make me a strong candidate for this position.

I have been a WLA member since 2016. I have attended and hosted workshops at WLA Annual conferences. Also, I have attended the WLA Advocacy Days in Olympia.

As an educator, I believe I am in a unique position to serve as a role model of lifelong learning and action. Throughout my career, I have found numerous opportunities to learn, both independently and with my students, about social justice issues, through formal learning experiences, book study groups, and personal reading. I am a voracious reader of social justice-themed fiction and nonfiction, with a penchant for children’s and YA literature in this area. As a K-12 educator, I wove social justice learning experiences and global cultural competencies into the curriculum I shared with my students, and I continue to do so with my graduate pre-service student teachers. Furthermore, I have collaborated with colleagues to bring social justice-themed learning professional learning experiences to in-service teachers. I believe my experiences show that I am a model for lifelong learning and taking action on social justice issues.


Leadership Is for Everyone (LIFE) - Chair

Headshot of Todd VandenbarkTodd Vandenbark

Currently serving as Secretary for LIFE. I have strong organizational, leadership, and public speaking skills and am great at brainstorming new ideas and topics for events.

I would like to build an informal community in LIFE for current library leaders and those aspiring to such positions.

As Chair, I will seeki topics that focus on EDI as often as possible.



Leadership Is for Everyone (LIFE) - Vice Chair/Chair-Elect

Headshot of Katy McLaughlinKaty McLaughlin

I'm a Board member and curriculum organizer for the Prosser Leadership group since 2012; Prosser Rotary group (President 2021-22); and LIFE Chair in 2021 and 2022. I've offered staff training in-branch and across the library system, and push for ongoing skill development for every staff member. In 2022 I joined my library's DEI staff group; I continue to learn and apply changes to my daily work, and hope to share those lessons with my staff and peers.

I have served as LIFE Chair in 2021 and 2022.

I am hoping to build community and connections with library staff at all levels who are looking for ways to be a leader in their position. We are planning on continuing regular monthly meetups to discuss issues in a social learning environment as well as some in-person meetups. I look forward to working with the new Chair and hope we can continue to build LIFE into a thriving section.

I welcome in leaders from all backgrounds, especially encouraging leadership development in those in non-administrative positions or from non-dominant backgrounds. I hope to foster authenticity and vulnerability in our meetings and provide space for members to learn from each other regardless of position or degree.

Leadership Is For Everyone (LIFE) - Secretary

Interested in serving as Secretary for the LIFE Section? Contact [email protected]!


Washington Library Friends, Foundations, Trustees & Advocates (WLFFTA) - Chair

Image of Sara JonesSara Jones

I have been a public library director three times and have worked for a variety of Boards in those roles . I created and provided Trustee training in my role as the Nevada State Librarian. I am knowledgeable about Library laws and the critical importance of Library Trustees and  library advocacy groups (Friends and Foundations).

I joined WLA as soon as I moved to Washington. I have attended both conferences since becoming the State Librarian. I am actively involved in the committees that work on government affairs.

This is an extremely critical time in defending intellectual freedom and resisting book challenges and the chilling effects on the access to library materials. Trustees will play a critical role and one that may be very challenging. I would like to make the group more active, more knowledgeable and more connected with each other to support their libraries.

EDI is a core value for me. I am working on and leading a variety of EDI  efforts at the State Library. Inclusive  workplaces and welcoming libraries in communities is crucial for all of us. I believe  we demonstrate this work with commitment and actions that not only recognizes but takes steps to address structural racism.

Washington Library Friends, Foundations, Trustees & Advocates (WLFFTA) - Vice Chair/Chair-Elect - Secretary

Interested in serving as Vice Chair/Chair-Elect or Secretary for the WLFFTA Section? Contact [email protected]!


Additional Section Positions

If you're looking to develop your leadership skills or provide members opportunities for connection and programming on a particular library topic, consider chairing a Section!

The following sections have openings in 2023:

  • CATS (Collection Development & Technical Services)
  • CLAWS (College Libraries Across Washington State)
  • LISS (Library & Information Student Section)
  • SAIL (Serving Adults in Libraries)
  • SRRT (Social Responsibilities Round Table)
  • WALE (Washington Library Employees)
  • WALT (Washington Library Trainers)