iSchool Instructor Patty Wong Wins 2021–2022 ALA Presidency

Patty Wong

San José State University School of Information instructor Patty Wong has been elected 2021–2022 president-elect of the American Library Association. As ALA president, Wong, currently director of library services/city librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library in California, will be the chief elected officer for the oldest and largest library association in the world. She will serve as president-elect for one year before moving into her role as president at the close of the 2021 ALA Annual Conference.

Upon learning of her win, Wong acknowledged the “leadership and talents” of her colleague and opponent Steven Yates, assistant director of University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies. “He is a strong ALA advocate, and I look forward to working with him toward a strengthened association,” she said.

“This is a great honor for me personally. This election has brought to fruition a longtime aspiration to serve my profession and my association as ALA president,” said Wong. “I am both excited and eager to help lead the ALA with our great staff, member leaders, affiliate organizations, and allies.” Read her full statement in the ALA press release.

Wong, who received her Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1984, previously served as county librarian/chief archivist for Yolo County Library in California. In addition to her public library service, she has worked as a school librarian, children’s librarian, cataloger, and special librarian. She is often called to speak on issues related to leadership, diversity, youth development, and fundraising, and her work has been published in a number of journals, conference proceedings and edited collections.

An active ALA member for 35 years, Wong is currently in her second term on the ALA Executive Board—she has held numerous committee positions, including chair of the ALA Budget Analysis and Review Committee. She is a member of several ALA professional affiliates, including the American Indian Library Association, Asian-Pacific American Librarians Association, Black Caucus of ALA, Chinese American Librarians Association, and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.

Wong oversees continuing education for public library practitioners at conferences of the ALA, the California Library Association, those conducted by the California State Library, and elsewhere. She also provides organizational development and leadership training to employees in Santa Monica and is involved on several local and regional library and community boards.

At the iSchool, Wong teaches courses in the fully online MLIS degree program, specifically INFO 282 – Seminar in Library Management Grant Writing and INFO 298 – Special Studies. Her grant writing course has proved instrumental in teaching the skills needed to successfully secure grants.

For instance, alumna Katy Philby attributes the course as the key to being awarded a $1,600 grant that will benefit her community. The 2016 graduate said after becoming familiar with various types of funding resources for libraries and program development as a student in Wong’s course, she was able to practically apply those skills. She learned how to assess a library’s needs, create marketing materials to highlight organizational strengths, identify prospective funders, and develop a grant proposal for a real library.

“Patty’s class is great. We worked through writing grants and received lots of resources and feedback. The process during class helped me to prepare for when I did write a grant,” Philby said.

 Congratulations to Patty Wong!