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Burger Named ALA President

Candace Braun

Princeton Public Library Director Leslie Burger has been elected the president of the American Library Association (ALA) for the 2006-2007 term.

She will assume the ALA presidency in July 2006, following the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. During her one-year term as president, she will continue as director of the library, a post she has held since 1999.

"I look forward to serving the members of ALA," she said. "Through the months of campaigning, I met with members from many different kinds of libraries across the country who shared their vision of how ALA can help every library to succeed. I know that by working together we can make every library in the country better than it is today."

Ms. Burger was elected with 5,401 votes. Her opponent, Christine Lind Hage, the director of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library in Clinton Township, Mich., received 4,598 votes.

According to Betty Turock, past president of ALA, Ms. Burger "understands the need for librarians to become advocates in the public interest, for the profession to become more representative of the populations we serve Š and for librarians to perceive themselves as global citizens capable and willing to ensure access to all."

Ms. Burger will be the chief elected officer for ALA, the oldest and largest library organization. Established in 1876, ALA provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship.

In a previous statement to the ALA, Ms. Burger said that if she were elected to the presidency, she would work to galvanize public support for all types of libraries, communicate why libraries and library workers are essential, try to ensure that all library workers are well compensated, and that libraries recruit and retain a diverse work force.

"In this time of slashed budgets and closed libraries, we must act decisively to stop the loss of access while fighting to bring our constituents tomorrow's libraries today," she said.

As director of the Princeton Public Library during the construction of the new 58,000-square-foot facility on Witherspoon Street, she built partnerships with community leaders to help raise more than $21 million toward the library's capital and endowment campaigns.

"Our new library has a place for everyone; all you need is a question or a dream. Leslie understood this from the very beginning," said Pam Wakefield of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, adding that Ms. Burger helped build the library's concept of a "community living room."

"I understand and care deeply about all types of libraries and our issues," said Ms. Burger. "I am a passionate believer in the power of libraries to change people's lives."

Ms. Burger is a past president of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), the New Jersey Library Association, and the Connecticut Library Association. She currently serves as at-large member of the ALA Council and is a member of the ALA-APA Pay Equity Committee. She also has chaired the ALA Awards Committee, several ASCLA committees, and the ALA Public Awareness Committee's Campaign for America's Librarians Task Force.

Before joining the Princeton Public Library, Ms. Burger worked at the New Jersey State Library and the Connecticut State Library in the areas of planning and library development.

She is the owner of Library Development Solutions, a consulting firm which she founded in 1991. In her consulting practice, Ms. Burger has worked with more than 100 libraries of all sizes and types on planning, space needs assessments, evaluation, and program implementation.

Ms. Burger has a master's degree in library science from the University of Maryland, and a master's degree in organizational behavior from the University of Hartford.

The new ALA president lives in Princeton Junction with her husband and three children.

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