Apr 192021
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District, was recently elected the next president of the American Library Association, which is billed as the largest library association in the world. (Photo courtesy Pelayo-Lozada)

Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District, was recently elected the next president of the American Library Association, which is billed as the largest library association in the world.

South Bay native Pelayo-Lozada received more votes than two candidates, one from Rhode Island and another from Hawaii, to be president elect. She will begin serving her one-year term as president-elect on June 24, which will be followed by a year serving as Immediate Past President.

Pelayo-Lozada, in an email, said being elected president of the ALA is the highest honor of her career.

“I believe my election, as the first Pacific Islander and youngest ALA President elected, is a signifier of the change needed in our association and our profession,” she wrote.

“The trust that our members have put in me gives me the confidence that we will make long lasting, meaningful change in both our association and the communities we serve.”

She said as the chief spokesperson for the ALA, her primary goal is to “bring awareness to the great work that libraries and library workers around the country are doing on behalf of their communities.”

Pelayo-Lozada said as president of the organization she hopes to get more support for libraries through federal funds such as the Library Services and Technology Act, Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program and the Build America’s Libraries Act.

Born and raised in Torrance and Gardena, Pelayo-Lozada, now a San Pedro resident, attended Torrance schools and graduated from Bishop Montgomery High School in 2003. She has lived in the South Bay her entire life except for the years she attended UCLA where she earned a masters of library and information science and a bachelor of arts in sociology, according to a Palos Verdes Library District press release.

“Growing up in the South Bay as a mixed-race Native Hawaiian has informed and inspired my work in diversity, equity, and inclusion on behalf of libraries,” said Pelayo-Lozada in an email.

“The communities that I grew up in, with their interconnectedness, allowed me to grow up in a supportive environment, to respect and to be inclusive… the diversity of the South Bay can make inclusion an everyday practice, demonstrating the possibilities of a community continuing to work and grow to welcome all people.”

After working in Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Redondo Beach and Los Angeles County, Pelayo-Lozada joined the PVLD in 2016 as a Young Readers librarian and then joined the Adult Services department in 2018, according to the press release.

Pelayo-Lozada also holds various other duties including heading the Adult Services Summer Reading Program and the Art in Our Library exhibits at the Peninsula Center Library.

With more than 57,000 members, the ALA, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1876, is the largest library association in the world, according to its website. Its mission is to improve library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

Via PVnews


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