ALA, United for Libraries elections open March 13-April 15

The ALA election is now open! United for Libraries personal members will be able to cast their votes for United board candidates. Members will receive an email to cast their vote. The election closes April 5.

The candidates up for election to the United for Libraries Board are Brenda Langstraat Bui (Foundation at Large), Ben Carter (Friend at Large), Camille McCutcheon (Friend at Large), Ari Brooks (Friend at Large), Patty Shlonsky (Trustee at Large), Andrew Smith (Trustee at Large), and Janel Segal (Trustee at Large). More information about the candidates:

Brenda Langstraat Bui has served nonprofit organizations in Chicago since 1998, beginning in the arts/culture sector, and then in the public/private sector since 2004, leading organizations that partner with the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Public Library. Brenda's career is driven by the belief that creating empowered communities of learners will transform lives and support the advancement of Chicago's neighborhoods. Brenda is currently the President & CEO of the Chicago Public Library Foundation. She joined the Foundation in January 2019, her personal and professional values aligning with the Chicago Public Library's belief in "the freedom to read, to learn, to discover." Brenda serves as a board member of the Lookingglass Theater, on the board of United for Libraries, and on the board of Quiet Pterodactyl, a nonprofit that supports music and arts programming.

Ben Carter serves as Assistant State Librarian for Library Development & Support with the Georgia Public Library Service. His professional activities have shifted to focus on Georgia’s public libraries as a whole after several years serving as a library director. After obtaining his MSLS from UNC Chapel Hill, Ben has worked for Georgia’s libraries for more than 15 years. For the last four and a half years he has worked on strengthening Georgia’s public library Trustees, growing Georgia’s future library leaders through the PINNACLE Institute, and supporting Georgia’s public library directors. Ben holds membership with four Friends organizations, including his hometown library, and currently serves as a member of the United for Libraries Board. His personal interests include philology, cultural institutions, and (depending on his audience) genealogy.

Camille McCutcheon is a librarian at the USC Upstate Library in Spartanburg, SC, where she currently serves as Coordinator of Collection Management and Administrative Services. She is a former public services librarian and previously served as Coordinator of Information Literacy and Coordinator of Faculty and Staff Outreach. Camille has been active in the library profession at the national, regional, state, and local levels. She currently serves on the United for Libraries Board and is a member of the United’s Intellectual Freedom/Advocacy & Public Policy Committee and the United Member Resource Audit Task Force. Currently, she is Archivist for the Southeastern Library Association (SELA). She served a two-year term as SELA President and has held various leadership positions on the SELA Board. She has been both Treasurer and Secretary of the South Carolina Library Association. She is a member of the Friends of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries and volunteers with the Homebound Services program. She is a past member of the Friends of the Spartanburg County Public Libraries Board.

Ari Brooks is executive director, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Maryland, is an experienced fundraiser and nonprofit manager having held leadership positions in three not-for-profit organizations for more than 25 years in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Her work has primarily focused on engaging and inspiring the community to provide volunteer and philanthropic support to worthy causes. Prior to serving as FOLMC executive director, Ms. Brooks held three progressively challenging roles at a child welfare organization. Her responsibilities included community outreach, grant writing, marketing, corporate volunteer management, and overseeing a $25 million capital campaign. In her current role, she leads one of the largest Friends groups in the DC region. Her mission-driven focus strengthens and expands the community’s role in supporting libraries and library workers in their efforts to provide innovative and relevant programs, services, and collections. Ms. Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently serves on the United for Libraries Board and is Chair of United’s Programs Committee.

Patricia Shlonsky serves as Partner-In-Charge of Ulmer & Berne’s Cleveland office, as well as Group Leader of the firm’s Employee Benefits and Tax Practice Groups. With more than 30 years of legal experience, Patty advises clients in the establishment, qualification, and maintenance of all types of employee benefits plans and has comprehensive experience handling employee benefits and ERISA litigation. Patty has been a champion for public libraries for decades. She currently serves on the United for Libraries Board. She is a longtime Board Member and Past President of the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) Board of Trustees. In her service to CCPL, she has worked to improve literacy, education, and economic advancement for all people throughout Northeast Ohio. An avid reader and literary commentator, she authors a popular book blog,, in which she reviews a broad array of literary fiction and, occasionally, nonfiction. An active community leader and advocate, Patty also serves as Vice President of the Board and Program Committee Co-Chair for The City Club of Cleveland, and a Board Member for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio as well as Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau.

Dr. Andrew Smith, an Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University in Kansas, studied at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, Georgia State University, Atlanta, and the University of Aberystwyth in Wales. He was a Robert T. Jones Memorial Scholar at Emory University in Atlanta and in 2015 was elected a Visiting Professor of the University of Belgrade, Serbia. He has previously served SLIM as an interim in both Dean and Associate Dean positions. Dr. Smith developed Emporia's Global Experience program and since 2011 has led 17 international study trips where students visit libraries and archives and study librarianship in different cultures. He was appointed a Trustee of the Emporia Public Library in 2016 and served until 2022, as vice-chair from 2016-2020 and as chair from 2020-2022. He has presented extensively on the creation and maintenance of library policy and on the recruitment and education of library board members. He is a member of the American Library Association, The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the Society of Indexers, Kansas Library Association, the Association for Library and Information Science Education and the Association for Information Science and Technology.

Janet Segal is an advocate of literacy, social justice, and education. She has worked as an educator, a nonprofit leader, a political consultant, for both local and federal candidates and has been a trainer in nonprofit board governance and legislative advocacy. She has enjoyed a variety of purposeful careers and opportunities including a teacher of elementary and special education students, conservation technologist in a museum, Better Business Bureau arbitrator, founder of several nonprofits, shipyard manager of the classroom tall ship The Spirit of SC, owner of her own event company, and served as director of education for Spoleto Festival USA. For eight years she was Trustee/Chair of the Charleston County (S.C.) Public Library board. During her tenure as Chair, Janet was instrumental in updating bylaws, policies and procedures as well as the recruitment of new directors and strategic planning for the entire system. In 2011, Janet spearheaded the efforts in building a plan to enhance and grow Charleston County Public Library (CCPL). In 2021, CCPL created the first Award for Extraordinary Contributions and awarded it to Janet.  Thus far, she is the only one to receive this award. In 2021, Janet relocated to Rockville, Md.

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