Alumni win national leadership elections

Larry Neal (MSI ’01) and Christine Lind Hage (AMLS ‘71) recently won elections to prestigious positions within national library leadership. Neal has been elected the 2014-15 president of the Public Library Association (PLA), while Hage will serve as the 2014-15 president of United for Libraries.

“This is a career highlight,” said Neal, Clinton-Macomb (MI) Public Library director. “I feel deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve such an outstanding organization that works to strengthen public libraries and library professionals.” PLA serves more than 9,000 members nationally and is one of the fastest growing divisions of the American Library Association (ALA). Founded in 1944, PLA provides a diverse program of continuing education, publications, advocacy and programming for its members and others interested in the advancement of public library service.

“I am so honored to have been elected to serve as president of United for Libraries,” said Hage, Rochester Hills (MI) Public Library director. United for Libraries brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. “Having worked in public libraries for more than 42 years, I appreciate all the hard work that friends, trustees, advocates and foundations do on behalf of America’s libraries,” she said. “I believe that every community deserves a great library, and United for Libraries is just the group to help America’s libraries achieve that goal.”

Both will serve three-year terms starting this summer. “At a national level United for Libraries can join with other ALA voices to speak on behalf of library users,” said Hage. “Larry and I are confident that we can bring the concerns of Michigan library users to the national stage.”

Neal and Hage are no strangers to library leadership or to each other. Hage has served as an ALA councilor and chaired several ALA committees. She was a board member of the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates, the precursor to United for Libraries. She is the author of The Public Library Start-Up Guide.

Neal has longstanding involvement in PLA, serving on the PLA Board (2006-09) and numerous PLA committees. He is a past president of the Michigan Library Association, was named a 2007 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, and was awarded the 2010 UMSI Alumni Early Achievement Award. Neal worked in several capacities under Hage for 23 years at both the Rochester Hills Public Library and the Clinton-Macomb Public Library. Together, the two oversaw the design and construction of four library buildings.

“Christine has been an outstanding mentor and I continue to follow in her footsteps as she is also a past-president of PLA. We’re both looking forward to advocating for and advancing libraries, library professionals and library supporters on a national scale,” Neal said.

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2013