A librarian and library manager for more than 40 years, Austin Community College Dean of Library Services Dr. Julie Todaro has made well-known contributions to the profession around Austin and across the state: A Texas Library Association Lifetime Achievement award is just one of her many accolades.
This year she is sharing her knowledge, passion, and influence on a larger stage as president of the American Library Association, a three-year position that includes a year as president-elect and past-president in addition to her current year at the helm.
“I’ve been both pleased to see the existing support for our nation’s libraries and surprised to see the enormous role ALA presidents have in speaking up for libraries and library professionals,” she says.
Along with presiding over the group’s legislative bodies, she is the voice of the nation’s libraries and librarians to the media and policymakers, addressing issues that span a lifetime of learning and personal growth, from K-12 school budgets, to the critical role of academic libraries in higher education, to the importance of public library services to people in housing transition or unemployment. She presents at events across the country and world, such as this month’s ALA’s conference at the Sharjah International Book Fair in Saudi Arabia.
Wherever she goes, Todaro is eager to promote her ALA presidential initiative, “Libraries Transform: The Expert in the Library,” about the essential contribution of libraries and library professionals to their organizations and communities.
“We can design the best library environment and assemble the perfect collection of resources, but the most important element is the expertise within these structures and processes —the library staff who connect people to what they want and need,” she says.
As the first community college librarian elected to lead the ALA, Todaro also is shining a national spotlight on the value of community colleges.
“We connect dots at the national level. We talk about how community colleges create jobs by providing educational opportunities that are affordable,” she says. “Community colleges are at the heart of workforce training for job creation.”
Back home, Todaro continues to work with the experts in ACC’s 11 campus libraries and the award-winning programs they provide. Together with the Library Services Leadership team, faculty librarians, instructors, and administrators, she is ensuring ACC libraries continue to be a critical element in students’ success, a resource for student pathways, and a leader in open educational resources. While ACC libraries have long offered an extensive online environment for student support, research and study space, and access to technology, she says, today’s library facilities are even more focused on student and faculty success as they evolve to be centers for innovation with makerspaces and conjoined ACCelerator labs.
“I am constantly reminded of the herculean task of painting the Golden Gate bridge – just when you think you get to an end in your work, you must turn around and begin painting again,” she says. “To be a library leader in articulating our role in peoples’ lives, however is a humbling and life-changing role.”Back to Top