Elizabeth A.M. Howard, director of the Eunice and James L. West Library, was elected the 2023-24 President-Elect of the Texas Library Association (TLA). She will take office at the end of the TLA Annual Conference, April 19-22, in Austin.
Howard is a longtime TLA member with many years of volunteer experience. For the association, she has served as a representative-at-large (academic) on the TLA Executive Board, chaired the Disaster Relief Committee, was part of the Texas Book Festival Committee and was on the Program Committee for the 2017 TLA Annual Conference.
Howard was elected at a time when libraries and librarians are facing an unprecedented number of intellectual freedom challenges.
"My work with the executive board has emphasized intentional equity, diversity and inclusion," Howard said. "The coalition of the Texans for the Right to Read helps librarians do the same in their communities. We must help all librarians sustain academic and intellectual freedom. Challenges in school libraries have repercussions across public and academic libraries as well. All library types and areas need spaces to collaborate more effectively. With challenges like COVID-19, censorship and other unforeseen events, librarians are leaving the field unexpectedly, highlighting our need for better succession planning. We must supplement this with more effective recruitment to fill roles that have been vacated. Finally, considering the impact these challenges have had on libraries across Texas, I will focus on rebuilding our confidence and empowering our library workers."