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Kevin A.R. King: Candidate for Core President-Elect

Kevin A.R. King: Candidate for Core President-Elect

We asked candidates for Core President-Elect to answer some questions before the spring election opens on March 11. Voting will close on April 3, with results announced on April 8.

The person elected will serve one year each as President-Elect (2024–2025), President (2025–2026), and Immediate Past-President (2026–2027).

Kevin is the Director of the East Lansing Public Library in Lansing, MI.

  1. What has Core brought to your career, and what would you bring to Core were you elected to this position?
    The opportunity to connect with others who want to grow as leaders is something I value. Core-sponsored opportunities have been a vital part of my professional growth. One of my passions is to create and support professional development events for library workers. If elected, I would dedicate a large portion of my efforts to ensure that Core was offering a broad range of educational opportunities.
  2. What does equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) mean to you personally and what should it mean for the Core division professionally?
    The core mission of all libraries is to provide resources, access, and engagement to ALL people in the community. This profession should reflect the people we serve. This means a greater emphasis on building up the opportunities for ALL people. The Core Division can be the leader in crafting programs that provide mentorship and scholarships to ALL people wanting to serve. EDIA has been a factor in all decisions I have made while serving on the Core Board of Directors. I believe that the profession’s Core Values and EDIA are inseparable.
  3. Member engagement is critical for the life and health of the Core division. How do you plan to sustain and grow Core’s membership?
    Healthy organizations thrive when there is trust, care, and respect. These three important factors will guide member engagement in Core. Division leadership will trust the membership’s requests and concerns. This feedback will be reflected in engagement decisions. Core will use the utmost care when crafting the best programs and services for the membership. Finally, I will encourage a Core leadership built on unwavering respect for one another. I believe that when you have trust, care, and respect, you will have a division that can support healthy conflict and growth.
  4. What is one thing you will do to make Core more welcoming to new members?
    Sweater vests and cats upon signing up for Core! Seriously, if elected I will encourage the Core leadership to connect with all new members. This will emphasize the care and respect each new member deserves. I want to honor their decision to join Core!
  5. Core is the product of a recent merger of multiple divisions. Is there one aspect of the division you believe could benefit from better cohesion, and how might you go about fostering improvement in that area?
    As a very new member of the Core Board of Directors, I have often been very confused about all the groups within Core and how they relate to one another. This should not be surprising when multiple groups merge. I would be in favor of forming a task force to find the commonalities of all the former divisions, and potentially reorganize to spotlight the common Core strengths.
  6. What’s one thing you think Core is doing particularly well and that you would intend to support or enhance?
    The Core Forum has been a great success! I would like to continue to build upon what has been started so Core has a conference that rivals other ALA divisions. The opportunity is there to stress how library workers of all types can learn and grow from this super fun event. Overall, the professional development and conference sessions sponsored by Core have been well-received and this will lead to a great Core Forum attendance. We also have a cool logo.
  7. What’s one thing that you think the Core division should change?
    As I mentioned above, I feel that it is time in the division’s “growing process” to investigate the need to reorganize. Because the “birth” of Core happened during the pandemic, many non-members still do not understand the core of Core! By identifying the high-level strengths, Core could evolve into an even better Division with the same values and goals.
  8. What do you believe would benefit most from active state/national/international advocacy from the Core division specifically?
    Library workers should be able to look to the Core Division for anything involving leadership, infrastructure, and futures. This means Core must lead when it comes to advocating against issues that threaten these three values. An important job of the Division will be to provide resources to all who support what we hold close to our hearts and minds.
  9. What is one thing you want to make happen while on the Core Board?
    I have recently started a new job as the Director of the East Lansing (MI) Public Library and on the first day, I pledged to meet 300 patrons in the first 30 days. There is no better way to learn about a new community than to listen, explore, and smile. If I’m elected, I would like to try something similar with Core membership.
  10. How will you pursue collaboration between sections of Core, and perhaps even with other ALA divisions?
    If we were to consider a re-organization of the Division, I would ask for each section to select an ambassador to represent their interests in a task force assigned to explore Core’s similarities. We will all benefit from an intentional examination of how we can better collaborate. Likewise, I would contact the leadership in the other Divisions and ask if Core could appoint an ambassador to listen and learn how we could work together.

Kevin’s Personal Statement

When I hear the word “Core,” I immediately think of the center of the Earth ‐ a magma‐filled place with spewing flames, waiting to erupt. Your Core Division is quickly becoming a hotbed of innovation regarding leadership, infrastructure, and the future of librarianship. This explosion of new ideas comes directly from a membership committed to library core services. We are a division that embraces new ways of thinking about how best to serve our communities. Throughout my career, I have been devoted to feeding the innovative flames of others and harnessing that heat to fuel growth. I have served on multiple professional development and conference planning committees, advocating for the best ideas to teach and inspire. My priorities as your Core President would be to provide opportunities for the membership to create and implement ideas that promote the division’s mission. This goal would include continuing to codify the new practices, policies, and procedures that empower the membership to activate meaningful change. Core is on the verge of a massive eruption of knowledge. The next Core President will have the task of working with the Board of Directors to divert this important flow of passion, intelligence, and innovation to ALA’s entire membership. My more than 25 years in the profession have given me the chance to lead and foster the growth of new ideas, like the Core Division. If elected to lead, I will promote the idea that Core is the place to explore the future. Jules Verne in JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH wrote, “What darkness to you is light to me.” I ask that no matter who you vote for in this election, you share with others that Core is the division to play with fire safely.

Thank you, Kevin!