November 21, 2017

White House Breathes Some New Life into Neglected NCLIS

By LJ Staff

In a boost for libraries from Washington, the White House on October 3 nominated 12 people to fill vacancies on the somewhat-neglected National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS)<>. The new appointments will mark the first time in several years that there will be a full complement of commissioners, since many of the seats have been empty since 2001. The move by the White House reflects a shift, as the administration’s 2002 budget recommended that the agency prepare to be closed the following year. Commissioners represent the users of library and information services and recommend policy to the President, Congress, and other entities.

NCLIS executive director Robert Willard told LJ that nominees are selected by the White House’s Office of Presidential Personnel, but potential nominees may nominate themselves or be suggested by third parties. He says that nominating commissioners “is very much a political process in the positive sense of that word. These are people who want to make a contribution.” As in previous years, several nominees have direct or indirect connections to the administration. Nominees now must be approved by the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, which could be a lengthy process. “It is a question of how it fits in to all the other things the committee wants to do,” Willard said. “I’m hoping that in light of…so many positions [being] vacant for as long as they have that maybe [Senators] would be willing to expedite treatment.”

The nominees are:

  • Beth Fitzsimmons
  • , president, Information Strategists, Ann Arbor, MI (an MLIS and Ph.D. in Information, Science, and Technology Policy, who has served as chair of the Depository Library Council to the U.S. Public Printer). She has been nominated to chair the commission. (Her husband is Joe Fitzsimmons, former president of UMI [now ProQuest].)

  • Jose Antonio Aponte
  • , executive director, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs (a 2003 LJ Mover & Shaker).

  • Sandra Frances Ashworth
  • , director, Boundary County District Library, Bonners Ferry, ID (a 2002 winner of an IMLS National Award for Library Services).

  • Edward Louis Bertorelli
  • , a member of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

  • Carol L. Diehl
  • , a retired school librarian, former board member, Sturm Memorial Library, Manawa, WI, and an at-large member of the American Library Association Council.

  • Allison Druin
  • , assistant professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland (UM), College Park (and director of the International Children’s Digital Library, a joint venture of the Internet Archive and UM’s Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory).

  • Patricia M. Hines
  • , of South Carolina, a former Deputy Secretary of Education in the Reagan administration.

  • Colleen Ellen Huebner
  • , associate professor, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

  • Stephen M. Kennedy
  • , a former computer executive responsible for state government relations and a former official in several New Hampshire administrations.

  • Bridget L. Lamont
  • , former director of policy and program development for Illinois’ governor George Ryan and for 16 years the director of the Illinois State Library.

  • Mary H. (Mitzi) Perdue
  • , of Maryland, a member of the Madison Council of the Library of Congress, a former syndicated columnist on environmental matters (including a 2001 column on NCLIS).

  • Herman Lavon Totten
  • , regents professor of library and information sciences, University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences, Denton. Winner of the American Library Association’s Melvil Dewey Medal in 2001, his is former president of the Texas Library Association and was an unsuccessful candidate for the 2003-04 ALA presidency.