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Kelvin Watson First ALA Presidential Candidate to Receive Both ALA Spectrum & ARL Diversity Scholarship Awards

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Kelvin Watson, executive director of the Las Vegas– Clark County Library District (LVCCLD), is the first American Library Association (ALA) presidential candidate to have been a past recipient of two prestigious diversity scholarships.

Kelvin Watson, executive director, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District

As a library science graduate student at North Carolina Central University, Watson’s background as a US Army veteran, and in the book publishing industry, made him a standout candidate for the ALA Spectrum Scholarship Program and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Kaleidoscope Program. This educational funding served as a springboard for his career as one of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry.

The ALA is a national organization that provides essential resources, programs, and services to support and inspire library professionals in transforming their communities. For more than 140 years, it has served as the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring free access to information for all.

The Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s national diversity and recruitment program, designed to address under-representation of critically needed ethnic liberians within our communities.

The ARL is a membership organization of libraries and archives in major public and private universities, federal government agencies, and large public in institutions Canada and the US. The organization advocates on research libraries’ on behalf, convenes research and higher education partners, shares intelligence on current issues, and develops the next generation of diverse library leaders, which is the mission of scholarships awarded through the ARL Kaleidoscope Program.

“As a recipient of both the Spectrum and Kaleidoscope Scholarships, I could not have imagined the honor of standing to lead this fine organization through such difficult and trying times,” Watson said. “My leadership roles at four major libraries have prepared me to face our professional head-on challenges, and I am optimistic about our future. America and our libraries continue to transform, and I’m humbled and honored by the possibility of serving the ALA in its highest role.”

“Kelvin brought a unique experience as a veteran and vendor to the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce,” said Dr. Jerome Offord, Jr., former ARL Director of Diversity Initiatives, 2003-2008. “He was able to speak with his cohort about Libraries as a business and how we lead organizations through its mission, with support from its internal operations. We often lean to the mission of libraries as our core value, but library leaders are also challenged with operational, political, and other infrastructure type work.

Watson is credited with expanding his customer base in multiple library management roles, through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations. Read more about his background here.

“We have always been a melting pot of nationalities, religions, ethnicities and gender identities,” said Watson, “but historically, many of these segments have been blocked from realizing their full potential. By 2030, the US Census predicts that immigration will become the primary source of growth, putting greater pressure on our schools to teach the literacy and tech skills needed for 21st century jobs. All libraries in the ecosystem will be called upon to fill this void and the ALA will at the forefront of this conversation.”

Watson joined the Las Vegas– Clark County Library District from his role as the director of the Broward County Libraries Division (BCL), where he brought transformative change through ambitious and groundbreaking initiatives that streamlined access to resources, introduced new technology, and developed collaborative partnerships. He was named the 2021 winner of the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award, sponsored by Novelist, for his dedication to implementing new and innovative ways to meet customers – both existing and new – “where they are.”

“In spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Kelvin has made an immediate impact in the Las Vegas community,” said Elizabeth FoytLVCCLD Board of Trustees Secretary, “bringing together powerful community partners and engaging in much-needed strategic planning with groups like Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevadathe Clark County School District, Nellis Air Force Base, and Nevada Workforce Connections. Kelvin’s strong leadership, since taking over as our executive director, has shown his commitment and dedication to the role of libraries in our society. I wholeheartedly endorse him for the ALA president.”

Kelvin prides himself on ‘inviting the uninvited,’ which at BCL meant developing programs for veterans, the homeless, and the disenfranchised,” said Hannah Handler Hostyk, co-president of the Stirling Library Friends in Broward County. “He expressed concern that the library system did not do enough to welcome the LGBTQ community and he instituted staff training so that all community members would feel invited and served… Kelvin took a system in great need of repair and not only made strides in fixing the system but expanded services, created tech initiatives, and laid the groundwork for inclusivity.”

Kelvin Watson has been endorsed by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and numerous library industry professionals. For a full list of endorsements and to read about his vision for the future of libraries, go to KelvinWatsonforLibraries

About Las Vegas-Clark County Library District
The award-winning Las Vegas– Clark County Library District is an independent taxing entity that serves a diverse community across 8,000 square miles. Through its 25 branches and website, the Library District offers a collection of 3.2 million items consisting of books, movies, music (including streaming and downloadable), online resources, as well as free programs for all ages.

The Library District is a vibrant and vital member of the community offering limitless learning; business and career advancement; government and social services support; and best of all, a place where customers find a sense of culture and community. For more information, please visit LVCCLD.org.

(PRNewsfoto/Las Vegas-Clark County Library District)

(PRNewsfoto/Las Vegas-Clark County Library District)

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SOURCE Las Vegas-Clark County Library District

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