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Library Voices

OPB | June 28, 2011 9:06 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:16 p.m.

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American Library Association

The new president of the American Library Association (ALA), Molly Raphael, is a Portlander and former director of libraries for Multnomah County. She retired from that position in 2009 and on Tuesday, she’ll take the helm of the oldest and largest library association in the world. She’ll be the public face of ALA and the organization’s chief advocate in a time when libraries across the country are fighting for relevance as well as funding. When asked what she is most excited about in her new position, Raphael said:

I’m really excited about what’s happening in libraries and the incredible opportunities we have to transform people’s lives.

Laura Moulton certainly believes in the power of the paperback. She’s received a grant to run a mobile library of about 40 paperbacks to people living on the street who otherwise may not be able to pick one up. The project is called Street Books, and she says she’s not just lending books, she’s “creating a situation that gives people a reason to have a conversation who didn’t before.”

And while that may or may not be transformative, it’s definitely powerful.

Has your life been transformed by a library or library book? How are libraries relevant to you? What questions do you have for the new ALA president or Street Books librarian Laura Moulton?

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