Richland Library’s executive director is now also the leader of an international organization of library professionals.
Melanie Huggins officially began her term as the 2021-22 president of the Public Library Association following a virtual introduction ceremony during the group's annual conference.
Huggins will lead nearly 10,000 public library professionals across the United States and Canada. The role includes one-year stints as president-elect (2020-2021) and immediate past-president (2022-2023).
"Libraries continue to play a critical role in our cities and counties," Huggins said. "We’re able to thoughtfully and consciously make an impact by listening to and identifying the needs of local residents.”
She has been with Richland Library since 2009, overseeing a $59 million bond referendum to enhance 11 existing library facilities as well as the addition of two new library locations. Under her leadership, the library's vision has been to enhance the quality of life for the entire community.
"By offering innovative learning environments, removing economic barriers for entrepreneurs and artists, providing support during times of crisis and leading courageous conversations on social justice, we have the opportunity to create meaningful change by making our communities more livable, resilient and inclusive," said Huggins.