Joy Kim

Deputy Director of Libraries, Cambridge (MA) Public Library

PLA Member for 12 years

How did you first become involved with PLA?

In 2015, I was selected to participate in the second PLA Leadership Academy, held in Charleston, South Carolina. This experience couldn’t have come at a better moment in my professional career. I was in the process of applying for a promotion at my organization, and soon after, I moved into a more senior management role. I’ve often drawn upon the leadership lessons from the Academy since then. My Academy experience also connected me with an invaluable network of peers and mentors with whom I’m still in regular contact.

What committee do you currently volunteer with? What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

This year I am chairing the PLA Annual Conference Program Subcommittee, the jury that selects PLA-sponsored programs for Annual Conference in June. I volunteer with PLA because I believe it’s important to give back to the profession in general and to an association that’s really helped enrich my own career. I also volunteer because it’s a way to build relationships. It can be challenging to make those meaningful 1:1 connections at a national conference or even within a large association. Working together on a shared goal is one of the best ways that I know to build professional relationships with people outside my own library.

What do you hope PLA will achieve in the next 75 years?

There are so many important conversations happening right now in public libraries around sustainability, equity, and social justice. My hope is that in 75 years, we’ll have made so much progress on those fronts that it will be hard to understand why we ever had to do some of the things we do now. Let’s imagine a future where we have sustainable national funding, a workforce that truly reflects the public we serve, and a community understanding of the value that public libraries offer.