CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce that Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, Assistant Director of Adult Services, Palos Verdes Library District, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., has received the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst Award for Change 2022. Pelayo-Lozada is executive director of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and president-elect of the American Library Association (president 2022-23). She is a determined advocate for issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, inspiring those around her.
What was consistently cited in the many letters of recommendation received was Pelayo-Lozada’s passion for doing the hard work of bringing groups together to strive for greater cooperation and understanding. Pelayo-Lozada is seen as an agent of change by listening to others and understanding their concerns, all with the goal of growing the organization or committee she was part of.
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada’s contributions to ALA and to librarianship are numerous. Listing the number of committees, task forces and boards she has served on or currently serves on is a true testament to her passion for advancing ideas. She served as the 2016 President of the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and was subsequently appointed Executive Director of APALA (2019-2022). She has held many influential positions – from chairing the Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) Advisory Committee to serving on the ALA Council and Board of Trustees. Her outstanding work as Chair of the Steering Committee for Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) has highlighted her skills and passion for moving ALA forward as an organization. In 2021, Pelayo-Lozada was elected ALA President 2022-2023.
“Visionary”, “a ball of fire”, “compassionate”, “inspiring” are the words and expressions most used by his colleagues. Her tireless efforts around equity, inclusivity and diversity continue to inspire those who work with her. Her energy, her dedication are catalysts for change and she personifies someone who can make the impossible possible.
The award will be presented prior to the ALA Presidents Program on Sunday, June 26 at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
Honoring the memory of Dr. Elizabeth Futas, the Catalyst for Change Award is a biannual recognition administered by the American Library Association. Dr. Futas was director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She joined the faculty at the University of Kingston, Rhode Island in 1986 and over the next decade helped shape a generation of reference and children’s book librarians. She also revamped the library school’s curriculum and, within two years, helped it achieve its accreditation. The prize is $1,000 and a gold framed achievement citation.
The 2022 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award members are: President, Susan Kusel, Library Director, Temple Rodef Shalom Library, Arlington, Virginia; Skip Dye, SVP, Library Marketing and Digital Sales, Penguin Random House, New York; and Elizabeth Philippi, School Program Coordinator, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.
The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2024 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award is February 1, 2024. Guidelines and nominations are available on the ALA website.