Associate Executive Director for Public Policy and Advocacy

10 May, 2023


Associate Executive Director for Public Policy and Advocacy

American Library Association
Washington, D.C.

The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world.  Founded in 1876, our mission is to share our vision of the importance of libraries, literacy, access to information, and intellectual freedom which also encompasses equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) through the lens of social justice.  ALA is a fast-paced, inclusive, work environment that values diversity, teamwork, collaboration, creativity, and entrepreneurialism.

ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy(PPA) office based in Washington, DC seeks an Associate Executive Director to  represent libraries on Capitol Hill, direct and manage the advocacy and public policy staff building relationships and opportunities to uplift and shape policy that benefits libraries and library users with federal and regional lawmakers; representing libraries, library workers, and ALA’s core values and programmatic priorities to legislators and stakeholders which includes the Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judiciary in order to raise the visibility of the library and information sector and its concerns in the public’s consciousness.

Chief Responsibilities


  • Oversee Public Policy and Advocacy staff, budget and Washington DC office facility.
  • Oversee PPA communications staff, monitor press statements, respond to requests for LIS sector and policy-related information, and route and respond to press queries and requests for interviews from reporters.
  • Regularly coordinating calls and meetings with key stake holding organizations.
  • Maintain status and activity as a registered lobbyist covering appropriations, education, Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and general national infrastructure and seek out opportunities to introduce policy and influence legislation that supports libraries, library users, and the expansion of educational and information services in and connected to libraries.
  • Educate Members of Congress on ALA legislative priorities and promote Congressional contacts for library and information services (LIS) sector stakeholders and grassroots supporters.
  • Brief ALA staff, PPA committees, policy corps participants, and general members across the association on pertinent and timely legislative activity and opportunities. Organize related activities, mobilizations, and efforts.
  • Provide direction and support to ALA’s Chapter Relations and International Relations Offices staff.
  • Serve as part of ALA’s senior leadership cabinet.
  • Oversee fellows, scholars, consultants and contractors working in service of PPA strategies, programs, and activity.
  • Encourage library supporters to communicate with their elected legislators to promote ALA’s legislative priorities.
  • Create programming and cultivate audiences for conferences and advocacy events such as National Library Legislative Day and the Congressional Fly-in.
  • Serves as primary staff liaison to the ALA Committee on Legislation.


Working Relationships


  • ALA Executive Staff, Executive Board and Member Leaders
  • Public Policy & Advocacy member committees
  • Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)Congressional Staff
  • Coalition Partners
  • Washington Media
  • ALA Policy Corps
  • ALA members

This is a regular full-time position based in our Washington office.   Most ALA staff are currently working on a hybrid schedule. We have plans to resume mostly in-person work at ALA offices when it is safe to do so.  Please note that although we have a generous telecommuting policy for our employees, we do not have any truly remote positions in states outside of our workplace sites.

ALA currently requires that employees be fully vaccinated for COVID 19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Proof of vaccination will be required on or before start date.

All offers of employment are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a background check and proof of your eligibility to work in the United States.

Starting salary range negotiable from the mid-100s; based on relevant experience. ALA has an excellent benefit package that includes flexible work schedules, medical, dental, generous paid vacation, retirement annuity and a 35-hour workweek. You may also qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF).

The American Library Association is an equal opportunity employer: Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran

Required Education and Experience


  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree in public policy, foreign affairs, law, or related field preferred.
  • Seven or more years of supervisory experience leading communications, marketing, media or public relations in an association, higher education, corporate, large library, or large non-profit setting with demonstrated success; and
  • Minimum of ten years of relevant experience in advocacy and governmental relations
  • Registered Lobbyist

Knowledge Required

  • Knowledge of contemporary best practices for lobbying.
  • Expert level managerial skills and leadership experience to provide strong team building and management with the ability to supervise professional staff’s performance, evaluate training needs, and provide technical guidance when necessary.
  • Ability to effectively organize and prioritize work, streamline processes, eliminate redundancies, and manage time effectively.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and collaborate authentically with significant partners; willingness to consider diverse perspectives and points of view.
  • Experience in project management, managing complex plans, projects, budgets, and deadlines that require coordination across multiple stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of how to introduce mission-related goals and desired strategies to decision makers in order to get them passed into bills or other policy.
  • Knowledge of the flow between federal, regional, state, and municipal policy.
  • Knowledge of public relations and crisis response strategies.
  • Knowledge of how US policy relates and connects to international policy.
  • Understanding of association management, including member leader groups, member activities, including process, deadlines, and governance.
  • Possesses interpersonal communication skills that include empathy, understanding, and the ability to be able to handle stress and controversy while remaining professional.

Desired Experience


  • Proven ability to establish and maintain effective, collaborative working relationships with other staff and member leaders and to inspire others to support and advance ALA’s mission, core values and strategic goals.
  • Proven success in building and cultivating key relationships and meeting strategic goals.
  • Strong project management, collaborative, analytical, and organizational skills especially when working across diffuse teams and managing competing priorities.
  • Strong presence and credibility and demonstrated abilities in crisis communication.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well under pressure, to meet deadlines while making sound decisions, and to accommodate shifting priorities.
  • Proficiency in office productivity software, content management systems, association management systems, email marketing services, and social media platforms.

Apply online including a current resume and cover letter outlining the strategic value that you will bring to ALA, drawing upon your experience in advocacy, public policy, influencing legislation by building coalitions and developing grassroots networks.


Send the required information to:

American Library Association

Human Resources Department


Job posted: 2023-05-10