About Molly

Molly Raphael, President of the American Library Association, 2011-12

Molly Raphael is 2011-12 President of the American Library Association (www.ala.org).  As ALA president, Raphael is the chief elected officer of the oldest and largest library organization in the world.  Established in 1876, the American Library Association has nearly 61,000 members.  Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

Molly Raphael served in urban public libraries for 40 years.  In 2003, Raphael was recruited to lead the award-winning Multnomah County Library (MCL) in Portland, Oregon.  During her tenure, she increased diversity in library employment, collections and programming and was awarded the Arthur Flemming Civil Rights Award.  Under her leadership, MCL achieved consistently top national rankings among urban public libraries and the highest gross circulation of any library in the country, surpassing libraries serving much larger populations.  MCL, a nationally recognized leader in developing early literacy services and programs to reach out to underserved, culturally diverse communities, was selected in 2009 to receive the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries.  Raphael retired in 2009.

Raphael’s 33 years at the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) began as a youth librarian and culminated in her appointment as Library Director in 1997.  For over two decades in senior positions, Raphael played a significant role in transforming public libraries to embrace the digital age and become centers supporting neighborhood development.  During her DCPL tenure, Raphael led efforts to create an adult literacy program, developed services for at-risk children and families, and managed the implementation of new technologies that changed the way libraries deliver services.  She co-developed the first public library service in the US serving the deaf community.

As ALA President, Raphael serves concurrently in President of ALA’s Allied Professional Association.  She also serves ex officio as a Trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Raphael has been an active member of the 61,000-member American Library Association for 38 years.  Prior to serving as ALA President, she served a year as President-elect in 2010-11.  She also served on the ALA Executive Board, three terms as a Councilor-at-Large, and member or chair of several ALA-wide committees (Budget Analysis and Review Committee, Intellectual Freedom Committee, Nominating Committee, Coordinating Committee on Access to Information, and Committee on Professional Ethics).  In addition, she served as President of the Library Leadership and Management Association (a division of ALA), President of the District of Columbia Library Association, and active member of the Urban Libraries Council for many years.  She founded ALA’s unit on library services for people who are deaf in the late 1970’s.

Raphael has served on boards for many organizations and institutions.  In the past decade, she has served on four university advisory boards for graduate library and information science programs (Emporia State University/Portland Program, Kent State University, San Jose State University/Executive MLIS, and University of Washington/s ischool).  She has published in professional books and journals.

Raphael received her M.S. in Library Science from Simmons College and was awarded its Alumni Achievement Award in 2006.  She holds an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College (OH).

Click here for a detailed list of Molly’s career history, professional service, honors, awards, and publications