The American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board has selected Leslie Burger, ’73, as ALA’s interim executive director. ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world.
Burger, whose first day was November 15, 2023, received her B.S. in library and information science from Southern Connecticut State College, SCSU’s earlier incarnation, in 1973.
She brings years of experience as a leader in her field, from her service as president of the American Library Association from July 2006 to July 2007, where she had a depth of involvement in ALA operations, to her position as executive director of the Princeton (NJ) Public Library, where she helped plan, design, and secure funding for a new 55,000-square-foot library that opened in 2004. During 2015-16 she led efforts to redesign and fund the library’s adult services department resulting in more space for meetings, co-working technology and collaboration.
A proven fundraiser, she raised more than $27 million during her 16 years at the Princeton Public Library. She is also the founding partner of Library Development Solutions, which has a long list of clients including urban, suburban, and rural public libraries; academic and special libraries; and library cooperatives.
Burger is an adjunct professor at Rutgers University. She has an MLS from the University of Maryland in College Park and a master’s degree in organizational behavior from the University of Hartford. She has won many honors and awards, including the New York Times Librarian of the Year in 2005.
“We were thrilled with the high caliber of candidates who responded to our interim executive director search, and we are confident that Burger will lead the American Library Association through this interim period with aplomb,” said ALA President Emily Drabinski.
The Board chose Burger because of her knowledge of ALA as its previous president, her broad and deep experience working with libraries across the country on strategic development and community engagement, and her experience with development and capital campaigns.
Burger will uphold ALA’s mission “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.”