Keith M. Fiels, MLS '71

Executive Director, American Library Association

Keith Fiels.

Keith Michael Fiels, MLS, has served as the executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) since 2002. ALA is the largest and oldest library association in the world, and one of the largest professional associations in the country, with a membership of 56,000. Under his leadership, ALA established a new Office for Library Advocacy, dramatically expanded the Association’s professional publishing and professional development program, brought thousands of Friends of Library Groups into the association, worked on a major community engagement initiative for libraries, and established a new ALA Center for the Future of Libraries.

Prior to joining ALA, Fiels served as the director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, where he was in charge of state and federal programs for libraries. In Massachusetts, he led efforts to secure over $500 million in state funds for public library reconstruction and universal access to shared automated networks.

Fiels also served as the president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, as the founding director of a library consortium in New Jersey, and as a planning consultant for the New York and New Jersey State Libraries. He has worked as a public and school librarian and as an independent library consultant.

He earned a BA in philosophy (1970) and an MLS in library and information studies (1971), both from the University at Buffalo, and completed an advanced studies program in library and information science at the University of Denver. Fiels is the recipient of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies Leadership Achievement Award and a Library Public Relations Council Award. He was named to the ALA Association for Library Trustees and Advocates National Advocacy Honor Roll in 2002, and the Massachusetts Library Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

Fiels, a regular columnist for American Libraries since 2002, is the co-author or co-editor of a number of books on planning and technology, has authored multiple journal articles, and has spoken about libraries at hundreds of conferences, workshops and other public events.