Andrew AlbanesePolitics makes for heated conversations. Any warmth will be welcome in Chicago in late January, though, where the American Library Association is holding its annual Midwinter Meeting. There, the race for ALA President is underway and promising to be generate excitement.

“ALA politics is generally not of much interest, but this year, I think it’s clear that’s starting to change,” notes Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “In particular, the ALA presidency has markedly evolved. It has always been an honor to serve as ALA president, of course. But usually, the role has been rather sleepy. With the rise of digital, though, that has changed.”

Currently, there are four announced candidates for the job, and as Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally, one stands out: Jamie LaRue, former director of the county library system in Douglas County, Colorado.

“LaRue is a pioneer and major advocate of libraries developing their own e-book platforms and systems— to the point of being labeled radical by some. Make no mistake, if LaRue wins, it will represent a major shot over the establishment bow that librarians are looking to take stronger control over their digital future,” Albanese says.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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