DPLA expands board with four new directors

By DPLA, October 5, 2021.

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) today welcomes four library and civic leaders to our board of directors: Joshua Frazier-Sparks, Director of Culture, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Walmart; Joseph Lucia, Dean of Libraries at Temple University; Marcia Walker-McWilliams, Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium; and Kelvin Watson, Executive Director of Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. The new members will join DPLA’s next Open Board + Community Meeting on October 15 at 2 pm ET. Register here to attend

“We are thrilled to be adding these leaders’ voices to the DPLA Board,” said Denise Stephens, DPLA Board Chair and Dean of University Libraries at the University of Oklahoma. “Their combined experience runs the gamut from large public library management to publishing to community-based archives to classroom teaching, all sharing the common thread of dedication to information access for all that is at the heart of DPLA’s work.” 

Frazier-Sparks, Lucia, Walker-McWilliams and Watson join DPLA board members Jill Bourne (San José Public Library), Laura DeBonis, Katherine Maher, Denise Stephens (University of Oklahoma), Felton Thomas (Cleveland Public Library) and Elaine Westbrooks (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). They began their three-year terms on September 1.

The board additions are the result of an open call for board nominations that brought in more than 40 nominations. A Board Nominating Committee, made up of Katherine Maher, Elaine Westbrooks, and board chair Denise Stephens, managed the nomination process and recommended candidates to the full board. 

“I want to thank everyone who participated in the nominating process,” said DPLA Executive Director John Bracken. “DPLA benefits from our community’s willingness to share its talents, interests, and backgrounds to our mission of ensuring access to knowledge for all. 

DPLA also thanks Jennifer 8. Lee and Niko Pfund, whose terms as directors recently ended.

Our new board members will be part of our next DPLA Open Board + Community Meeting on Friday, October 15 at 2 pm ET. We’ll be hosting a conversation on the promise and pitfalls of building diverse collections, with Mahasin Abuwi Aleem, Children’s Collection Management Librarian and co-founder of Hijabi Librarians; Kymberlee Powe, Children and YA Consultant, Connecticut State Library; and Andromeda Yelton, software engineer and librarian specializing in ​​humanistic machine learning for library data. DPLA board member Elaine Westbrooks will moderate the discussion. 

And, on October 21 at 1 pm ET, new board member Marcia Walker-McWilliams will moderate our next DPLA Book Talk with Adam Harris, author of The State Will Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal–and How to Set Them Right. You can register here

Joshua Frazier-Sparks

Director, Culture, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Walmart

Kentucky native Josh Frazier-Sparks is a proven thought leader and change agent. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Berea College, he was selected for the Teach for America—New Mexico Corps where he taught middle school science in Gallup, NM. Later, Josh returned to Kentucky and became Executive Director of Teach for America—Appalachia. Through his efforts, the Kentucky legislature created a permanent pathway to nontraditional teacher certification via Teach For America. Josh also developed a teacher training program that delivers measurable student outcomes. He went on to earn an M.Ed. from the University of Kentucky and is in his last semester at the University of Illinois where he is pursuing an MBA. Now living in Northwest Arkansas, Josh led strategy and execution of two philanthropic portfolios at Walmart.org focused on economic opportunity and inclusive communities. Josh now leads strategy and execution of Walmart’s Racial Equity Shared Value Networks where he works with leaders across the business to innovate and optimize efforts to accelerate equity across four key systems including education, finance, criminal justice, and health. 

Joseph Lucia

Dean of Libraries, Temple University

Under Lucia’s leadership, in 2019 Temple completed construction and began operation of the world-class Charles Library, notable for its unique design by architects Snøhetta and local partners Stantec. Prior to serving as Dean at Temple, Lucia served as University Library at Villanova University for eleven years. During his tenure at Villanova, Falvey Library won the 2013 ACRL Excellence Award in the University category. Before assuming his post at Villanova in 2002, Lucia served as Director for Library Technology & Access within Information Resources (a merged library & computing support organization) at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. While at Lehigh, Lucia taught creative writing in the English Department from 1995 through 2002. In addition to his professional work, he is an active amateur musician with a current solo project called Sounds from Upstairs audible on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/jlucia

Marcia Walker-McWilliams

Executive Director, Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC)

Walker-McWilliams provides strategic leadership for the BMRC activities and works to facilitate the discovery, preservation, and use of Black historical collections in Chicago. Marcia received a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree in Social Policy and African American Studies from Northwestern University. She is the author of Reverend Addie Wyatt: Faith and the Fight for Labor, Gender, and Racial Equality (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-author of two upcoming projects:  The Civil Rights Movement Reader (University of Massachusetts Press) with Traci Parker and Revisiting the Black Metropolis: New Histories of Black Chicago (University of Illinois Press) with Simon Balto and Erik Gellman.  Prior to the BMRC, Marcia taught courses in American history and African American Studies at Lone Star College, Prairie View A&M University, the University of Houston and Rice University, where she also served as an Associate Director in the Center for Civic Leadership.   

Kelvin Watson

Executive Director, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District

Watson oversees 25 branches spanning 8,000 square miles, a budget of $77 million, 700 employees, and a collection of 3.2 million items. Watson joined the Library District from the Broward County Libraries Division, where as director he managed 700+ full-time employees and a budget of more than $70 million. Regarded as one of the most highly respected thought leaders in the library industry, he is credited with expanding his customer base in past library management roles, through outreach efforts to underserved and diverse populations.  A current example of this is a partnership with the Regional Transit Commission of Southern Nevada to provide a library app to bus riders using on-board WiFi. This program introduces the library to thousands of potential new customers who may have had no previous library interaction.  Previously, he served as COO/senior vice president for Queens Borough Library. In his prior role as chief innovation & technology officer/vice president, information, technology, and development, he was instrumental in establishing several groundbreaking programs, and he developed and implemented digital divide strategies, which promoted equality and equity for all. He serves on the San Jose State University School of Information, Leadership, and Management Program Advisory Committee, co-chairs the American Library Association Digital Content Working Group, and serves on the American Library Association Business Advisory Group, REALM Project Steering Committee and on the Board of the Book Industry Study Group. He is a past president of Black Caucus of the American Library Association and past Public Library Association Board member. Mr. Watson earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Military Science from Lincoln University in Missouri. He earned his Masters of Library Science Degree from North Carolina Central University and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.