Board of Directors
Denise Stephens, Chair
Dean of University Libraries, University of Oklahoma
Denise Stephens was appointed the Peggy V. Helmerich Dean of University Libraries at University of Oklahoma in January 2021. Previously, Stephens served as the Vice Provost and University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis, where she managed the University Libraries’ nine locations, the system’s vast archives and special collections, and more than 150 professional and support staff. Before joining Washington University, Stephens served as university librarian at University of California at Santa Barbara for five years. Her background includes a broad range of leadership and management roles related to the intersection of evolving information resource strategies and scholarship in the academic environment. She has actively participated in implementing digital library initiatives and service programs in research university libraries for 20 years. In addition to her current position, she has held leadership roles at Syracuse University, as Associate and Acting University Librarian, and the University of Kansas, where she served as Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer. Early in her career, she helped to launch transformative spatial data services among emerging digital library programs at the University of Virginia. Stephens has a BA in Political Science and a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
City Librarian, San José, California
Jill Bourne is the city librarian in San José, California, overseeing the city’s main Martin Luther King, Jr., Library, in a partnership with the San José State University, and 22 branch libraries. In 2017, Bourne was named the Library Journal Librarian of the Year. A member of the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board and American Library Association Committee on Literacy, Bourne has also been acknowledged as a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker.” Bourne holds a B.A. from New York University and an MLIS from the University of Washington.
Laura DeBonis, Treasurer
Laura DeBonis works as an independent consultant and advisor to tech startups and nonprofits. Recently she concluded her term on the Public Interest Declassification Board at the National Archives, to which she was appointed in 2015 by President Obama and where she served as Co-Chair of the Technology Working Group. Laura has previously worked at EF Education First and Google in a variety of positions including Director of Library Partnerships for Book Search, Google’s initiative to make all the world’s books discoverable and searchable online. Laura started her career in documentary film and multimedia and in strategy consulting for internet businesses. She is a graduate of Harvard College and has a MBA from Harvard Business School. Laura is thrilled to be returning to the board of DPLA!
Director of Culture, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at 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.
Dean of Libraries, Temple University
Joseph Lucia is Dean of Libraries at Temple University. Under his leadership, in 2019 the university 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
Katherine Maher is the former CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia). Prior to leading Wikimedia, she was director of advocacy for the digital rights organization Access Now, where she focused on critical issues of freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy. Prior to Access Now, Katherine worked at the World Bank, the National Democratic Institute, and UNICEF, founding and shaping technology and innovation agendas for international development, human rights, and democratic participation. She is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a security fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She is a trustee of the American University of Beirut, a director of the Digital Public Library of America, and has served in advisory and board roles for the Sunlight Foundation, the US Agency for Global Media’s Open Technology Fund, and the ITU’s GIGA connectivity partnership, among others.
Director, Cleveland Public Library
Felton Thomas is the director of the Cleveland Public Library. During his tenure, Cleveland Public Library was named a “Top Innovator” by the Urban Libraries Council for its use of technology and data to inform decision making. Thomas has been named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker” and has served as president of the Public Library Association, a member of the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet and president of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Thomas earned a B.A. in psychology from The University of Nevada-Las Vegas and his MLIS from The University of Hawaii, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Managerial Leadership in the Information Profession at Simmons College. His library career began at age 13, when he became the youngest employee in Las Vegas-Clark County Library District history.
Executive Director, Black Metropolis Research Consortium
Marcia Walker-McWilliams is the Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) where she provides strategic leadership for the consortium’s 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.
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.
Vice Provost of University Libraries and University Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Elaine Westbrooks is the vice provost of university libraries and university librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Westbrooks has previously held positions at the University of Pittsburgh, Cornell University, University of Nebraska and University of Michigan. She has presented her research at various conferences, including the American Library Association, the Coalition for Networked Information, Dublin Core, and the Library and Information Technology Association. In 2015, Elaine was the recipient of the Foreign Expert Award from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. She has a B.A. in Linguistics and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.
Brian Bannon • Chris Bourg • Sarah Burnes • Cathy Casserly • Paul Courant • Robert Darnton • Luis Herrera • Jamie Hollier • Jennifer 8. Lee • Mary Minow • John Palfrey • Niko Pfund • Amy Ryan • Siva Vaidhyanathan
Community + Open Board Calls
The Board of Directors holds regular Community + Open Board conference calls. The board will strive to host at least one in-person meeting per year (or video-enabled web conference for those who can’t make it).
The Community + Open Board calls are open to the public, per DPLA’s Open Meetings Guidelines.
The next Community + Open Board Call will be held on October 15, 2021 at 2pm ET.
Building Diverse Collections: Promise and Pitfalls
In our Fall Community + Open Board Meeting, we’ll discuss the issues libraries face as they attempt to better understand and diversify their collections. Our panelists will address what is and isn’t working in their own libraries, including the opportunities and limitations of machine learning solutions for building more equitable and diverse collections.
We’ll also share an update on the latest DPLA work, and introduce new board members.
Mahasin Abuwi Aleem, Children’s Collection Management Librarian and co-founder of Hijabi Librarians
Kymberlee Powe, Children and YA Consultant, Connecticut State Library
Andromeda Yelton, software engineer and librarian specializing in humanistic machine learning for library data
Moderator, Elaine Westbrooks, Vice Provost for University Libraries and University Librarian, UNC-Chapel Hill
Open Board Call Schedule
Friday, October 15, 2021
Notes from Past Board Calls
Find notes from previous Board calls in Historical Materials.
Board Responsibilities and Expectations