The Landmine has obtained an email from Ashley Reed, a long-time Juneau lobbyist, that was sent to members of the Anchorage Assembly supporting Judy Eledge. Eledge is Mayor Dave Bronson’s second choice for head librarian. Bronson’s first pick, Sami Graham, failed to be confirmed by the Anchorage Assembly 4-7. Six votes are needed for confirmation. After she failed to be confirmed, Bronson surprised the room by announcing Graham as his new chief of staff. Three days later, Bronson announced Eledge as his new pick for head librarian.
The email from Reed was sent to Assembly members less than 8 hours after Bronson officially appointed Eledge head librarian on August 27. Several members of the Assembly have stated that the head librarian needs to have a Masters in Library Science (MLS). Neither Graham or Eledge have that degree, but both have education degrees and experience.
In his email, Reed opened with, “I have been an Anchorage resident for 39 years actively engaged in government and politics; nonetheless, this is the first time I have ever written to Assembly members.”
When asked for a comment about his email to the Assembly, Reed stated, “Does the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources need a degree in geology? Does a hospital administrator need a medical degree or need to know how to run an MRI machine? Does the director of the Municipality’s Library system need a Masters in Library Science? Of course not and anyone suggesting otherwise probably doesn’t have the intellectual acumen or sufficient understanding of management to be fit for public office.”
When asked for comment about Reed’s email, Eledge responded, “I appreciate Mr. Reed’s email. He and I rarely agree but I have learned that in politics, and in life, you have to learn to work with people. People who know me know I will work hard and be fair in my decision making.”
Here is the full email:
Dear Anchorage Assembly Member,
I have been an Anchorage resident for 39 years actively engaged in government and politics; nonetheless, this is the first time I have ever written to Assembly members. I am writing in support of Judy Eledge’s confirmation to serve as the director of the Municipality’s Library system.
On a personal level, Ms. Eledge and I often don’t see eye to eye politically; however, she has always treated me with respect, kindness and has shown interest in my views and perspective.
Professionally, Ms. Eledge brings more than 40 years of education experience to the table. That experience spans the classroom, as a school administrator, member of the Alaska State Board of Education, and as an employee of the Department of Education where she helped develop and promote curriculum and programs to advance reading and literacy.
Ms. Eledge brings a lifetime of knowledge and passion related to reading and literacy. The governor recognized her work in this area during his 2020 State of the State address.
Does she have a Masters in Library Science? No.
I submit Ms. Eledge’s credentials far exceeds the qualifications necessary to do an excellent job in the position.
There are plenty of employees in the library system that have MLS degrees. What our library system needs is someone with passion, leadership skills, professional experience and a strong work ethic.
For those of you hung up on the need for an MLS degree to head the Municipality’s Library system, I would suggest stepping back and taking a macro-look at what is needed. If you think the director is going to be spending their time deciding what shelves certain book categories should be placed and consequently need that MLS, I would suggest you have little or no business even voting on this matter.
The vast majority of our nation’s Library Directors do not have MLS degrees. Let’s not get caught up in being petty. You are all better than that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this correspondence. I would appreciate your favorable consideration.