Ashley Stewart, President-Elect Candidate

Ashley Stewart, Caseyville Public Library District


Statement of Concern 

“It takes a village” - and libraries are at the center of them. We are the hub of our communities and with collaboration and cooperation, progress is made and goals can be achieved. Libraries already provide a safe space, an opportunity for learning and creativity, assistance in times of need… but we can’t (nor should we want to) solve all of the world's problems on our own. My background in Social Work provides a foundation to understanding the needs of the community and how to build strong networks of support. I learned very quickly as the director of a small public library in a diverse community (and with a limited budget) that our success relied on creative partnerships, strategic initiatives, and how to effectively advocate for my board, my staff, and for my patrons.   Too often libraries are used as a social safety net and librarians are forced to take on the role of social workers. My goal while serving on the ILA board is to help expand the field of Library Social Workers and to create opportunities for more libraries to have trained social workers on site so the library staff can focus back to the roles and responsibilities on which they were trained and hired.

That being said, it also “takes a village” to combat censorship. In June of 2021, my library was the first in the Metro East area to organize a Drag Queen Storytime. My board, my staff, and I all experienced hateful messages, voicemails, as well as a physical protest at the library. But what kept us strong and determined were and continue to be all of the alliances that we forged throughout our community and neighboring communities. With that in mind, another goal of mine while serving on the ILA board is to fight censorship - not only to assist our libraries with existing challenges, but also create more protections for our institutions.  “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.” (John F. Kennedy, October 29 1960)  As public servants, we serve ALL members of our community and libraries have a responsibility to create collections, programs, and services that reflect all of our patrons and residents.


Caseyville Public Library District
     Library Director, 2017 - Present

Social Work Advisor, 2022 - Present


Master’s in Social Work, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2013

Bachelor’s in Social Work, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2009


Professional Memberships and Activities

Illinois Library Association (ILA), Member
     ILA Legislative Meetup, Metro East Co-Coordinator, 2020-2022

American Library Association, Member

ARSL, Member

Public Library Association (PLA), Member

Collinsville Township, Trustee

Madison County Community Services Block Grant, Advisory Council Member

Midwest PBIS Network, Interconnected Systems Framework Coach for CUSD 10

Maryville Comprehensive Plan (2021), Committee Member

Rotary Club of Collinsville|Maryville|Caseyville - Past Vice President|Secretary


iREAD Summer Reading Programs

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