Elwood Downing

The SHLB Coalition Announces Additions to Board of Directors and New Officers

Brian Warkoczeski 2017 News, News

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition announces the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors, as well as new Officers for 2017. Sari Feldman (Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library) was appointed to the SHLB Board, and Elwood Downing (VP for Business Development and Community Networks at Merit Network) was elected to the SHLB Board by SHLB Members. Both Members will serve three-year terms beginning January 1, 2017. “I am extremely pleased that these leaders have agreed to join the SHLB Board of DIrectors. They will both advance SHLB’s mission and bring a wealth of expertise and information to support our advocacy on behalf of community anchor institutions and high-capacity broadband,” said John Windhausen, Jr., Executive Director of the SHLB Coalition.


Merit’s Elwood Downing was elected to the SHLB Coalition’s Board of Directors.

“Joining SHLB’s Board of Directors is an amazing opportunity to focus on connecting America’s public libraries to high-speed broadband,” said Feldman. “Connecting our libraries has the power to lift entire communities, and I am excited to help advance that mission.”

“I have been a Member of the the SHLB Coalition since its inception and I am honored and excited to serve on the SHLB Board of Directors to support its mission, vision, and community,” said Downing.

In addition, the SHLB Coalition announces that Crosby Kemper III (Executive Director of the Kansas City Public Library) has been elected as Chairman of the SHLB Board for 2017. The Officers of the Board also include Robert Collie (Parana River Group) as Vice-Chairman, Denise Atkinson-Shorey (CoSN) as Secretary, and Jen Leasure (The Quilt) as Treasurer. Jennie Stapp (State Librarian of Montana), who has served as Chair of the Board for the past two years, will continue to serve on the SHLB Board as Chairwoman Emeritus.

“I’m honored that the SHLB Board, whose members all are leaders in broadband adoption, service, and policy, would choose me for a leadership role in this important national organization,” said Kemper. “It is really a recognition of the work done by the Kansas City Public Library in partnership with other local, regional, and national institutions and organizations. I look forward to not only maintaining but also expanding SHLB’s position as a leader in this effort and to joining our new Presidential administration in finishing the job — assuring the equitable, across-the-board distribution of broadband.”

Additional information about the two new Board members is below:

Sari Feldman is Executive Director of Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), a role she has held since 2003. CCPL has 27 branches that serve 47 communities in Northeast Ohio. Under Feldman’s leadership, CCPL has received the highest overall score among America’s largest metropolitan library systems in Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service for seven consecutive years (2010-2016); and earned nthe publication’s prestigious five-star rating for eight consecutive years (2009-2016). A member of the American Library Association (ALA) since 1990, Feldman has served as chair of the ALA Office for nLiteracy/Outreach Services Advisory Committee (2000-2003), and co-chair of the ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group tasked with advising the association regarding issues related to equitable access to digital content. In May of 2014 she was elected president of the ALA for the 2015-16 term. She is currently serving a term as ALA past-president. Feldman has previously served on the Public Library Association’s (PLA) Every Child Ready to Read (2007-2008) and Pre-School Literacy (2001-2005) task forces. She was elected president of the PLA, a division of the ALA, for the 2009-10 term. Feldman is the recipient of the 2013 PLA Charlie Robinson Award, which recognizes innovative library leadership.

Prior to joining Cuyahoga County Public Library, Feldman served as Deputy Director of the Cleveland Public Library. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from State University of New York at Binghamton and a Master’s in Library Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Since 1984, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, teaching graduate courses in library management, reference services, policy and grant writing. In 1995, Feldman was honored with Syracuse University’s Vice President’s Award for Teacher of the Year. Feldman’s professional affiliations include the ALA, PLA, Beta Phi Mu and the Ohio Library Council. She has advocated for public libraries throughout the U.S. and internationally, and has written widely for professional publications.

Elwood Downing serves as Vice President for Business Development and Community Networks at Merit Network–Michigan’s high-speed research and education network spanning 50 years. He is responsible for new member acquisition, membership growth, and helping communities build network infrastructure to collaborate, share resources and promote their economic development. He has provided strategic leadership, technical consulting, and service engagement to more than 375 Merit Member organizations, including public universities, private colleges, community colleges, K12 organizations, research organizations, government, healthcare, and nonprofit organizations. Downing project managed and provided leadership with fiber-optic community network builds as well. He and his team led the communication and outreach efforts for the ARRA NTIA/BTOP funded REACH-3MC project, which encompassed over 2,300 miles of fiber-optic network infrastructure in 52 counties in Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Downing is a member of the Internet2 U.S. UCAN Advisory Committee. He holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Business Information Systems from Eastern Michigan University.

The full slate of SHLB Board members for 2017 is listed below:

  • Crosby Kemper III (Kansas City Public Library), Chairman
  • Robert Collie (Parana River Group), Vice-Chairman
  • Jen Leasure (The Quilt), Treasurer
  • Denise Atkinson-Shorey (CoSN), Secretary
  • Jennie Stapp (Montana State Library), Chairwoman Emeritus
  • Don Means (Gigabit Libraries Network), Chairman Emeritus
  • Eric Brown (California Telehealth Network)
  • Elwood Downing (Merit Network)
  • Sari Feldman (Cuyahoga County Public Library)
  • Mark Johnson (MCNC)
  • Sean McLaughlin (Access Humboldt)
  • Sascha Meinrath (X-Lab)
  • Susannah Spellman (Internet2/USUCAN)
  • John Windhausen, Jr. (SHLB Coalition)

About SHLB:

The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-capacity broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, DC and has a diverse membership of commercial and noncommercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.