The Anchorage Assembly will hold an Aug. 24 confirmation hearing of Mayor Dave Bronson’s nominee to lead the Anchorage Library system. Bronson tapped Sami Graham, an Alaskan-born, life-long educator with an extensive background in promoting arts and culture.

She is currently serving as library director, but the Assembly must approve the appointment in order for her position to become permanent. The Aug. 24 Assembly meeting is an opportunity for the public to weigh in on Graham’s appointment.

If confirmed, Graham would succeed former Library Director Mary Jo Torgeson, a controversial figure who oversaw the implementation of Drag Queen Story Hour for children, the launch of critical race theory book clubs and the promotion of LGBTQ books and political activism in the library.

Graham has served as an educator and principle in both public and religious schools. Most recently, from 2015 to 2019, she worked as the elementary principal of Grace Christian School in Anchorage.

Previously she served as an Anchorage School District principle for Trailside Elementary and worked as a teacher for more than 20 years. She holds two master’s degrees, one in educational leadership and another in counseling. Additionally, she has a bachelor’s degree in music education and an elementary education certificate from the State of Alaska.

Graham has an extensive history of actively promoting and participating in theater, classical music and cultural events. She has performed with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, is a former Alaska Light Opera member, volunteer for the Solo-Ensemble festival and a founding member of the Anchorage Nordic Ski Club.

According to her resume, she has been married 37 years, has three grown children, and is a retired hockey mom. She has served her church as an elder, deacon, VBS leader and missionary. She enjoys gardening, reading, the arts and Alaska’s outdoors.


  • Click here for information on how to participate in the Aug. 24 Assembly meeting where Graham’s confirmation vote is scheduled to take place. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.

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Public can weigh in on Bronson’s choice to lead Anchorage’s libraries

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Proud Alaskan says:

    We need Graham’s as our new library lead.
    To Stop all this ( Drag Queen Story Hour for children, the launch of critical race theory book clubs and the promotion of LGBTQ books and political activism in the library)

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Sami is a compassionate conservative. We need to overwhelmingly show support by submitting written support, signing up for phone testimony at the August 20the work session and/or show up for in-person testimony on the same date.
    For written submissions:
    The Assembly encourages anyone wishing to provide input on w​ork session topics to email written comments to

  • Carrie Smith says:

    Good choice for library director. She has a lot of experience and is well educated.

    Speaking of being well educated…
    PRINCIPLE: a rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.
    PRINCIPAL: the person with the highest authority or most important position in an organization, institution, or group.

    PRINCIPAL would be the appropriate title is this article, which is very good, save this one error.

  • A. N. Gottschalk says:

    Dear Editor,

    Sami Graham is an easy confirmation. Many of the social functions hosted at the Anchorage Public Library–social functions that the Watchman and others may find objectionable–can be hosted elsewhere: the public library is not the only forum or public venue in the area.

    In passing, I am astonished at the vileness that many of your “interlocutors” display regarding many of the issues on Watchman’s site. What kind of society have we become where ordure passes as wit, wisdom, and thoughtful discourse? The Watchman–as one of so many websites–has become an “online-loo” where many of the desiccated and mean spirited gather en masse to relieve themselves.

    In the resent past you might have seen liberals and conservatives reasoning over a glass of beer or a cup of coffee, thoughtfully listening to the other’s opinions. Surely they often disagreed with each other, but politely so.

    Gauged by the postings at the Watchman, the proletariat won’t see any difference in the operations of the library under Graham! As functional illiterates they wouldn’t even notice the loss of the library system were it completely closed; and, certainly, they wouldn’t the see the benefits were the system’s book holdings doubled or quadrupled!

    You have the acumen to reformat the mode of discourse at the Watchman and thus influence thoughtful decisions. Difficult as the task may be, take the Watchman to the high roads: leave the filth to those who wallow in it!

    As for Sami Graham, she is an easy confirmation!