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CLA Elections 2017 - Michelle Perera
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2017 CLA ELECTIONS

  

Michelle Perera, Pasadena Public Library

President

I am the Pasadena Public Library Director (going on 9 months now), and formerly the Rancho Cucamonga Library Director.  I have 25 years of experience in public libraries, a history of volunteering and service to the CLA, a commitment to fiscal responsibility, grant writing and fund development experience, commitment to developing staff, and 7 years of teaching for the SJSU SLIS program.  I have served in various capacities for CLA, from program chair to events chair to conference chair to sponsorship chair to CLA Board Member.  I am also very interested in fund development and in the last 15 years, I have written or team member for grants totaling almost $10 million.  This year, I am helping with sponsorships for the 2017 CLA conference and have brought in almost $65,000 so far.  And, last but not least, I love creating professional development opportunities for my staff and colleagues, and in that capacity, have taught for the SJSU SLIS program and created the Staff Innovation Fund training program (that, through the California State Library, reached 25 libraries systems, 400 staff, and granted out over $500,000 to those jurisdictions). 

And, on a personal note, I love to travel, play board games, watch terrible reality TV, go to shows, feed all the neighborhood cats, and dote on my 7-year old tabby – Cleo Kitty.

 

Candidate Statement

The California Library Association is an organization that, for over 100 years, has been committed to supporting the mission and goals of librarians and libraries through professional development, networking, collaboration, and advocacy.  I believe in the mission of CLA and am deeply invested in the growth and success of our State Association.  A strong CLA means stronger librarians and libraries, which means stronger communities.  As someone who has benefited from CLA over the years, running for President-Elect is my way of trying to give back to the Association and our profession.  It is our responsibility as library professionals to help grow and fortify CLA into a robust, influential, and stable organization that will serve as a foundation for future generations of library workers.  In the last few years, CLA has made tremendous progress in moving both the Association and the profession forward.  But, there is still more that we need to do:

  • Develop library staff to be the future leaders, innovators, and change agents in our profession – and most importantly, finding the resources so to do.
  • Ensure CLA is financially stable for the future and transparent in its actions.
  • Advocate for legislation that will bring and protect valuable resources for all libraries across California, including infrastructure, high speed broadband, net neutrality, stable funding, etc.
  • Create more inclusive member services to make CLA membership and participation a must for all library workers.
  • Be a nimble organization that can respond quickly to the rapidly-changing needs of libraries.
  • Enhance the brand image of CLA and libraries by promoting and telling the story of the innovative services and programs that all libraries provide, as well as showcasing the value libraries bring to communities.

There are so many opportunities to keep CLA moving forward and I think I am the candidate to lead this effort as President-Elect.  I am deeply committed to the success of CLA and because of that, I ask you for your vote today.

 

Questionaire

  1. How do you define leadership?
    I think leadership can be defined in lots of ways – visionary, innovative, authentic, honest, transparent, risk-taker, influential, successful, nurtures growth, inspiring, motivational… but I think what allows you to be all these is trust.  I think a true leader is one that is able to build trust with others by being honest, authentic, and believing in their team, and, because of that trust is able to establish a shared vision, which leads to shared success.

  2. Why are you interested in this position?
    As someone who has tried to play a part in the growth [out of the recession] of CLA in recent years, I feel like we are embarking on something new and reinventing the Association.  I want to continue to be part of that in a leadership capacity.  I think I’m the right person at the right time – someone who has been in the profession for a while and has attended almost every CLA for 22 years, but also someone who is forward-thinking and wants to keep the Association moving forward and evolving as our profession does.  I think my experience is suited to the role of CLA President and anyone who knows me, knows I have and will continue to contribute to CLA.  I also think CLA can play an even greater role in libraries at the statewide level in the future and I’d like to be part of that.

                                                               
  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    I am pretty straightforward, honest, and transparent.   Trust (both ways) is very important to me so I work hard to ensure that is established.  If you want to know something, ask me.  I am not afraid of having tough conversations.  I am trustworthy – if you confide in me, it goes no further.  I’m willing to do whatever it takes.  Bottom line is I am someone who is willing to lead the parade but also willing to be in the back picking up the elephant sh*t.  

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    Innovation and Creativity – I am pretty good at coming up with ideas that benefit my organization.  In my previous job, I created the Play and Learn Islands and Staff Innovation Fund that not only benefited the California Library Community, but was an entrepreneurial  opportunity for my library (and between the two brought in over $800,000 to my library).  For CLA, I came up with the idea of a “night track” while working on the 2015 conference.  This allowed for a different kind of lineup, something a little edgier, but most importantly, it gave those that worked all day the opportunity to attend conference at night. 

    Passionate about staff development – I have always been an advocate and cheerleader for professional development.  I taught for the SJSUSLIS program for 7 years, created the Staff Innovation Fund training program (that reached 25 libraries systems, 400 staff, and granted out over $500,000 to those jurisdictions).  I also created a robust staff training program in my previous library, spending about $50,000 annually on staff development (for a 2-library system), and built a $200,000 staff development fund.


    Network – I think a strength of mine is my network of colleagues.  Over the years, through work, professional associations, meetings, etc., I have built a rapport with a lot of the California Library community and feel that network can be leveraged as CLA President to help move the association forward. 


    And, lastly, it isn’t necessarily a strength, but I have a fundamental belief in the mission of CLA.  I think a strong CLA will make for strong librarians and libraries.  And to be honest, whether in a board role, President role, or civilian librarian role, I’m committed to moving CLA forward, and have shown that over the years.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    I have 25 years of experience in public libraries, a history of volunteering and service to the CLA, a commitment to fiscal responsibility, grant writing and fund development experience, commitment to developing staff, and 7 years of teaching for the SJSUSLIS program.


    - 25 years in public libraries – experience working in Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Glendora, and San Marino libraries.  I am now the Director of the Pasadena Public Library.  Whereas the full details are in my resume, I think my experience shows a strong commitment to public service, the library profession as a whole, volunteering for the association, and helping to develop library staff across the state.

    - CLA Volunteer work – I have served in various capacities for CLA, from program chair in 2010/2011, to events chair in 2013, to conference chair in 2014 and 2015, to sponsorship chair in 2017, to CLA Board Member from 2011-2014.  In all these areas, I have given hundreds and hundreds of hours of time to fulfill these roles – schlepping equipment at 2am after night track, planning and implementing the silent auction, helping stuff envelopes, you name it.  I have also donated to CLA’s silent auction and to the scholarship fund.  And last, but not least, I brought my Library in as an exhibitor to CLA for many years.


    - Grant Writing / Fund Development – I have written many successful (and some unsuccessful) grants.  In the last 15 years, I have written all or part of grants totaling over $10 million.  I have also been a part of fund development at my library, working with the Library Foundation to raise money for the library.

    - Staff Development / Teaching – I taught for the SJSUSLIS program for 7 years, created the Staff Innovation Fund training program (that reached 25 libraries systems, 400 staff, and granted out over $500,000 to those jurisdictions).  I also created a robust staff training program in my previous library, spending about $50,000 annually on staff development (for a 2-library system), and built a $200,000 staff development fund.

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    - Fiscal responsibility
    - Mental Illness and homelessness

    - Leadership development

    Aging infrastructure
    - Reimagining ourselves

    - Organizational culture

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    - I am always interested in what people like Jim Collins, Daniel Pink, Sir Ken Robinson, and Simon Sinek have to say and what Peter Drucker had to say.


    - Although not one person, I like to follow library lists, social media, library journals, etc.  It’s a great way to see what our field is thinking about and doing.


    - Children’s Museums – although not a library, I am very interested in the children’s museum world.  Their mission runs quite parallel to ours in terms of early childhood education, so I have followed and incorporated many aspects into my libraries.


    - Specific people in the library world – Maureen Sullivan, Carla Hayden


    - And, there are a couple people who I consider thought partners – with whom I brainstorm and bounce ideas off

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    If I created a general list, it would include:

     - Local, state, and national elected officials

     - Board members and commissioners

     - California State Library and State Librarian

     - California Library Association and Leg Committee

     - Southern California Library Cooperative or your local system

     - School board and school district administration

     - Media – local newspapers, magazines, online media

     - Pasadena specifically – City lobbyist, Collaborate PASadena, Pasadena City of Learning Group, Council for the     Young Child, Pasadena Cultural Leaders Group, Library Foundation, Community Foundation, Friends of the           Library and Associates Group.
     - League of California Cities – have exhibited there for several years

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now
    Challenges: 
     - Stable funding / sustainable funding / funding for aging infrastructure or new construction
     - Customers with mental illness, drug use, etc.

     - Net neutrality, high speed broadband

     - Professional leadership development

     - Using social media effectively
     - Telling our story
    Opportunities
    Becoming community hubs
    - Maximizing the potential of social media

    - Providing resources and being a trusted place for immigrants, vulnerable populations, early learning

    - Developing the next generation of leaders in the profession

    President-elect

  10. Why are you the best candidate for this position?
    I think I have the right background and experience for this position.  I have proven my commitment to CLA and its success over the years through hundreds of hours of volunteer work, serving on CLA Board, and donating to various fundraisers.  In addition, I have not only come to the table as an individual, but as a Library.  Since I am still new in my current Pasadena Library Director position, I’ll speak to my work at Rancho Cucamonga helping CLA.  While at Rancho, we provided logistical support to CLA – stuffing badges and envelopes for conference, our staff person designed the program, we brought in almost all the laptops, speakers, and mics for the 2015 conference in Pasadena, we did all the logistics for the silent auction, including bringing all the supplies, we have stored CLA paraphernalia at the Library, etc. 

    But, all that aside – I want to do this and believe I would be the best candidate because I am committed to the evolution of CLA and want to see CLA do even more for the California Library community.

  11. What makes CLA’s mission meaningful to you?
    Simply put, when I graduated from library school 21 years ago, the goal I wanted to achieve before I retired was to leave my profession a little better than how I found it.  Every decision I have made, job I have taken, and idea I have come up with, and work I have done has been in support of that goal.  That is what CLA’s mission is – “to provide leadership in the development and improvement of library services, librarianship, and the library community.  We help members excel in a fast-changing job market. We're a resource for learning about new ideas and technology, and we actively work to influence legislation affecting libraries and librarians.” This mission is what I have worked towards my whole career.  

    Running for CLA President isn’t something I want to do as a resume builder – it’s something I want to do “provide leadership in the development of library services…” and give back to my profession.