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CLA Elections 2017 - Bianca Garcia
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2017 CLA ELECTIONS

  

Bianca Garcia, San Jose State University

Student Representative

Candidate Statement

Libraries are incredibly important for nurturing the emotional and intellectual wellbeing of society, and the workers who staff our libraries deserve a supportive community of fellow professionals. The California Library Association (CLA) has been a reliable source of information and encouragement to library workers, and I would be overjoyed to assist the CLA in facing the challenges of the future. I respectfully ask for your consideration in electing me for the position of Student Representative for the CLA Board of Directors.

My perspective of the library world developed in a unique way. I graduated from San Jose State University in December 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy. My degree taught me to have great respect for the rational powers of the human mind, as well as the many different ideologies that exist in society. I worked for a short time as a library page for the Santa Clara County, and then as an office specialist for the Sheriff’s Office. My experience working in corrections impressed upon me how essential information is to determining one’s life journey. Information can make the difference between discovering new life success and repeating old mistakes. Renewed in admiration for libraries and their commitment to information accessibility, I returned to San Jose State University to pursue a Master’s in Library and Information Science. I anticipate graduating in spring 2018.

I have personally seen the impact information can have on life decisions, and I am determined to give everyone the chance to explore their world through access to information. I want California’s libraries to receive full governmental and societal support and for library workers to be able to use the CLA as a resource for all their professional needs. The future of libraries are important to me, and I would be grateful for the opportunity to help Californian libraries and library workers reach their full potential.

 

 

Questionnaire

  1. How do you define leadership?
    Leadership is the ability to make effective, logical, and positive decisions. A leader identifies good goals, prioritizes the most important ones, and supports a team of individuals in accomplishing those goals. A person is a leader of himself when he controls his physical, mental, and spiritual health and achieves the goals he sets for himself. In the same way, a leader of people cultivates the positive qualities of his followers in order to accomplish certain objectives. 

  2. Why are you interested in this position?
    I am interested in the position of Student Representative primarily because it is an opportunity for me to be of service to others. I have a deep respect for my home state and for the good that librarians accomplish. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to help further the development of Californian libraries and support library workers.


    Library workers are often not given the social recognition that they deserve. Nevertheless, the core services provided by librarians are designed to support others in their intellectual pursuits. Librarians work to serve others, yet are not often recognized for their work. This has led professional librarian associations to become an important source of support for library workers. I wish to support library workers to continue in their essential societal work.

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    My personal leadership style is defined by two qualities: communication and priority. When I assume a leadership position, such as training a coworker on a new skill, I make frequent efforts to communicate with my trainee. I need to check that my trainee understands me and I need to be aware of his feedback and reactions. As a leader, I also value the practice of setting priorities. There are many goals that I would like to achieve, but I can’t reach them all. Instead, I decide which goals and details are most important and set myself to accomplish those with all my energy.

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    I recently graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. Studying for this degree was a life-changing experience for me. I learned that human rationality is an incredible gift that ought not to be wasted or undervalued. I also learned how to be firm in my own conceptions of morality, and yet to also be considerate of the contradictory beliefs of others. It is not tolerance that brings peace among different people, but respect for the value of a fellow human being. The strengths I bring to the position are respect for others and their independent rationalities.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    There are several experiences in my life that have prepared me to act as a Student Representative. One of these experiences includes my time employed as a library page for the Gilroy Library. This was not my first library position, but it was the job that taught me how crucial a library is for a community. While working at the front desk and around the shelves, I met many different people. I met high school students who were determined to do well in their classes. I met parents who spent hours tutoring their children in literature and math. I also met homeless families and groups that had gone through difficult challenges, yet always had a positive goal ahead. As a Student Representative, I bring the experience of seeing the enormous benefit of libraries in society.

    Another important experience is my work as an Office Specialist for the Sheriff’s Office of Santa Clara County. I handled the paperwork of the Weekend Work Program, which is an alternative method of sentencing (rather than jail time). While at the Sheriff’s Office, I learned that the determining factor for an ex-inmate’s quality of life was not money or social connections; it was self-advocacy. Worldly success is dependent on recognizing one’s worth and taking full advantage of it. Every person has worth, and every person has certain skills and talents. It is the individual’s job to use their strengths and let them make a positive impact on the world. As a Student Representative, I wish to incorporate the value of self-advocacy into library culture and support patrons who want to make the most of their personal skills.

    Student Rep position

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    The accessibility of research journals is a major issue in my life at this time. As an online student, I regularly depend upon online articles and resources while completing my school assignments. Yet, I often find myself unable to access digital materials due to cost. Through my personal experiences and the data presented in my class lectures, I realize that the high prices of research journals are harming the pursuit of science. This is an issue of major importance to Californian libraries. If California wishes to maintain its reputation as a place of innovation and invention, then Californian libraries need to find a solution to the increasing cost of research articles.

    Another topic that has frequently appeared in my library studies is the status of correctional libraries. Libraries are an essential tool for incarcerated individuals. Prisoners need libraries to prepare for court cases, to manage family relationships, to continue education, to investigate medical conditions, and to plan for life after release. Nevertheless, most inmates have no internet access, no computer access, and rare chances to visit a physical library. Thousands of Californian residents are imprisoned, released, and returned to custody every year. Correctional libraries deserve much more attention from the library community.

    Another topic that has frequently appeared in my library studies is the status of correctional libraries. Libraries are an essential tool for incarcerated individuals. Prisoners need libraries to prepare for court cases, to manage family relationships, to continue education, to investigate medical conditions, and to plan for life after release. Nevertheless, most inmates have no internet access, no computer access, and rare chances to visit a physical library. Thousands of Californian residents are imprisoned, released, and returned to custody every year. Correctional libraries deserve much more attention from the library community.


  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    A major influence to my philosophy of leadership has been Robert Greenleaf, the creator of the servant-leadership theory. Greenleaf was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, and lived from 1904-1990. He was employed by AT&T for thirty-eight years in various positions of business and management. The servant-leadership theory states that the most successful leader is one that acts primarily as a servant towards his workers and community. The servant-leader is motivated by a desire to bring positive consequences to others. This view is holistic in that it seeks to bring about the goals of an establishment by promoting the workers who run it and the consumers who use it. Greenleaf’s philosophy is wonderfully open-minded and effective.

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    In regards to improving correctional library services, libraries need to increase communication with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as county sheriff departments who manage smaller jails. Correctional staffs and librarians need to find a way to cooperate so that inmates can satisfy their information needs while security threats remain at a minimum. In order to make scientific journals more affordable, library associations need to engage in conversation with the most popular journals in the interest of reducing subscription costs and making valid information available to the ordinary library patron. Finally, state and federal government must be consistently reminded of the importance of funding libraries. 

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    One of the most important challenges facing Californian libraries at this time is educating patrons on how to recognize fake news. An important step to forming an independent opinion is finding reliable sources of information. In California’s democratic society, every person can impact the political, social, and economic conditions of the state. But unless Californian residents are able to locate truthful pieces of information, it will be difficult for anyone to make effective changes to their society. It is the duty of information professionals to teach library users how to judge the reliability of their news sources.

    Another major challenge for librarians is successfully representing multiple opinions in a single environment. Patrons should feel encouraged to study their own beliefs as well as the contradictory opinions of others. This presents an issue of professional development for Californian librarians. The California Library Association can play a major role in supporting librarians in the delicate but essential task of presenting all sides of an issue.
  10. Describe your experience serving on Association committees and/or interest groups.
    This would be my first experience serving on an association committee. As a student new to the field of library science, I am eager to develop relationships among professionals in my field and to foster an environment of shared ideas. I currently take every opportunity to meet new library workers in person and online and I enjoy the diversity of people I have met. I am also scheduled to assist as a volunteer for the upcoming California Library Association annual conference.

  11. Describe your network of connections with library professionals and library stakeholders in California.
    I am a student at San Jose State University and participate in the conventions and workshops offered to MLIS students at my school. These meetings are typically online and include library-affiliated speakers from around the world. I am also a member of the American Library Association, the California Library Association, and the Catholic Library Association. The publications of these three organization have been useful resources to me during my academic studies. I also am an active contributor to the Facebook group called the Library Think Tank.