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CLA Elections 2014 - Melanie Lightbody
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Melanie Lightbody: County Librarian, Director of Libraries, Butte County Library

Statement of Concerns

Let’s celebrate! Libraries, library workers, students and library supporters have a lot to be proud of. We not only serve our community members daily, but our libraries stand as physical symbols of hope and aspiration. Yes, even to those who never walk through the door.

The California Library Association does advocacy well. A key part of advocacy is pride. I’m proud of us and what we do. Aren’t you? I’d like to spend my year working with our interest groups and highlighting to local legislators and key decision-makers our people and they work they do; celebrating our everyday library heroes who make a difference to the people we serve.

When we and our institutions are compared to buggy whip makers and buggies it can be disheartening. As it is in professional development, CLA is the librarian’s essential partner in advocacy. Incoming President Robert Karatsu is a mighty proponent for libraries and library staff. I’d love to join in these efforts.


I have wanted to be a librarian since I was six, and living in very rural, remote Westport, Washington. The bookmobile librarian clearly had the best job in the world, driving around with all those books giving children world-opening keys housed inside the colorful covers.

I worked full time on my way through college and library school at academic libraries (small private and large public both) and began my professional career as a YA Librarian at the King County Library System (WA). It gave me experience in and great appreciation for large urban/suburban libraries and the work they do. I’ve spent most of the rest of my career in small and rural libraries and systems; the last 10 years here in California.

I’m the outgoing president of the California County Librarians and the current chair of the Council of Librarians for the Northnet Library System. I’ve served on various professional committees at ALA, including the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) board, as well as intellectual freedom committee member, Conference Chair, and as Secretary then President elect-for the Oregon Library Association. After many years in Mendocino County (which passed a first-ever successful library tax measure while I was there), I’m now happily serving the diverse communities of Butte County here in NorCal. I love my job and love my profession.

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