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Insider Article [December 2012] [12/04/12] (Executive Director’s Message)
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Executive Director’s Message

CLA & Mike Dillon: Asia Foundation's Library and Community Study Tour
CLA Lobbyist Mike Dillon and CLA Executive Director Carol Simmons are pictured along with librarians from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.  The photo was taking in one of the CA Senate budget hearing rooms, after a presentation by CLA and Mike Dillon on the legislative and advocacy process which was part of the Asia Foundation's Library and Community Study Tour.

It has been a true pleasure and privilege to serve as your CLA Executive Director for the last 18 months. As I work with the very capable Rosario Garza (currently Executive Director of the Southern California Library Cooperative) on her transition to CLA ED, I want to take some time to reflect on what we have been able to accomplish, with your help, at CLA.

When the management group headed by Linda Crowe (Califa, PLP) and Rosario took on this challenge and asked me to come in as the part-time ED, I would never have imagined what the job would really entail, and it has been an amazing experience.  CLA had been through a great deal of turmoil and many leadership changes over the past few years, and I am happy to be able to say that we now have a stable and financially secure organization.  Many thanks to all who worked hard to make this happen—in particular the CLA Board and Presidents Paymaneh Maghsoudi and Wayne Disher, our wonderful Programs Director (and soon to be Associate Executive Director) Natalie Cole, our terrific Operations Manager Wayne Walker, and our great IT team headed by Monica Schultz.

I also want to recognize the amazing work of CLA’s lobbyists, Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, and their very responsive and talented administrative staff member, Jessica Gauger. Who would have believed that after losing all state funding we would have been able to restore $4.7 million to California’s libraries during this tumultuous legislative session?  Special thanks for this amazing feat go to Jane Light, Chair of the Advocacy and Legislation Committee, the committee, and all the CLA members, friends and library advocates who wrote, faxed and called their legislators.

What has been most heartening to me as CLA ED has been the willingness of CLA members to step up and assist us in the process of rebuilding this organization.  Our Interest Groups have done a tremendous job of expanding and enhancing the Spring Fling program beyond California’s borders, and the enthusiasm with which our new summer reading partnership with the Illinois Library Association has been embraced is most gratifying.  Our partnership with the Packard Foundation has also grown, and we hope to use this relationship as a model to provide CLA members with more opportunities in the future.

And so, as I prepare for a year off from the working world and a transition to a new career focus, what I really want to say is “Congratulations to CLA’s Membership, Board and Staff” on the progress made, and for making this a relevant, forward-looking organization.

All my best wishes to you during this holiday season, and for a successful 2013!

Carol Simmons, Executive Director
California Library Association