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CLA Elections 2015 - Jill Bourne
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Jill Bourne, San José Public Library

Board of Directors

Candidate Statement

Like the state itself, California libraries are dynamic, diverse, and represent a huge spectrum of people, skills, resources, beliefs, and needs.  I would like to be involved with the leadership in the California Library Association in order to re-envision how CLA connects with, represents, and supports the librarians and staff who are serving these many populations.  I think I represent every librarian or staff member who is busy trying to create awesome things for their communities, and the Association that serves us should acknowledge and find ways to support our goals.  At a minimum, every librarian in California should know what CLA’s does, how it is relevant, and who to talk to in order to get involved. 


Jill Bourne was appointed City Librarian for the San José Public Library (SJPL) in July 2013.  Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, SJPL serves a diverse community of more than one million residents, annually attracts more than 6 million visitors and circulates nearly 10 million items, and includes 23 branch libraries and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, operated in partnership with San José State University.


With a focus on knowledge access, public technology, and community learning, Bourne is committed to enhancing the relevance and leveraging the value of public libraries in the communities they serve. Under Bourne’s leadership, the San José Public Library successfully secured long-term funding stability for the Library with the passage of a 25-year extension of an existing annual parcel tax, which passed by an overwhelming 81% in the June 2014 election.  Also, in 2014, Bourne worked with the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership to secure a public-private collaboration with eBay to develop SJPL’s first-ever summer reading app and website.  In July 2015, Bourne led the implementation of the expansion of operating hours at SJPL, increasing public access to branch libraries from four days to six days per week at all 23 locations.  She was recently named a “2015 Woman of Influence,” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.   

Bourne’s first post in California was as Deputy City Librarian in San Francisco, which she held from 2006-2013.  Bourne was named a "Mover and Shaker" in 2009 by Library Journal and led San Francisco Public Library’s GreenStacks environmental program, which received a "Top Innovator" award from the Urban Libraries Council in 2010.  Bourne began her professional career at the Seattle Public Library where she held several positions over nine years – children’s librarian, youth materials selector, head of the Central Library, and, finally, Assistant Director for Public Services. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from New York University and a master's in Library and Information Science from the University of Washington.

Bourne is currently a member of the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board and a mentor in the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators, a global libraries program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  She has served as a Knight Foundation advisor on re-imagining public libraries and represented public libraries at the 2014 Aspen Institute Forum on Communication and Society.  Her favorite books are Absalom, Absalom! and Pippi Longstocking.