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CLA Elections 2017 - Lana Adlawan
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Lana Adlawan, Oakland Public Library


Lana Adlawan is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services with the Oakland Public Library (CA), a seventeen-branch library system serving the cities of Oakland, Piedmont, and Emeryville. She is also currently serving as Member at Large on the Executive Board for the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA). Lana has worked in large, urban public library systems since 2001, when she was hired as a library aide with the Oakland Public Library. She has also worked for the Brooklyn Public Library (NY) as a youth services librarian, as well as a manager for two branches of the Sacramento Public Library (CA). Lana received her Masters of Science in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lana has been active in the American Librarian Association, EMIERT, APALA and YALSA for over a decade, serving on several committees and was named an ALA Emerging Leader in 2009. Lana has been a member of the California Library Association for several years. In that time, she was a 2011 Eureka! Leadership Institute Fellow, a member of the John and Patricia Beatty Committee, and co-presenter at several CLA Annual Conferences. Lana currently lives in Oakland, California with her husband, where she enjoys working towards keeping libraries essential to the communities they serve.


Candidate Statement

I still remember the moment I joined the American Library Association when I was enrolled in library school. I was incredibly excited to be part of a national movement, working with like-minded individuals towards a shared mission with clearly-defined professional values. I want to continue to bring the excitement that I felt in that moment to new members across the state in my position on the California Library Association Board of Directors.

Membership to the CLA should be accessible and relevant for all levels of library staff. Members should see themselves reflected in CLA leadership and its advocacy efforts. California libraries are leading in a variety of ways to serve our diverse communities throughout the state. CLA can help by better showcasing this collective work. I am dedicated to highlighting the creativity and innovation found in our libraries and will proudly contribute to CLA’s mission of being “... the community for California’s libraries.” 


  1. How do you define leadership?
    Leadership is the quality of making difficult choices in a constantly-evolving environment. Simply put, it is about thinking and acting intentionally--and strategically--through the choices we make. Leadership is focused on guiding an institution and staff in an ethical and responsible way. When I started as a librarian, I challenged myself to expand my leadership skills. Now, as a department head and public services manager, my challenge is to facilitate the growth of my staff and develop the services that my library provides. Leadership means loving what you do and hoping that your passion for the profession and community will inspire others to think beyond themselves.

  2.  Why are you interested in this position?
    In 2011, I became a Eureka! Leadership Institute Fellow. I had recently moved back from the east coast where I was working for Brooklyn Public Library and I applied for Eureka! to be more involved in my state library association. What I remember most about the Institute were the directors and other library leaders in the room emphasizing that the purpose of the Eureka! Institute was to recruit the next generation of California library leaders. I’ve never forgotten that message, nor the support from many of the mentors, who made me feel a responsibility to fulfill that promise. Joining the Board of Directors for the California Library Association would allow me to give back to CLA members and continue to strengthen my connection to my state library association in a new way. I’ve presented at a few CLA conferences and was appointed to the Beatty Committee. I am ready for a new challenge with CLA. I was recently elected to the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Executive Board and think this appointment would complement my potential position on the CLA Board of Directors.

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    The four words my staff and public management team would use to describe my leadership style are: dedicated, approachable, equitable, and flexible. In regards to serving my immediate staff, they mention frequently that they love my open-door policy as well as my willingness to listen to feedback from them on a regular basis. They also benefit from my flexibility because I am willing to change a decision I’ve made because of that feedback. I serve my staff in an equitable way by not restricting access to information and establishing clear guidelines for their work. My dedication to this profession and to my staff is clear in the joy I exhibit while walking through the door at work, and my resolve to provide the best level of service every single day. 

  4.  What strengths would you bring to the position?
    Borrowing some of the adjectives that describe my leadership style, I believe that when one is a member of a board or team, flexibility is key, but dedication is crucial. Honoring a commitment to make equitable decisions for others, as well as being transparent with that decision-making process is also incredibly important. My greatest strength in joining the CLA Board of Directors is my ability to fully engage, make thoughtful suggestions based on my experience and work with the team for the best results.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    My career in libraries started in 2001 when I was hired as a library aide for the Oakland Public Library. Since that time, I’ve worked as a library assistant before pursuing my MLIS, which led me to serve as a children’s librarian, youth services librarian, and branch manager. In 2013, I became the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services with the Oakland Public Library. All of these positions inform my professional perspective, my decision-making process, and influence my vision of where libraries should be heading. Before I became involved in libraries, I had a long career in retail management. I think the combination of these professional experiences helps greatly when considering policy and procedural changes for libraries. In my current position, I am a member of the Library’s public services team. On that team, we collectively recommend system-wide policy and procedural changes, as well as determine annual system-wide budgets. I have also been involved with the strategic planning process with both Sacramento Public Library and Oakland Public Library. I’d like to offer this perspective and experience to the Board, bringing with me a strong background in services to youth, as well as a career in working in large, urban public library systems.

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    For my current library system, we recently implemented a fine-free pilot program for youth 18 and under. To be able to offer this pilot with our ILS, we reduced replacement fees for almost all items to $5.00, dramatically reducing fines and fees for all patrons across the system. We continue to explore a fine-fee program for all ages. We also rewrote our circulation policies to remove unnecessary barriers, like address verification and library card replacement fees, for our patrons. We are currently analyzing privacy protection policies for patrons, increasing our offering of information literacy programs, as well as offering homeless and veteran care clinics. We also developed our fleet of bicycle libraries this year, adding an electric bike option. A crucial part of our service in Oakland is free meals to children and teens, which we offer year-round in several of our branches. We are also, like many of our fellow library systems, engaged in a discussion about what it means to offer ‘neutral’ programs and services in a library setting with our current political and cultural climate.

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    Within libraries, I admire the leadership of Patty Wong, director of the Santa Monica Public Library and, Luis Herrera, City Librarian of San Francisco. What excites me about these leaders is that they center community in all their decisions and they never waver in this focus. I’m also impressed with new library leaders like Jill Bourne, director of the San Jose Public Library, for her ability to make data-driven decisions easily accessible to the public and elected officials. Director Bourne’s ability to fully embed herself in greater educational initiatives for San Jose is also quite impressive. I appreciate Sarah 
    Houghton, director of the San Rafael Public Library, for her focus on technology, privacy, and intellectual freedom. I am also thankful for the work of EveryLibrary and the work they do nationally for libraries. Last but certainly not least in the library field, I’m incredibly inspired by the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, for opening the doors of our national library even wider to increase access to our shared history and treasures. Beyond the doors of the library, but still strongly influencing our daily work, I’m inspired by the tenacity of Senator Elizabeth Warren and awestruck by the legacy of work by Congressman John Lewis.

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    On the most basic level, libraries need to be fully engaged with their regional professional networks to stay informed on local issues affecting libraries, as well as contribute to the collective discussion of service to the community. Libraries should also be engaged with their statewide and national networks for these same reasons. Some of the work that I’ve valued while serving on the APALA Executive Board is the issuing of joint statements across ALA affiliates and drafting letters of support for ALA that fully represent our Asian/Pacific Islander membership. It is through these small acts of advocacy and engagement that change happens through collaboration and it’s exciting to contribute to that change while serving in an official capacity on the Board. Taking an active role in your regional and national professional organizations also means the possibility for greater partnerships that benefit all library communities, as the partnership between Google and ALA on the Libraries Ready to Code initiative. This level of partnership can also happen at the state level, so a close connection to the state library, its strategic directions and funding priorities is also essential. 

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    The most significant challenge to California libraries is stable funding. Without reliable funding sources in place for several years, every single library and library system will be forced to make budget cuts that affect the quality of life for their staff and the quality of service for their community. California libraries have had to stretch miniscule budgets to provide the best level of service for their rural, urban, and suburban patrons, but it is not enough to keep us relevant and indispensable to the public. Library staff are aware of budget shortfalls in their own communities, but only abstractly aware of the greater struggle for national funding. One of opportunities I see for the CLA Board of Directors is to help rally our creative, spirited membership to collectively work to ensure stable funding for California libraries. I also believe that California libraries should take full advantage of our current political and cultural climate to revisit our core values and demonstrate our collective commitment to intellectual freedom.

    Board Member-at-Large

  10.  Describe your experience serving on Association committees and/or interest groups.
    I have been active in several professional associations since 2009, when I was named an Emerging Leader by the American Library Association. Please see the list below for my current and past appointments for CLA, ALA, APALA, and YALSA:

    - 2017-2019 Member at Large, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association Executive Board

    - 2017 Member, YALSA Margaret A. Edwards Committee

    - 2015 Member, CLA John and Patricia Beatty Award Committee

    - 2013-2014 Member, Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee

    - 2011 California Eureka! Leadership Institute Fellow

    - 2011 Chair, Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Young Adult Literature Award Committee

    - 2009-2011 Member, YALSA Alex Awards Committee

    - 2009 Emerging Leader

  11. Describe your network of connections with library professionals and library stakeholders in California.
    I’ve worked in several positions for two large public library systems in California and am closely connected to several participants and library leaders involved in the Eureka! Leadership Institute. I am in regular contact with staff from several San Francisco Bay Area library systems, coordinating on staff training and shared program opportunities. I also did a series of workshops for the California State Library this year, reaching over 150 youth services librarians in the state. Through my CLA conference presentations, attendance at CLA conferences and Beatty Committee involvement, I have had the opportunity to grow my network of CLA members.