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CLA Elections 2017 - Elizabeth Goldman
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Elizabeth Goldman, Burbank Public Library


 Candidate Statement

Hello, voters! My name is Elizabeth Goldman, and I am a candidate for the CLA Board of Directors. You may remember me from last year when I ran for President-Elect and lost. As with many life experiences, lemons turned into lemonade when I was graciously given the opportunity to fill a seat that came open on the Board. In the past year, I have enjoyed getting to know the organization better and contributing to leadership development activities, conference planning and governance. I would love to be able to continue this work and my role on the Board, which is why I am running again for a full term.

My career in libraries has spanned three states and two countries. My first experience was in an academic business library, and since turning my focus to public libraries, I have worked in small rural and larger urban settings, in roles ranging from local history librarian to ILS administrator to library director. This breadth of experience gives me a good perspective on both the challenges and opportunities inherent in a wide variety of library systems. Although I currently work in a city setting as the director at Burbank Public Library, rural libraries will always have my admiration and support for getting incredible work done despite economic and geographic challenges.

Throughout my career, it has been important to me to give back through participation in professional associations. I have served on committees and in leadership roles with ALA New Members Round Table, the Ontario Library Association, CLA and SCLC, as well as numerous other nonprofit organizations. As a relatively recent (2015) transplant to California, I am able to bring new ideas and perspective to CLA on behalf of the membership.

California as a state – and the public, school, academic and special library sectors – will face major challenges in the coming years related to sustainability of funding and the continued fast pace of change to the workforce, learning needs and technology. This is why I’m excited to be part of CLA’s project to establish a framework for leadership development for the state. This work is not about creating the next generation of library directors; it is about crafting and supporting the people at all levels, in all types of libraries, who can be a collective voice for our impact and our relevance. This group will organize, inspire and make change happen.

Through leadership development, the annual conference, special programs and other activities that create a thriving community for library workers, CLA has a great opportunity to shape the future of libraries in California. I thank you for your vote that will allow me to continue to participate in bringing this future into being. 



  1. How do you define leadership?
    A strong leader helps an organization find common ground from among various opportunities, challenges and competing interests and moves everyone successfully toward the future. Leadership is having the ability to rise above yourself and carry out a vision.
  2. Why are you interested in this position?
    I have served as an appointed member of the CLA Board for the past year. While CLA faces some challenges, the organization has positioned itself well to be an active force in leadership development for libraries in California. Having participated in planning efforts for the current leadership grant, I would appreciate the opportunity to contribute to making the organization more relevant and responsive to the needs of California library staff. 

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    My style is collaborative. I believe good ideas can come from any member of an organization and that everyone should have a chance in to participate in future directions. I am a straightforward communicator and believe in learning from failures and celebrating successes.

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    I have many years of experience in organizational leadership, both as a library director and a board member in numerous organizations. One of the strengths I would bring to the position is my experience from outside California. In particular, my former home of Ontario, Canada, has a thriving library association from which I believe we can draw lessons to strengthen CLA’s position.

  5.  What experience do you bring to this position?
    Since moving to California in 2015, I have been in leadership roles at the Pasadena and Burbank Public Libraries. In addition to my current membership on the CLA Board, I have been a Board member of the Ontario Public Library Association and chair of the ALA NMRT Scholarship, Research and Writing Committee. I have served the boards of several other nonprofits and community organizations. My library experience spans both rural and urban settings, public and academic, giving me a good understanding of the needs of a variety of CLA constituents.

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    As a library director, the issue of managing change in a time of decreasing resources is frequently on my mind. I am working on motivating my staff to move our library forward, becoming more responsive to community needs. As part of this, I am closely following trends in community engagement, technology, operational efficiencies, metrics, and organizational culture, particularly around learning.

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    Within the library sector, the team behind the Dokk1 library in Aarhus, Denmark, is very inspirational. The new library that opened there recently shows exactly what a library can be when the community is at the center of decision making. Even more, I am inspired by the process of experimentation and community engagement that went into planning the new library.

    Another thought leader who interests me is the writing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She has written eloquently in her fictional works about race relations, gender relations, and the impact of globalization. More recently, her nonfiction writing and speaking about feminisim and how we can ensure a positive future for the human community have provided much food for thought.

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    Libraries need to be in communication with elected officials, of course, as well as educational institutions at all levels, workforce development centers, technology companies and health organizations. Despite many years of work, we still have a long way to go to convince many stakeholders of the value of libraries to their communities, schools and organizations.  There are opportunities to work more closely with other agencies regionally and at the state level to leverage grant opportunities, partnerships and sharing of resources and knowledge in the many areas where library services overlap other sectors.

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    The most critical challenge for libraries is preparing for the inevitable next economic downturn by learning to be more efficient organizations that make themselves responsive and adaptive to their communities and then can quantify and express the impact on those communities. We are stronger together, so I believe the larger and/or better funded libraries in the state, along with CLA and the California State Library, should be working together to create new metrics and standards that can help everyone make the case for our impact. There are great opportunities around leadership development to ensure there is a strong pool of candidates who already understand these issues and want to move into leadership roles in libraries.

    Board Member At-Large
  10. Describe your experience serving on Association committees and/or interest groups.
    Since moving to California in 2015, I have been a member of the Interest Group Committee and Program Committee. I was appointed to the CLA Board in November 2016.

  11. Describe your network of connections with library professionals and library stakeholders in California. 
    While I am relatively new to California, I have worked actively to develop networks in the library world. Through CLA and SCLC, I have gotten to know many library directors. I have also helped plan and actively participated in several CLA meetups in the Los Angeles area, as well as expanding my network through participation in the 2015 and 2016 CLA conferences.