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CLA Elections 2017 - Michele A. L. Villagran
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Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran, University of North Texas


Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran is based in the Los Angeles area and is a Lecturer with University of North Texas, and LIS Coordinator for the University of North Texas Master of Library & Information Science programs. She also serves as President and CEO for CulturalCo, LLC focusing in areas of cultural competency, competitive intelligence, emotional and cultural intelligence, and conflict resolution. Dr. Villagran earned her undergraduate degree in Management and International Business from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, her M.L.S. degree in Legal Informatics from the University of North Texas, and her M.B.A. in Strategic Management from the University of North Texas. At Pepperdine University, she completed a Certificate in Dispute Resolution, her Masters of Dispute Resolution, and her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership with her dissertation focusing on cultural intelligence in law firm libraries at Pepperdine University.

Candidate Statement

I am an accomplished librarian, educator, leader, and diversity & dispute resolution professional with 22+ years’ experience in the public and private sectors. My interest in the information profession began back in 1994 when I started my career in librarianship within the public library. I never thought I would move up through various organizations and live in different states to have such enriched experiences. I am interested in serving on the CLA Board in order to make an impact in our community and give back. I believe that CLA should transform lives and enrich the experience of its members. We are very diverse, unique, yet similar that we should leverage all ideas and unite. I believe that all members, regardless of position, have the potential to be successful leaders within the profession. My vision is that we will provide opportunities to discover, create, and share knowledge. This position will give me an opportunity to share my own knowledge and to broaden my network. I would like to share my unique background and expertise to help enrich the skills and professional practices of our members. I also would like to focus on areas of retention and recruitment to make or association even more prominent within California and nationwide. Libraries are an ever-evolving unique being that is so many things to so many people. I am very passionate about having a voice and examining our culture to ensure we are supporting you. Currently, I am a Lecturer with University of North Texas based in Los Angeles, CA and serve as CEO for CulturalCo consulting in areas of competitive intelligence, emotional and cultural intelligence, and conflict management. My undergrad is in Management and International Business, my masters degrees are in Legal Informatics (MLS), Strategic Management (MBA) and Dispute Resolution (MDR). At Pepperdine University, I completed my Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership with my dissertation focusing on cultural intelligence in law firm libraries. I welcome the opportunity to serve you and work with you.



  1. How do you define leadership?
    Leadership has many definitions depending on context, however I feel leadership includes setting a direction, motivating individuals, and engaging with individuals in order to inspire them. In my leadership, I like to help others to have a vision toward an end goal. Leadership involves not only being a visionary, but also coaching and bringing individuals together. Leadership brings together people, expertise, and often leads to innovation.

  2.  Why are you interested in this position?
    I would like to utilize my leadership expertise to help CLA expand in membership, programs and offerings. This position will give me an opportunity to share my thoughts and visions to help the association grow. Having been involved with many other associations, I would like to contribute to my state and give back.

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    I would describe my personal leadership style as transformational. When working with staff or leading projects/committees, I have created a vision with their input and motivated individuals to become engaged. With this style, I am very hands-on and coach to help my team grow.

    I would characterize my communication style as intuitive, yet functional. I am very goal oriented and like to see results. Planning and detail-orientation are strengths of mine. At the same time, I think big picture and how we can get there. I utilize skills such as emotional and cultural intelligence to ensure successful interactions when emotions may be involved or cross-cultural situations.

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    My background and expertise working in differing positions within three different states. I am involved nationally with several associations (LIS and outside the profession). I would like to share my expertise and experiences from other associations with others. Additionally, I am great with time management, organization, marketing, and sales. I love to teach and share knowledge. I enjoy all things diverse; and the cultural experience of every interaction.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    I have 20+ years’ professional library and information science experience from both the private and public sectors. I am involved with many organizations. Currently, I am an Instructor with a university in Texas, however reside in California. My educational background in LIS, management, dispute resolution and organizational leadership all contain skills I would like to share with CLA.

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    Since I am in higher education, I stay on top of what is going on in our industry in order to best serve our students. Curriculum is continually revised to ensure we are teaching the latest. I recently received a grant to re-design a course. Because this course is 100% online, I have been following issues in teaching about online instruction, pedagogy, and adapting and integrating the constant stream of technology into learning. Recruitment and student success are two other areas that are informing my work daily.

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    My top two outside our profession is Simon Sinek and Malcolm Gladwell. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with both of them. I was so amazed by each of them. Within libraries, I would say my top two are Stephen Abram and Ron Wheeler (past-president of AALL). Both are influential and inspiring.

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders that libraries need to be in communication with?
    From CLA standpoint:
     - California State Library
     - Special Libraries Association chapters (SC, SF, SV, Sierra Nevada, SD). I would even say all West chapters (Hawaiian-Pacific, OR, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mtn). I am involved nationally with SLA and the SLA-SCC and SLA-SD chapters.
     - Academic library systems (for example Community College, UC, Cal State)
     - Public library directors
     - California Library Trustees and Commissioners

    From a library standpoint, libraries need to be in communication with agencies (local and state) and community sources. Anyone can be a stakeholder for a library. Patrons hold a stake in their library. Local businesses and agencies (i.e., Chamber of Commerce) should also be a stakeholder that libraries communicate with regularly.

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    One area that I have particularly focused on is diversity including generations. We now have a challenge with the diversity of generations not only in the workforce, but also as patrons. Service demands are different and library services need to change. This presents an opportunity for us to truly examine and provide the best-suited resources and needs for each generational group.

    Another challenge that is still of concern is the transition from print to digital. Technology; platforms such as Overdrive have helped in offering collections in electronic form.  

    I teach a course called “Economics of Information.” One area of discussion is that of the value of information and how libraries have cut, laid off or closed. I feel we are bouncing back, but need to be ten-steps ahead in order to be ready for another budget cut to libraries. The current Federal threat due to the federal budget has IMLS grant programs in jeopardy. Eliminating key federal library funding will have a huge impact on libraries of all kinds. LSTA funded through IMLS is the primary source of library funding. So many great programs that provide services to Americans would not be able to go on. I am watching this particularly and have contacted my representatives.

    A very current challenge and yet an opportunity is that of “fake news.” I think this is more of an opportunity because it allows libraries to truly shine in what we do and who we are.


    Board Member At-Large

  10. Describe your experience serving on Association committees and/or interest groups.
    My experience has been very positive and that is why I keep coming back to serve and support organizations. I like to be involved to help make a difference in our profession. I have served on association committees and interest groups since I joined associations back in 2002. For example, currently, I am on a committee to help plan the JCLC conference next year. I am also the Past President of SANDALL and a current member of the Diversity & Inclusion taskforce for SLA. I am also involved with section/division/caucuses of different associations.

  11. Describe your network of connections with library professionals and library stakeholders in California.
    I am a huge networker and a believer in networking. My network of connections with library professionals and stakeholders in California spans the spectrum of diversity. I am connected with newer members in the profession to those that have been in the profession for many years. Ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and library experience are all diverse. I regularly use my LinkedIn as my professional network and have made many long lasting relationships through networking. I make an effort to get to know you and stay connected. I have lived in California for 10 years now and one of my prior positions was as a Librarian Relations Manager. I had a territory of about six states where I would regularly meet with directors and librarians. In a prior position as director of recruiting, I became even more connected with directors and those seeking positions. More recently, in my current position, my network has expanded even further as I recruit and host events for our California cohorts (Greater Los Angeles and Northern California). Attending conferences, presenting at events and working exhibit halls has all helped increase my connections within the profession. I have consulted with several libraries and worked with stakeholders to address their pain points and provide them with services to help them succeed.