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CLA Elections 2017 - Alejandra Alfaro
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Alejandra Alfaro, San Diego Public Library

Student Representative

I am currently in my second semester of MLIS classes at San Jose State University. After graduating from UCSD in 2014, I was hired as a library aide and then a library clerk with the San Diego Public Library system. I currently work as a Library Clerk at the San Diego Public Library on Saturdays and as a Library and Technology Assistant at an all girls private high school from Monday to Friday. I absolutely love both jobs and wish that I could do both full time! Nevertheless, through my experience at both positions I have realized that I would like to pursue a career as  Youth Services Librarian. Some of my interests include literacy, meditation, and environmentalism.


Candidate Statement

As a new student in the MLIS program I want to make sure that I take advantage of every opportunity made available to me. I have always been a big believer in the motto “work hard and be nice” and for this reason, I would like to be a student rep so that I can work hard to help new students like myself become aware of the many library and information opportunities available to students in California. I specifically plan to do this by remaining engaged with students and library leaders to ensure that ideas are being shared and acted on, so that we as a community can innovate libraries to ensure that all of our stakeholders have access to quality 21st century services.



  1. How do you define leadership?
    I believe that a leader is someone who displays compassion in regards to all aspects of decision-making and delegating. A leader is also someone who listens mindfully to the opinions and demands of others. Similarly a leader is someone who always has the people's best interest in mind. They also acknowledge that their role as a leader has the potential to influence people in a significant manner, thus it is the leader's responsibility to be dedicated to transparency and honesty at all times. Finally, I believe that true leaders inspire others to be the best versions of themselves by providing guidance and opportunities for growth.

  2. Why are you interested in this position?
    I am interested in the Student Rep position because I believe that this position will provide me with the opportunity to learn about leadership and to grow as an information professional. I also have a strong passion for my home state of California and would love to be a representative for my fellow students who are interested in seeing the Libraries of California flourish.

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    As mentioned, I do my best to approach every aspect of my life with a sense of compassion towards others and to myself. This means that I mindfully listen to what others are saying and I utilize empathy to guide my leadership. As a dedicated meditator, I have utilized my practice to think before I act or speak. I believe that my ability to pause has allowed me to make the best decisions, especially during difficult situations. Overall, I believe that even during difficult situations I can make rational decisions that will benefit my community.

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    As the daughter of immigrants, I have the ability to contribute a diverse perspective to issues concerning many Californians. In addition to my unique life experience, I am also a hard worker. This is evident through my Bachelors in Human Development from UCSD and through my ability to successfully balance my SJSU MLIS coursework while working 2 library jobs. I am also someone who has benefitted greatly from having access to my local libraries. For this reason, I am deeply passionate about advocating for libraries. I am sure that without the: Lynwood Library (COLAPL), University Community Library (SDPL), and Geisel Library (UCSD), I would not be where I am at today. With my strengths as a compassionate hard-worker I believe that I can help others benefit from their local library in the same way I did.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    I began my career in libraries in 2014 as a Library Aide with the San Diego Public Library. I was recently promoted to a Library Clerk at the University Community Library. In 2015, also began my career as a Library and Technology Assistant at the Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP), where I help students with questions regarding research and technology. Alejandra Alfaro

    Student Rep position

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time? 
    Environmental issues and Social Justice issues-- particularly providing people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity have access to information regarding education, health, and financial literacy. Similarly, I believe that utilizing our local libraries is one of the most eco-friendly actions individuals can take.

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
     - Rich Roll - vegan endurance athlete whose podcast provides listeners with stories that teach individuals how to “live their best most authentic self”
     - Lauren Singer- 26 year old zero waste environmentalist who believes that individuals hold the power to make significant changes in our world
     - Carol Dweck- world renowned Stanford psychologist who discovered that having a “growth mindset” can help people attain their goals
     - Dan Harris- ABC News reporter who shares his passion with meditation and mindfulness through his book and podcast called 10% Happier
     - Al Gore- Former Vice President of the United States who FOR YEARS has been passionately advocating for solutions to the Climate Change crisis.
     - Sheryl Sandberg- Facebook COO who encourages women to “lean in” to leadership roles

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    I believe that libraries need to be in communication with patrons who are seeking opportunities for growth. Specifically in their careers, health, and activism.

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    I think that the most critical challenges to libraries right now beyond our budget is showing the public that libraries are more than just books. I believe that programming is a huge opportunity for libraries because it will encourage library patrons to visit the library so that:
     - children can attend arts & crafts programming
     - teenagers can have a place to ask questions about their homework
     - adults can have a place to ask questions about technology
     - Seniors can learn about their retirement and health