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CLA Elections 2017 - Hilda Loh-Guan
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Hilda Loh-Guan, University of Southern California

Student Representative

Hilda Loh-Guan has over 15 years full time library experience as a paraprofessional.    For the last 8 years, she has been a community library manager for the County of Los Angeles Public Library.  Under Hilda’s direction, her community library saw a significant increase in programming for all ages.  In 2016, with the support of her staff and library administration, she successfully implemented a weekly program targeted to adults with cognitive or developmental disabilities.  She serves on several committees in her organization, including the Homeless Services Think Tank and the iCount Leadership Committee (removing barriers to equity @ the library).

In 2017, Hilda started the Master of Management in Library Information Science (MMLIS) program at the University of Southern California (USC), where she is currently the vice president of the ALA student chapter.  Hilda also serves on 2 of ALA’s New Members Round Table (NMRT) committees.  She is a proud recipient of the American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship, CLA Scholarship for Minority Students in Memory of Edna Yelland, and the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) Scholarship.

Hilda is a mom to Benjamin (8), Calvin (6), and Zachary (4)—and is a very active volunteer at their school.   

Candidate Statement

Networking and leadership are vital to the growth of individuals in the library profession.  Unfortunately, many MLIS students do not realize they can be leaders and major partners in the work of the library community before obtaining their degree.  I firmly believe the California Library Association can significantly enhance the education and growth of library school students – and as students, we can, in turn strengthen the association and its many efforts.  Brought together by technology, social media, leadership trainings and the CLA annual conference, we can proliferate our students’ passions and innovative ideas across our state and educational institutions.

I welcome the opportunity to serve my fellow students and California’s libraries.  I will work hard to make our voices heard, seek opportunities to celebrate our diversity, and create an environment where budding professionals are supported by a robust network.



  1. How do you define leadership? 
    I could write whole essays on this…However, I am going to keep it short and concise for this questionnaire.  Leadership, to me, is the use of emotional intelligence to influence or motivate others to do work that benefits the overall organization.  Everyone can be a leader—at any position--it is something that can continually be improved upon.  Leadership is not only about getting one’s follower to buy-in on plans and projects, but it is also giving others the tools and opportunity to perform work that fulfills them emotionally.   It is about making ethical decisions, and being approachable and accessible to the team.

  2. Why are you interested in this position?
    As a recipient of the CLA Minority Scholarship in Memory of Edna Yelland-2017, I desire to start paying it forward into the library profession immediately.   I am actively looking for ways to serve.  I am currently a student at the University of Southern California’s MMLIS program.  Many members of my cohort (and those who are incoming) are new to the library profession.  They have not yet discovered that librarianship does not have to begin when we get our degrees, but it starts the moment we step into our educational institutions.  Connections, networking, leadership, and education often take place outside of our classrooms—and have the potential to extend well into our professional careers.  I would like to play a role in sharing that importance to fellow students and providing them the support they need as they join our association and profession.  Secondly, I am excited about the opportunity to sit at the same table with the major library leaders, learning from their wisdom, witnessing their sound decision making, and building my professional network.

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    I tend to be very frank and open in my communication with others.   I want others to know my position and point of view.  I am respectful of others’ emotions and positions, and project an approachable personality.  As a leader, I am currently demonstrating a more transactional leadership style.  In managing my small community library, I tend to be task-oriented more often—but I am consciously working on building my skills in seeing the bigger picture.   As I grow in my career, I aspire to become a transformational leader.

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    One of my strengths lies in my perseverance and commitment to projects and initiatives.  I always meet my commitments and deadlines, and don’t let challenges and stumbling blocks deter me from striving to complete work assigned to me.  In fact, challenges and new opportunities energize me.  Additionally, I am not shy about asking for help and clarifications.  Lastly, I welcome new learning opportunities.  With all of these combined, I present myself as an individual who is enthusiastic, focused, and committed to the work of the organization.  The board can count on me to further its efforts and initiatives.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    I have worked for the County of Los Angeles Public Library since 1996, starting as a library page, and progressed up to my current position as a library assistant IV-Community Library Manager.   I serve on several committees for the County Library and act as a liaison between the committee and my colleagues.   In 2016, I pitched a grant to my library administration and received $12,000 to start a pilot project—creating a targeted service to adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

    At the University of Southern California, I am the vice president of the ALA student chapter.  I also serve as the liaison between ALA-SC and SLA+USC boards.  As a student, I am knowledgeable in management communication, research writing, and project management, in addition to the foundations of library science.

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    There are a couple of major trends I am interested in.  The first is the idea of building collaborations and working towards making a collective impact.  Libraries cannot do everything alone.  When we establish new & innovative connections or collaborations, we can create better programs and services for our communities.  The second trend I am studying is income inequality.  I serve a community that is primarily 1st generation immigrant, and most are living at or below the poverty line.  I see how advances in technologies are leaving them farther and farther behind, widening the gap wither every new development.  As a manager of a less well-endowed branch of our system, this income inequality impacts the library as well.

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or other fields) who interest you?
    Daniel Goleman, author & journalist (Emotional Intelligence)
    Dr. Janine Golden (Library leadership & administration)
    Maureen Sullivan (Managerial Leadership)

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    I will not pretend to be an expert on this, but it is my observation that libraries do not do a great job telling the populace our story and value.   While it is important to communicate and inform elected officials at all levels, I believe it is even more important we start with the constituents in the communities we serve.  The populace needs to see us as an educational institution, a human services organization, and a place where social justice does not only exist, but thrive.   They are the people who will vote for special taxes or amendments to benefit libraries, and fight alongside us when budget cuts loom.

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    As an employee in a public library, it appears funding support is consistently a struggle.  Many buildings are aging, so there are major infrastructure and technology needs—but few dollars to support it all.   Establishing a stable and growing budget for our libraries is our biggest challenge.  Due to unstable funding and fiscal hardships, cities and counties are looking at privatization, which is an enormous threat and can change the library landscape in the coming years.

    I cannot speak for all libraries, but I know serving those who have been previously under-served or unserved is a significant service opportunity.  Libraries traditionally pride itself on welcoming everyone—so how about having new programs and services that truly reflect everyone in our communities?  Enhanced programs targeted to immigrants, refugees, homeless persons, differently-abled/disabled individuals, and probation youth are just a few of the people groups I think can benefit from wrap-around library services.  California libraries can embrace these groups and establish itself as a major player in community improvement and development.

    Board Member At-Large

  10. Describe your experience serving on Association committees and/or interest groups.
    I am new to professional association work.  I am currently serving on the following:
    Asian Pacifica American Librarians Association (APALA)
    Taskforce on APA Intersectionality
    Chinese American Librarians Association(CALA)
    Leadership Training Program Committee
    ALA-NMRT (New Members Round Table) --Membership Promotion, Diversity & Recruitment Committee
    Student and Student Chapter Outreach

  11. Describe your network of connections with library professionals and library stakeholders in California.
    My current professional network of connections is primarily from my library system and those I encounter in my MMLIS program at USC.  I am working on developing and widening my network state and nationwide.