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CLA Elections 2017 - Destiny Rivera
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Destiny Rivera, San Jose State University

Student Representative

Destiny Rivera has worked with the San Diego Public Library since October 2014. Destiny began as a Library Aide at the Ocean Beach Branch Library. Serving as an OCA-Clerk at the Kensington Branch Library, Destiny soon after applied for a Library Clerk position. Destiny currently serves as a Library Clerk at the Mission Hills Branch Library. In addition, Destiny also works as a Library Supervisor at the academic library on the University of San Diego campus. Her responsibilities include supervising student worker, managing and disseminating tasks, and opening and closing the facility. She is currently attending San Jose State University studying Library and Information Sciences (LIS).  Destiny is passionate about libraries and the roles they play in civil society. She seeks to serve and represent underserved populations and promote more social justice programs within the library. Lifelong learning, emerging technologies, makerspaces and creation culture, and adult programming are her primary areas of interest and focus. She has been a longtime volunteer with the Friends of the Library, volunteered at the annual How-To festival, and has recently attended the Comic Conference for Educators and Librarians. Destiny believes that librarianship is not solely a career path, but is a vocational calling. In Destiny’s spare time, she enjoys listen to listening to live music, gardening, biking around San Diego and spending time with family and friends. 


Candidate Statement

A little about myself

My name is Destiny C. Rivera and I am a presently a student of Library and Information Science (LIS) at San Jose State University.  I serve as a part-time Library Clerk with the San Diego Public Library and a part-time Library Supervisor with the Copley Library at the University of San Diego. As a lover of quiet spaces and learning, the Library has always played a significant role in my personal, educational, intellectual, and spiritual development. As a site of refuge, resources, and knowledge, the Library serves such an admirable role in society and the creation and dissemination of information. I am, and would be, so honored to represent such a remarkable institution as the CLA by serving as Student Representative. While attending a recent discussion on the book “The Collection All Around: Sharing Our Cities, Towns, and Natural Places” by Jeffrey T. Davis, it came to my deeper awareness how the library can serve the greater good by connecting patron to resources and the wider world around them. It can provide context to one’s environment as well as a place for “belonging” and “connectivity”. Navigating between public and private/academic libraries has been an enlightening experience. Working within different institutions, with different organizational missions and demographics, has allowed me to see where core values of the library intersect and areas where potential cross-collaborations could be made.   

Why am I running

I am running for Student Representative on the CLA Committee to serve as a voice and advocate for LIS students, and the student experience as a whole. The LIS program prepares students for success within the library and information world, yet the educational process often presents many challenges to students that may be unaddressed and unheard. By listening to student concerns, and collaborating with my school and the CLA, I hope to serve as a clear bridge of communication between academic departments, students and CLA.

If elected Student Representative, I would work tirelessly to represent the student voice by presenting their questions, concerns, experiences with the LIS programs, accomplishments, and ideas for change. I would also broadcast CLA’s mission to promote and improve library services as well as increase leadership within libraries, library communities and librarianship to the student body. As Student Representative, I would give voice to the student experience, particularly in the context of an online environment. Themes I would touch upon would be:

  • Exploring opportunities available for students in terms of leadership skill development, educational support and career resources
  • Creating a platform where students can network amongst other students and connect with other library communities and organizations
  • How to lessen the sense of isolation that can sometimes occur in an online learning environment

I would be honored to serve as a Student Representative to the CLA as a means to increase my own connection to the library community and communicate my passion about libraries, emerging technologies and the roles that libraries (and librarians) play in our modern world inundated with information. My greatest strength is my deep, ignited passion for Libraries, as well as my dedication to serve as an enthused and engaged representative.

Visions for the Library and CLA

My vision for Libraries as a whole is extremely grand. Perhaps it is because my faith in local and national government is weakening by the minute. Perhaps it is because I see very tangible ways that the library improves people's’ lives, from having free access to computers, to offering free classes, to providing a safe space to communities and offering enriching programs. I feel that libraries (and librarians and staff members) can be leaders in developing more utopian societies. I respect libraries and the CLA in its devotion to equality and equal access to all, despite governmental restrictions. I respect that libraries do not bend to the will of the government but speak out against racism, homophobia, classism, sexism, etc. They are defenders of democracy as we know it, and offers patrons rights to privacy that are increasingly harder to come by. Libraries (and librarians) resist censorship, believe in freedom from surveillance, and believe in freedom of speech but never at the expense of another. Inspired by futurism, global societies, shared resources, and sustainability, I envision libraries as the ultimate “Great, Good Place”. Libraries serve as a way for people to get acclimatized to the new and modern world we live in, and I feel their possibilities are endless. I am constantly in a state of inspiration when it comes to libraries, and strive to find a way to work effectively within them. It would be my honor to support the vision of the CLA by serving as Student Representative. I thank you very much for your time and consideration.



  1. How do you define leadership?
    Leadership, to me, is defined by one’s ability to serve the community they represent. This form of servant leadership ensures that the leader empowers the community or organization it is engaged in. From this perspective, leadership includes aspects of management such as managing personnel, budgeting, etc., yet is also more inclusive of other qualities such as emotional intelligence, compassionate communication, introspection and shared meaning and value. A leader speaks on behalf of the majority, and those most in need. A beautiful quote by Warren Bennis states “The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing”. Thus, the leader act with integrity, emotional intelligence, and is not afraid to challenge status quo or authority if it is in defense of shared values and visions of the collective. A leader is one who connects deeply with those they are representing, cares for the collective, empowers individuals to act, brings new and creative ideas to the table, and helps create a shared sense of meaning or purpose. Leaders act from a deep-seated reverence for their community, the values of those community members, they take the time to reflect on the best way to act, and empower those they serve. Thus, servant leadership is the ultimate approach to leadership for me.

  2.  Why are you interested in this position?
    I am interested in becoming the Student Representative for the CLA for a variety of reasons.

    Primarily, it is my interest to serve the student population and those aspiring to become librarians in the future. Engaging in online learning, as a multitude of students do, can be an isolating experience. I would like to advocate for students, to speak on their behalf, and to engage further in my own education by doing so. As a current LIS student, one navigating between professional and academic pursuits, I would be able to contribute a healthy dose of insight from the student’s perspective to the Board of Directors. Libraries can be a great vehicle for change and I have encountered countless others who feel the same. I am eager to join the conversation of what makes libraries impactful and discuss the changes that libraries embrace to adapt to new societal needs. It would be an honor to serve as student representative of the CLA, furthering the dialogue and building bridges between the CLA and current LIS students.

  3. How would you describe your personal leadership/communication style?
    My personal leadership style tends to lean toward being an observant synthesizer. I am able to take a step back from the problem or discussion, here all sides of the party, ideas, concerns, etc. and then synthesize that information into a workable whole. I am able to see individuals’ unique strengths and utilize those strengths to the benefit of the group. I am able to engage with others in a way that acknowledges their core strength, unique styles and preferences, allowing them to open up and flourish in their positions.

    My communication style aligns with compassionate communication and empathic listening. I process a clear and effective style of communication, one inclusive of active listening, empathetic engagement, and understanding. I help patrons resolves their concerns and if I do not know the answer, and cannot find the answer, I will seek out someone who does.

  4. What strengths would you bring to the position?
    As a student representative, my strengths would be my personal experiences being an LIS student, allied with my unique insights serving as a Library Clerk with the San Diego Public Library and a Library Supervisor with the University of San Diego, Copley Library. In addition to my education and experience, perhaps my own unique perspectives on libraries and librarianship would serve as a strength. My biggest strength, however, is perhaps my interest and passion for libraries, literacy, and librarianship. Librarianship, to me, is not just a career but a vocational calling. Librarianship aligns with my personal values of democracy, equality, and intellectual freedom in a very big way. I have an insatiable appetite to deepen my understanding and know how within the library world. My professional motivations are inspired by my personal dedication and passion towards libraries. Libraries have long played an important role in my life and I admire their contributions to society. Literary and learning, particularly within underserved or minority communities, is of particular interest to me. My dedication and commitment to the profession, mixed with my reliability and skill set, will contribute greatly to my success as a Student Representation for the CLA.

  5. What experience do you bring to this position?
    My library-related work began in 2014 with our wonderful San Diego Public Library system. Starting as an aid, then serving as an OCA-Clerk, I was able to advance to Library Clerk at the Mission Hills Branch. Previously, I have served as a volunteer with The Friends of the Library for many years, and my current employment with University of San Diego’s Copley Library is granting me various insights into the world of academia and academic libraries. This experience into the world of both public and private/academic libraries gives me a unique perspective on user experience, community building, library services and programs, lifelong learning and education. While my experience serving on a board is minimal, my academic background, excellent communication skills, and personal passion will be a great asset I bring to this position. 

  6. What issues or trends are particularly informing your work at this time?
    While there are many topics within the field of library sciences and libraries that are intriguing (libraries as community spaces/ centers, comics/graphic novels and literacy, maker spaces, emerging technologies, and user experience just to name a few), the idea of social justice and programming is what most calls me. Social justice through library programming is one way the library can continue to have significant meaning in the lives of its users. Social justice through programming also aligns with the values of libraries and librarians as defined by the ALA Code of Ethics. Trends such as having social workers in the libraries, connecting patrons with essential resources such as information about shelters, food distribution, and mental health services are just a few examples of how libraries are serving the community’s most vulnerable citizens. Social Justice and Library Programming is a rather recent trend, with San Francisco Public Library being the first to hire a social worker to walk the stacks looking for patrons in need of help. Another inspiring example is the establishment of Mental Health Services right here at the San Diego Public Library! This trend of adding social workers and program to libraries is an avenue I seek to pursue. 

  7. Who are the thought leaders (in libraries or in other fields) who interest you?
    As I am new to the wide world of information, I am still discovering various avenues within the information and some of its key players. I am quite the fan of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers section, highlighting different librarians or library staff who are having positive impacts in their community. Movers and Shakers can range from librarians hosting a series on entrepreneurship and start-up businesses to people like Kelly McElroy, who co-founded the critical librarianship movement, an online community where librarians can discuss how they have implemented social justice principles into their work. I also had the most inspiring time attending the 2017 Librarians and Educators Comic Con Conference. Matthew Murray, zine librarian and creator/editor of Two-Fisted Library Stories, has also become a thought leader to me in terms of the variety of ways being a librarian can be expressed. Zine librarianship was a concept I have not heard of until recently, and the idea of legitimizing zine publications and incorporating more graphic novels into academia and the public consciousness is really inspiring. I also find inspiration within the library from the librarians and library staff I work with everyday. I find inspirations in the programs I see and the users and communities who attend those events. My favorite thought leaders are the ones I see everyday working to provide either great customer service or great programs for kids and adults to attend.  

  8. Who are the regional and statewide stakeholders libraries need to be in communication with?
    The stakeholders who first come to mind are schools (public schools, private schools, preschools, universities), city councils and governmental organizations, youth oriented organizations, and such people as the LGBT community, the homeless, immigrant populations and those with physical or mental disabilities. In addition, local artists and musicians, museums, and science groups can all be considered stakeholders that libraries need to be in communication with.

  9. What do you feel are the most critical challenges and opportunities facing California libraries right now?
    Right now, not surprisingly, I feel one of the biggest challenges California libraries are facing concerns the budget and the financial prioritization of libraries and education. In these times of massive budget cuts to arts and education, it is especially important that libraries are recognized and seen for their critical role in society and backed with proper funding. However, this is no easy feat. Besides major budget cuts and funding, I think one of the biggest obstacles facing libraries right now is the perception that they are becoming obsolete. Technology has impacted how patrons use and navigate through libraries, yet the library as a cultural hub and civic icon will long remain. This creative challenge to redefine what libraries can mean within our society presents many opportunities for growth and expansion for the library as an institution.