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The California Library Association is governed by a Board of Directors, whose members are responsible for setting association policy consistent with existing mandates and policies, planning the direction of the association, conducting the business of the association, establishing the association's standing rules, adopting the budget, and evaluating association activities.

The Board of Directors consists of fifteen members including the President, Vice-President / President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Treasurer, Secretary, ALA Chapter Councilor, Student Representative, and eight general Board seats. All CLA Board members are elected annually by CLA voting members and serve three-year staggered terms. The Nominating Committee prepares a slate of at least two or more eligible candidates for each office or position to be filled at the time of the next annual election. Nominees for open Board seats are recommended to the CLA Nominating Committee by emailing Self-nominations can be submitted to the Nominating Committee by using this self-nomination form. All nominations must be received by June 7, 2019.

The CLA Bylaws and the CLA Standing Rules guide all association activities. In addition, CLA has developed policies guiding program and financial activities.