2024 Executive Board Candidates
The TLA 2024 elections will open mid-January and close mid-February. You must be a current 2024 member by January 31 to vote in the election.
Librarian, Boniuk Library, Holocaust Museum Houston
Recent work at the Boniuk Library at Holocaust Museum Houston has heightened the awareness of censorship, racism, and discrimination throughout history, the body of literature, and the shared knowledge maintained in Texas libraries. The library is a stronghold of democracy.
Libraries and other institutions of learning like schools, museums, media, universities, and other public spaces, must lead the way to building on the collective knowledge to avoid the pitfalls of extremisms. Libraries must open the scope to include histories that have been neglected to prepare for future coexistence. Librarians must purposefully and realistically adapt to changing constituencies, economies, expectations and innovations. When librarians are collaborating, cooperating, and sharing responsibilities, Texans can experience the benefits of the wisdom found in libraries across the state.
Senior Librarian, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Libraries are essential! But that idea is being challenged in the wake of the issues facing Texas libraries, including those related to book challenges and collection development, budgets and staffing, and providing top-notch service in very difficult times. As TLA members we are all library staff and supporters first and foremost, and TLA is a unique organization in how it brings together such great professional diversity under one umbrella.
The Association, President, and Executive Board must work to make that umbrella as encompassing and strong as possible so that all librarians, library staff, and supporters have a place of refuge, support, and learning. Together we can help the Association and its members thrive.
Instruction Librarian and Adjunct Faculty, Lone Star College – Cyfair
Attacks on books, libraries and librarians are at an all-time high. Libraries have become a pawn in politics because many people do not understand the value of libraries. This is a critical issue affecting TLA and the Texas library community. School, academic, and public libraries are all being impacted by the lack of understanding of who librarians are and what libraries do. There is a crucial need to redefine and articulate libraries’ roles beyond traditional repositories of books.
As an Association, we need to support libraries as they face this pivotal challenge. We must harness innovative communication strategies to spotlight libraries as dynamic knowledge centers, fostering literacy, community engagement, and technological empowerment. Effectively conveying the contemporary relevance of libraries helps communicate the value of libraries.
Cynthia Y. Rodriguez
Director of Library Services, Laredo College
The Texas library community faces a multitude of pressing challenges. Foremost among these is the preservation of intellectual freedom. The Texas Library Association (TLA) can lead the way by advocating for essential resources and endorsing best practices to provide steadfast support to librarians. Simultaneously, it is crucial to fortify membership to secure the profession’s longevity.
In order to better serve Texas’s diverse population, TLA should prioritize leadership training, offering comprehensive training and resource support. The persistent challenge of retaining skilled library professionals can be eased through advocacy, the promotion of professional development opportunities, and the establishment of mentorship programs. Augmenting its membership will strengthen the Texas library community, ensuring that libraries continue to fulfill their indispensable role as cornerstones of their communities.
Director, Tom Green County Library System
Libraries are in a vulnerable place right now. Our collections and services are being scrutinized and challenged. Our very profession is being questioned and devalued. Libraries have historically stood as beacons of knowledge, where people of all backgrounds can access a diverse range of materials, engage in informed discourse, and expand their minds and horizons.
They play a critical role in fostering literacy, education and intellectual growth for all. However, recent challenges impacting all that we stand for are threatening our livelihood, hindering our mission, and putting the profession in peril. We need to train new librarians and support seasoned librarians as we navigate this new landscape.
Collection Development and Cataloging Manager at Houston Public Library
Librarians know a lot about adversity; now, the current political climate has led to increased challenges to our profession and to our collections. Censorship puts freedom of information at risk; in some cases, librarians advocating the value of diverse collections featuring “controversial” topics do so at a personal and professional cost.
However, librarians are resilient, and we must continue to pull together as we have done in the past: working together with our peers, supporting each other, and sharing tools to overcome these challenges so that we may continue to thrive and libraries may continue to be a welcoming space for all, including staff. The safety as well as the mental and physical well-being of our most valuable assets, the staff, are critical to our profession.
Library & Instructional Materials Coordinator, New Caney ISD
What an interesting time to be a librarian! Despite it all, we remain focused on the important work we do for our library communities. TLA has been right there with us, providing support and resources to members and advocating for Texas libraries. The most critical issues facing us right now are divisions among membership, weariness from what we’ve been through, and uncertainty for what is to come.
We address these challenges by looking for opportunities to find common ground, shining a light on all the great work of Texas librarians, and leveraging the resources of the Association and each other. I am excited to be part of what is to come with libraries and I will support all Texas librarians through my work on the executive board.
Librarian, New Braunfels ISD
Librarians play a crucial role in Texas due to the high amount of book banning/censorship attempts happening in our state. Recently I attended a local city council meeting and saw the attempt at censorship firsthand. I know librarians are combating this effort on the front lines every day, but to see it up close was eye-opening for me.
I believe our biggest issue right now is making sure the public knows what librarians do every day, and how much we have trained for our work so they can reestablish their trust in our abilities. Librarians are defenders of the principles of intellectual freedom, access to information, and the First Amendment. We play a crucial role in preserving democracy, promoting education, and ensuring that diverse voices are heard and respected.
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