2019 TLA Elections
The Texas Library Association elects leaders at the beginning of each year. In 2019, members will elect a president-elect and a representative-at-large to serve on the Executive Board, and many board positions at the district, division, and roundtable levels. To participate in TLA’s online election, units were required to have at least one of the positions on the ballot to be contested, and they had to meet TLA’s timeline. Units not participating in the online election will hold their annual elections during their business meetings at conference or make alternative arrangements.
Candidate bios and statements of concern for individuals running for all offices are found in the members’ only section of txla.org.
The 2019 Election will open in February and close in mid-March. Your participation in the election process is critical as these leaders will help set the course for the association for the coming year. To vote, you must be a current TLA member by January 31, 2019.
The Texas Library Journal asked the Executive Board candidates to reply to a question to help members get to know them.
Meet the Executive Board Candidates
TLJ: One of the Foundational Strategies in the TLA Strategic Plan is to demonstrate the value of libraries and library personnel to stakeholders through advocacy and related actions at the local, state, and national level. How would you encourage greater engagement from TLA members to serve as library advocates at the local and state levels?
Dean of Library & Learning Support Services, South Texas College
I agree that it is important to encourage members to continue to grow as library advocates at the local, state, and federal level. I would work with TLA staff and chairs of pertinent units to explore ways in which the association can provide members with enhanced information services including analysis, statistics, research, and anecdotes demonstrating the value of libraries and library personnel.
For example, statewide library legislative agendas are useful to librarians doing individual advocacy or contributing to broader advocacy initiatives within their parent organizations.
Additionally, TLA can continue to develop specialty toolkits to assist members with emerging advocacy initiatives. TLA staff and units already provide information resources to encourage member advocacy efforts, so I would explore ways of increasing member awareness of existing and emerging advocacy resources.
In addition to using TLA advocacy resources, I would encourage members to continue engaging with their communities from a posture of service. To remain relevant to those we serve, we must anticipate the needs of our communities and parent organizations and be ready to evolve with them.
State-level and national advocacy efforts usually rely on local engagement and action. I would encourage members, where possible, to get to know their local, state, and federal representatives before the need arises to request their assistance on legislative issues. I would also encourage members to take advantage of workshops and opportunities the association provides for those who wish to take an active role in legislative advocacy.
It seems to me that the most effective advocacy for the value of libraries and library staff emanates from the actions of committed library staff working daily to promote the common good through professional service and informed engagement with their service communities.
You can view the election video for Jesús here.
Director of Recruitment & Organizational Learning University Libraries, University of Houston
TLA has a robust history of communicating about the need and opportunities for advocacy. We’ve seen this in action through conference sessions, toolkits, public relations campaigns, and rallies. This solid foundation helps our members understand why we need to serve as advocates. While many of us may recognize the need and have passion for serving as library advocates, we may not fully understand how to effectively advocate.
I believe we can encourage greater engagement by expanding mentorship opportunities and building pride in how membership dollars contribute to advocacy.
Advocacy skills are learned and practiced through first-hand experiences. One of the most effective ways to build competencies is through mentorship. An advocacy mentorship program could pair experienced advocates with potential advocates, and empower them to practice advocacy skills, while building confidence and agency. Mentorship programs can also be tailored to an individual’s advocacy goals and readiness, especially as it pertains to the advocacy needs of local communities.
Additionally, I want to ensure that all TLA members, and non-members, understand how individual membership dollars contribute to state level advocacy. Recently, we’ve made positive steps in bringing transparency to how our membership dollars contribute to advocacy. I’d like to expand these efforts to give members a stronger sense of pride and purpose within TLA. This may mean working through units and districts to tailor messaging.
In summary, we must continue championing the value of advocacy to all our members to maintain the momentum behind why we advocate. By expanding mentorship opportunities and a greater understanding of how membership dollars contribute to advocacy, I hope to inspire more members to take that critical step of embracing the many opportunities that are available for advocacy. Taking that step is critical to the advancement and betterment of all libraries.
You can view the election video for Christina here.
Representative-at-Large (school library position)
TLJ: TLA recently appointed a Membership Development Task Force to look at potential areas for membership growth. What advice would you give to a new member to get the most out of TLA membership?
Librarian, Central High School, San Angelo ISD
The nearest 6A library is two hours away, but my online Professional Learning Community (PLC) is at my fingertips and spans the state. Whether you are the only librarian in your district, or you work with another librarian in your library, I believe we all need connections. Allow TLA to become your community of support and professional development.
The theme of the 2019 TLA Conference is Connecting to Innovate, Inspire and Impact which embodies what TLA is: connections with others! Connect at District meetings in your area and at Annual Conference to expand your circle across the state. Use the TLA advocacy tools and resources, book lists, and promotional materials to help others learn how 21st century libraries impact our students. Meet other members in person or online to foster your own Professional Learning Community with others who inspire, share trends, resources, and support.
Veteran Texas librarians are the best of the best and share their wisdom, while new librarians bring excitement, current trends and innovation. TLA also has excellent resources to assist your school in implementing the Texas School Library Standards which allow you to assess areas for growth and celebrate areas of excellence. Ask questions, get involved, and volunteer for committees, task forces, and round tables. Your expertise is needed and should be shared through connections. TLA is the largest state library association in the nation. Texas school librarians serve our students, develop our future leaders, instill 21st century skills, and a love of reading and learning to last a lifetime. Our impact is greater when we connect and learn from each other.
Library Services Coordinator, Irving ISD
As a new librarian nineteen years ago, I was hearing that the Texas Library Association is an amazing organization, has wonderful conferences, and is a major source for networking. It was obvious to the seasoned librarians, but I had no idea what all the hype was about. As a conference attendee, I learned so much about the profession, I honed the skills needed to meet the needs of my community, and I met some lifelong friends along the way.
When I had the opportunity to look inside the organization through a volunteer opportunity, I realized the power of my TLA membership. I realized how amazing and powerful my membership could be to the organization. The give and take experience is where the power of membership begins.
Why should members get involved? The opportunities to get involved can be great or small. Volunteering provides a sense of community. Don’t know where to start? Ask questions; follow TLA groups on social media, network with seasoned librarians to get a feel for what is happening in the circle of influence for your library type. Dive in and take a risk! The effect of small opportunities will lead to greater opportunities as one grows and learns through volunteering.
Most importantly to me, being a member of TLA is fun. Librarianship comes with many serious and demanding responsibilities. However, when you love what you do, and you have the community support of TLA those demands are better met together. Whether conversations on a listserv, attending the conference or volunteering on a committee the benefits are plentiful when we are on the journey together. Get involved and the population that you serve will reap the benefits of your membership.
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