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TLA Candidates

2020 TLA Elections

The Texas Library Association elects leaders at the beginning of each year. In 2020, members will elect a president-elect, two representatives-at-large, and a treasurer 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 are required to have at least one of the positions on the ballot to be contested, and they have 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 those running for all offices are found by logging into the Members Only website and clicking on View Candidate Biographies. (On the Secure Membership Area page, “View Candidate Biographies” is at the bottom of the first column on the left, under “Misc. Forms”.)

The 2020 Election will open February 18 and close March 11 at 11:50pm Central Time. 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, 2020.

Meet the Executive Board Candidates

TLA asked Executive Board candidates to reply to the following question to help members get to know them.

TLA is a member-driven association.  How would you encourage members to engage in the activities of the association, take advantage of member services, and become an advocate for libraries at the local and state levels?

In addition, the candidates for President-Elect were asked to share a video response to the question “How will your candidacy advance the work of TLA on behalf of Texas libraries?”

President-Elect

Dan Burgard

University Librarian & Vice Provost for Scholarly Information Management, University of North Texas Health Science Center  CANDIDATE VIDEO

TLA – Putting You First!
As committed service professionals, librarians are strongly inclined to do their best for others before taking care of themselves. My presidency in TLA will focus attention on members’ personal and professional health needs and seek to increase engagement and advocacy by supporting librarian and staff well-being.

Always remembering that we have lots of work to do, I will push TLA to offer more programming that helps fulfill your occupational, intellectual, spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional needs. Whether it is one of the many hats you wear as a librarian, social worker, parent, emergency medical technician, homework assistant, or some combination thereof, I really believe that TLA can help you gain the librarian super power of providing incredible service in what are sometimes the most trying of circumstances; a winning combination of well-being, professional commitment, and service!

Engage with TLA and take advantage of member services? Yes! Be a strong advocate in your community and in our great State? Always! In order to do those things, however, I want you to be selfish for a change and indulge in a little “me time.” So, let’s shine a light on our own needs while keeping up our awesome work. I know that by working together in TLA, we can truly help each other achieve a personal and professional balance that will let us be our best selves for our patrons, libraries, and communities.

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Karen Hopkins

Retired, Special Collections Librarian, University of Texas at Arlington          CANDIDATE VIDEO

The Texas Library Association draws its strength from the number, the loyalty, and the proactive professional concerns of its members. Every member brings unique experiences and capabilities to contribute to support, promote and improve library services in Texas. It is our membership that makes the Association work, and we owe each other support and understanding.

We are dedicated professionals and library supporters who come together to support each other, the profession, and Texas libraries. Our strength in numbers allows us to work for Texas libraries as our personal lives allow. Learning from each other, we also learn to make professional choices and find our opportunities for service within our Association. We all have a responsibility for the profession as well as a belief in access to information. This is the heart of who we are.

TLA has a robust system of communication avenues to connect with members. When choosing the best one for each interaction, we need to communicate with our members how they will benefit from participation in every Association event and activity. We need to know how effectively and efficiently we are utilizing our digital and print communications and providing the information that is most beneficial to our members.

Meaningful member engagement in TLA is the responsibility of all of us. All of us need to acknowledge the capabilities and encourage the contribution of members to Association activities and business. Knowledge and participation in member services are best communicated by colleagues to each other. Recognizing the strength in numbers, our membership can become more confident in advocating for libraries and access to information in all of our communities.

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Representative-at-Large (school library)

Nicole Cruz

Sharyland High School Librarian, Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy Librarian, Sharyland ISD Lead Librarian

What is the importance of engagement, participation, leadership and advocacy for libraries? I believe the answer to this question is urgency and legacy. If you are not connected to professionals in your field, learning, and leading-then how are you relevant to your patrons? How do we ensure the ability to serve the patrons of today and ensure we have patrons for tomorrow? We take action through advocacy. As librarians we exemplify the spirit of carpe diem.

Robin Williams portrayal of the much loved and respected teacher Mr. Keating in the iconic movie Dead Poet’s Society is the perfect example. The scene where he is urging his new students to live and choose their legacy speaks volumes. The class is standing in a foyer of a great hall with trophy cases full of class photos from the past. Mr. Keating tells the students that “someday we will all be food for worms.” Thus, live your best life now. Serve others. Be bold. Take risks. In another scene Mr. Keating jumps up on his desk and asks his pupils, “Why am I standing up here.” The answer is to get a different perspective. To see things differently.  We must continually evaluate and review programs through the eyes of our patrons and stakeholders.

Carpe Diem is the ability to change, seize opportunities, forge new trails, and lead. As public servants, librarians do all of these things. We adapt, model, and evaluate. As a member of the Executive Board, I would encourage librarians to act by example. I would communicate the vision and mission of TLA and listen to members. I learn from previous board members and be open-minded to new strategies.  Our professional organization provides treasures of information, support, and opportunities. Seize the Day and be involved.

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Mike Mendez

Librarian, Rosemont Middle School, Fort Worth ISD

The first step is to increase engagement with our newest members. As the Co-Chair of the 2019 Programming Committee, we looked at different ways to assist our new members at their first conference. Our committee set up a new member tour of the conference center, which connected new members together while also learning tips from veteran members.

TLA’s Launch leadership program is another step in increasing new member involvement. This leadership program targets those with less than five years of experience. This program should expand in the future.

The next step is to expand services for members that have been part of TLA for several years. Many of these members are active only through their TLA Conference attendance. This will require a two-step process. The first is to ensure that the year-round programs offered by TLA are the ones that our members need the most. TASL has started a weekly webinar that highlights the latest trends in school libraries. We need to expand this to include all four divisions. This would add tremendous value to the TLA membership. The second step is to promote these programs across all platforms to ensure maximum visibility.

We also need to expand services for our retired or nearing retirement members. We need to add programing that fits their needs as they move away from their library career and into a role of library supporter.

By ensuring our new members understand the benefits of TLA and adding value to our veteran members through expanded services, our members will have a larger investment in the organization. This investment will encourage more members to join committees, run for positions in their home districts or round tables, and become more active in TLA. A more active membership will help creative a positive community through communication and networking.

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Representative-at-Large (special library)

Tuan Nguyen

Consultant, Mackin Educational Resources

To encourage TLA members in engaging in association activities and taking advantage of member services, I would take a poll of the membership to reevaluate the current needs for activities and services provided by TLA. After identifying the prevailing interest(s) of the membership, TLA could then create opportunities by offering mentors to help facilitate involvement.

Mentors can help guide mentees by meeting them at TLA district meetings or conferences and ensuring they’re connected to their round table officers. Eventually, the mentees could become mentors to other new members. As for the member services, once a new member signs up for membership, I would recommend they be contacted by a welcome team from their respective round tables that can help navigate the landscape of TLA’s numerous valuable services.

I believe that advocating for library professions is our collective responsibility; however, I understand that not everyone is comfortable with legislative affairs. TLA could provide programs to help assist and train members at district meetings or conference (e.g. role-playing different scenarios) that would help members feel more comfortable when legislative opportunities arise. Additionally, TLA could promote their YouTube Channel regarding advocacy and continue to archive videos on current affairs pertaining to library legislation.

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Peace Ossom-Williamson

Director of Research Data Services, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

TLA provides a plethora of opportunities for members to be involved and grow at all levels in a welcoming and inclusive community. As a medical librarian, I found my first home within TLA during graduate school. I attended conference with a travel stipend, and it was my immediate favorite. I learned skills that I could put into practice and ways to collaborate with librarians across library types.

Since then, I have attended, facilitated, and presented at TLA annual assembly and District and annual meetings and served in various roles, including the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Council, and officer positions within TLA units. My participation has continued to grow because I get so many benefits from it, and I encourage others to do the same.

TLA divisions and round tables are places to make quick connections, and, in my experience, the opportunities arising from networking have been extensive. Likewise, TLA and many of its units have an impactful social media presence, providing platforms for librarians to have a voice and influence their local communities by sharing and interacting with posts. I have also been a TLA TALL Texan and served on the Program Committee. These experiences helped me grow within the organization and as a librarian learning how to be a leader. TLA is unique in that its annual meeting size drastically dwarfs all other state meetings, and many speakers are world-renowned; so, TLA provides members with a national conference experience with affordable travel and a state conference cost.

TLA also stresses the need for library advocacy. Many school libraries, hospital libraries, and others are being reduced in staff or size or completely eradicated. The reduction in these resources and professional positions affect us all, and using the vehicles present within the organization to engage in advocacy benefits our profession long-term.

Website: peaceossom.com

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Treasurer

Edward Kownslar

Head of Research & Instructional Services, Ralph W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University

Engagement
TLA has a large number of groups that cover a diversity of interests.  I have always encouraged members to contact the chairs and vice chairs of potential groups (they would love to hear from you).

If there is no group to support your interests, TLA encourages members to start a group. The TLA office makes the process easy.

Starting a group is similar to asking a question; you’re probably not the only person who has those interests! Because organization evolve and change, new ideas are always welcome.

Lastly, if you’d like to be engaged and involved, but you’re experiencing obstacles, you should tell the TLA office because they can provide guidance. Again, you’re probably not the only person experiencing those issues.

Take Advantage of Member Services
TLA members should stay aware of benefits and services by: (1) opting in for all emails and announcements from the TLA office and TLA groups; and (2) replying to surveys from the TLA office about services and benefits. Like any other service package, a member might need one set of services at one time and another set at another time. Lastly, anyone who has suggestions about member services and benefits should send their suggestions to the TLA office because services (and needs) will often change over time.

Advocate for Libraries at the State and Local Levels
In addition to building a strong presence in the community, one of the most effective ways for libraries to advocate is to build partnerships with government agencies, businesses and service organizations. These partnerships will provide more resources for libraries to reach the groups that need their services than the library could provide on its own. For example, libraries would need assistance from local agencies to provide services to shelters and to children in foster care.

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Dianna Morganti

Librarian, Texas State University

Whether you’re a children’s librarian at a branch, a school librarian on a campus, or even one among many reference librarians in a large library, many of us can feel professionally isolated. I have found so much camaraderie, though, connecting to my fellow librarians in Texas through our opportunities at TLA. Engaging in the activities of the association helps break through that isolation, especially involvement at the unit level.

If I am elected a member of the Executive Board, I will advocate strongly for TLA to continue building on the diversity and inclusivity of the association and its units. Many of us use TLA to find our professional peers, and it’s so important for all of us to see ourselves and our peers reflected in its policies, its programming, and its primary strategic initiatives. This is already a core value of TLA, and I know from experience that most of our Units are yearning to welcome new ideas and new members. I also know many new members really want to get involved. The work to match these two desires when barriers to inclusivity exist isn’t as easy as facilitating communication, but the fact that we have embraced diversity and inclusion as a core value organizationally means that the work is also already begun.

Lastly, taking advantage of TLA’s member services is a way that members can get the most out of their investment in TLA’s membership fee. From advocating for a strong minimum salary listing for any job on Jobline to maintaining strong quality reading lists for all ages, TLA’s member services make librarianship better for all of us across the state. When the work of inclusivity is already begun, as it is with these services, advocacy is easy. I look forward to serving TLA in this new capacity.

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