The “Leadership Challenge,” a partnership between the California State Library and the California Library Association, brings together librarians from all over the State to develop solutions to the issues important to their communities and help empower the residents of the most diverse state in the country.
In December 2018, the Pioneer group of Challengers convened in Ontario to take up the challenge. Here are the groups and the topics they have chosen:
Group “Census 2020”
Erik Berman, Alameda County
Katie DeKorte, Sacramento Public Library
Cheryl Gilera, LA County
Alvaro Quezada, USC Medical Library
Joanna Ritchie, Santa Clarita
Liz Vagani, San Diego County
Census and Censibility
Challenge: Position the library as an essential resource in relation to Census 2020.
Actions: We will create a census toolkit to help library staff take a leadership role in the effective and accurate execution of Census 2020. The toolkit will highlight the importance of the census and it will include outreach methods, marketing tools, program plans, suggested partners, recommended readings, and frequently asked questions. It will help to ensure that communities are counted accurately and that the library’s role in relation to the census is recognized by stakeholders including library users, funders, and partners.
Potential for future funding: Any additional work that needs to be done beyond the grant period to create the best possible toolkit; workshops/webinars to help libraries make the most of the toolkit; debrief for lessons learned and best practices that can be applied to future projects.
Group “Diversity in the Profession”
Christine Bolivar, Lompoc Public Library
Madeline Bryant, LAPL
Tommy Bui, Inglewood Public Library
Charlotte King-Mills, San Diego County
Malissa Knapp, Solano County
James Tyner, Fresno County
J.E.D.I. (Junior Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Librarianship
Challenge: Develop strategies to address the lack of diversity among the library profession.
Actions: We will conduct research to identify successful models and strategies for promoting and increasing diversity within the library profession. Our research will include a literature review and consultation with experts, and it will be collected and presented as a white paper. The white paper will recommend strategies for improving diversity among the California library community and for recruiting and retaining talented and skilled library professionals who reflect and represent the communities we serve.
Potential for future funding: Implementation of the best model/strategy identified in the white paper
Group “Early Childhood Education”
Jennifer Baker, Napa Valley Unified
Rachel Esguerra, San Diego Public
Erika Goodwin, LA County
Mike Shea, Pasadena Public
Derek Stalcup, Ventura County
Sarah Vantrease, Sonoma County Library
Early Childhood Education
Challenge: Position the library as a key provider of early childhood education in California.
Actions: At the local level, we will create a toolkit to help libraries introduce themselves to early childhood stakeholders and become partners to new and existing programs in their communities. The toolkit will include strategies for reaching out to community partners and rebranding existing library programming using “early learning resource” terminology. It will help libraries position themselves as local leaders in early childhood education. At the state level, we will prepare letters of introduction to the new administration and legislature, highlighting libraries’ programs, services, and accomplishments in early childhood development. We intend to start a dialogue with legislators and achieve increased library representation on state-level teams and task forces dedicated to early learning initiatives.
Potential for future funding: Regional early learning hubs, with libraries serving as conveners, bringing together people and resources to increase access to early learning opportunities. (The group proposed this project in addition to the actions described above, but project staff advised that group members should focus on the (aligned) local and state-level actions and defer regional-level actions to a later date.)
Group “New Service Models”
Yesenia Baltierra, Placentia Library District
Sonia Bautista, City of Commerce
Daisy Flores, Ontario City Library
Oleg Kagan, LA County
Natasha Martin, City of Roseville
Erik Thurman, Los Gatos Library
New Service Models in the Public Library
Challenge: Identify new service models that align with the aspirations and meet the needs of emerging adults.
Actions: We will conduct research to identify the needs and aspirations of emerging adults. Our research efforts will include surveys and conversations with emerging adults, a literature review, and an environmental scan. Our results will be collected and presented as a white paper, in which we will recommend new services and service models for better serving California’s emerging adults.
Potential for future funding: Implementation of the best model
In May 2019, the groups will reconvene at the State Library to present their projects for consideration. More to come from this exciting new program!
For questions about “The Leadership Challenge”, please contact: