The Challenge!

“The Leadership Challenge” is a program that bring 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. Leadership Challenge teams of six library employees from across California spen6 months working together virtually to research an issue and potential solutions, identify existing or model programs, and develop a toolkit, white paper, or other report that can be used to drive future action. For examples of the 2018 challenge, where groups worked on topics such as the 2020 census, new service models, early childhood services, and diversity in the profession.

A BIG thank you to the 2021 Leadership Challenge participants and their work.

Group 1: Search, Find, Make Up Your OWN Mind 

Albert Garcia – Contra Costa County Library
Jennifer Black – San Marcos Unified School District
Camille Hyatt – Moreno Valley Public Library (LS&S)
Alison de Geus – Palo Alto City Library
Allaxandra Guillen – Roseville Public Library

Challenge statement:  Position the library as an essential resource for credible information finding for teens.
Actions: We will create a framework for libraries to get teens and young adults to see the library as a safe and reliable place to find accurate information. 

Group 2:  Ready Access: Reentry Services for Decarcerated Populations

Gregory Mason – County of San Diego Library
Akiliah Manuel Mills – Riverside County Library System
Jenny Rogers – Alameda County Library
Lara Mayelian – Sonoma County Library

Challenge statement: Upon decarceration, many individuals are unaware of the existence of their local libraries, that membership is free, and that there is an abundance of resources available to them. California libraries have an outstanding number of informational, vocational, cultural, educational, and recreational resources that can be branded, packaged and tailored to individuals upon reentry to the community. In this initiative we will bring awareness to these service populations, working to assist and host a safe place for people wanting help to better their lives.
Actions: We will create an: A reentry resources page accessible for California public libraries’ websites. The creation of a statewide map of carceral institutions, local library systems, and reentry demographics distributed throughout the library community. The creation of 1 library tool kit to establish partnerships with local and state non-profit organizations, using the library as a platform for in-tandem services.

Group 3:  Learning from the Pandemic: Using a Trauma-informed Approach in Post-Pandemic Programing

Bryan Duran – San Francisco Public Library
Shamika Simpson – Long Beach City College Library
Brittany Garcia – Rancho Cucamonga Public Library
Ashleigh Torres – El Dorado County Library
Sasha Kinney – Sacramento Public Library

Challenge: As libraries across the nation are reopening in a post-COVID-19 environment, they must reenvision both library services and community needs through programming. 
Actions: To address the programming mechanics problem, we will create a flexible, adaptable toolkit that 1) offers a range of updated library service options for community users, while 2) also providing training resources for library staff. This toolkit addresses the three areas of programming and functionality in this post-pandemic environment: virtual, hybrid and in-person.

Group 4: California Librarians Small Business Toolkit

Michael Whitely – Alhambra Civic Center Library
Stewart Shaw – Berkeley Public Library
Fernanda Nunez – Downey City Library
Tiffany Bradford-Oldham – San Jose Public Library
Charlie “Nikki”  Hyatt – Solano County Library
Melisa Mendoza – South San Francisco PL

Challenge: Underrepresented adults will gain confidence in their skills and abilities and become financially literate.
Actions: We will create an online toolkit that is split into two separate hemispheres: Librarian Resources and Patron Resources. The Librarian Resources section outlines how to create a business-building program, where to find information about the local community, creating partnerships, learning from others and a victory sharing blog. The Patron Resources section contains information regarding creating a business plan, obtaining grants, legal information, books and grant information. They work together to both inform the Librarian of resources available and patrons of how to build or grow their business.

Group 5: Bridging the Digital Divide Post Covid

Ray Pun – Hoover Institution Library & Archives
Kendra Johnson – Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library
Karina Huerta – Sunnyvale Public Library
Jennifer Hooker – Santa Cruz Public Libraries
Zoraida Martinez – City of Santa Clarita Public Library

Challenge: Identify ways for libraries to bridge the digital divide during the pandemic and in the future by re-imaging how libraries serve communities at large including rural communities, communities of color, and low-income communities.
Action: Determine the extent of the digital divide within the target communities.  Identify which neighborhoods in the city/state are in most need.

      • Research/review data that shows digital gap between target communities and affluent, non-communities of color. 
      • Identify which areas in the state are in most need. 
      • Outreach to those underserved communities, find out their needs/wants from public library colleagues. 
      • Identify community and major organizations interested in digital inclusion. 

Group 6: Becoming Inclusive Community Hubs: Internal EDI Work for Public Libraries

Alexandra Bimbach – Contra Costa County Library
Haley Zamora – San Diego County Library
Hannah Giles – Tulare County Free Library
Lorena Romero – Santa Clara Public Library

Challenge: How do libraries position themselves as community hubs (partnerships)?
Actions: Based on the results, the authors curated considerations and possible action items to improve BIPOC services in libraries.

Visit the link below for examples of the outstanding work that the groups from the 2018-19 Leadership Challenge did:

Click here for 2018 – 2019 Leadership Challenge! Archive

Topics covered include:

      • Census 2020
      • Diversity in the Profession
      • Early Childhood Education
      • New Service Models

For questions about the DLCL Program, please contact:

Martin Gomez, Project Manager at mgomez@cla-net.org
or
Christine Bolivar, Project Coordinator at cbolivar@cla-net.org