I had the incredible honor at CSLA’s November 2012 conference of being installed as your new President. Ever since my first CSLA conference in 2002, I have been awed by the incredible people who serve our organization as volunteers, conference presenters, and leaders. It is because of all the wonderful professional development, networking, and support I have received from these people that I have become the teacher librarian I am today. It is also why I knew I had to say “yes” when I was asked to take on this leadership commitment. Fortunately, I had a year of wonderful training as President Elect during 2011-2012 working with two remarkable women: President Pam Oehlman and Past President Diane Alexander.
I pledge to do my very best to serve each and every one of you and to work towards our organization’s mission: to advocate, educate, and collaborate to ensure that all California students and educators are effective users of ideas and information. I know in this endeavor that I will have the support of this year’s Past President Pam Oehlman, our new President Elect Janice Gilmore-See, and a dynamic Board of Directors. But please understand that I will also need all of you to support me in this role. Please contact me with your suggestions, concerns, and questions. And, whether you take on just one volunteer commitment or many this year, please do something to contribute to our organization. I promise that you will get back far more than you give.
Those of you who made it to the conference in November were treated to an incredible line up of inspiring keynote addresses by Google Search Educator Tasha Bergson-Michelson; Craig Cheslog, State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Chief Advisor; Leadership Expert Steve Farber; and first class workshops, concurrent session presentations, and exhibitor learning sessions. While there is no substitute for being there, you can enjoy videos of the keynote sessions and links to concurrent/workshop session handouts on our conference wiki at csla12.wikispaces.com. Also visit our csla.net website for slideshows from the conference. One very special part of the conference for me personally was the opportunity to meet Earline Billing, 1975-1977 CSLA President, who travelled all the way from her retirement home in Jonesboro, Arkansas to attend the conference. As we move forward, it is also valuable and inspiring to look back on where we have come from as an organization.
The last year has been a very challenging one for CSLA as we dealt with shrinking Education budgets, a transition from having our day-to-day operations handled by a management company to being entirely volunteer-run, and bringing ourselves from a precarious financial position to being on good, solid ground. I feel very fortunate to begin my presidency with CSLA moving forward, taking advantage of positive support from the California Department of Education, and building relationships with leaders in both the public sector and private industry to promote the need for strong school libraries and the expertise of those in our field. Please stand by for what I am confident will be lots of great news in the coming months and plan to play a part in it!