California Library Leaders Tell Their Stories

The California Library Leader Memory Project is now available. It’s an exciting resource for new and young library cllmp_logo_smallprofessionals and those aspiring to leadership within the library profession. Through oral histories, California library leaders tell their stories, share their experiences and collective professional memories.

Interviews were conducted by Michael Cart, who is the retired Beverly Hills Director of Library and Community Services. While at Beverly Hills, he was the host of a popular cable television author interview program, “In Print” and is a published author. Regular readers of this blog will also recognize him as the host of our book review podcast series.

Interviews were conducted with:

  • Jose Aponte, San Diego County Library Director
  • Betty Blackman, former Dean of University Library at California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Anne Cain, former County Librarian of Contra Costa County Library
  • Robert M. Hayes, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the School of Library Service at University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Luis Herrera, San Francisco Public Library’s City Librarian
  • Stefan Moses, former Executive Director of the California Library Association
  • G. Ouye, former City Librarian of San Mateo City Library.
  • Jan Sanders, Pasadena Public Library Director
  • Mary Stephens, former County Librarian of Yolo County
  • Gary Strong, former California State Librarian: 1980-1994
  • Binnie Tate Wilkin, former Children’s Specialist of Los Angeles City Library

All interviews can be viewed at

Special thanks to the California Library Leader Memory Project Advisory Board for their invaluable assistance in shaping the project and helping identify the interviewees.

The California Library Leader Memory Project is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

I’m Going to R-Squared! (P.C. Sweeney)

I’m excited to be attending the R-Squared conference in Telluride!  I have been trying to write about my expectations for this conference but while I am excited, I also don’t have any expectations so I’m going to write about what I’m excited about.

This will be my first visit to Telluride and my first visit to Colorado altogether but I heard it’s very pretty.  My good friend Andrea Davis is already there as I write this and her pictures on Facebook have been gorgeous.  She is scouting the area for fun things to do, see, and experience while in that area so I’m excited about picking her brain when I get there.  She usually finds some great things wherever she goes and I have to credit her for some of my most memorable conference experiences.

The People
I have to admit that I wasn’t going to attend this conference at all.  I wanted to stay in branch more this year and I already have a couple of conferences that I’m planning on attending.  I was even about to pass up the scholarship opportunity for us Eurekans by InfoPeople! The problem is that there are going to be so many amazing people there who inspire just about all my work.  This was my biggest inspiration to take this opportunity and submit my application. I thought about listing all of those people here who really inspired me to attend, but really, there are just way to many great people going.  You can see who’s going by looking at the roster listed here-

The Presenters
I’m really excited that there are going to be so few librarians presenting at R-Squared.  One of the things that I’ve complained about before at conferences is that we tend to get locked in an echo chamber.  When we write our blogs only other librarians read them, our friends on FB and Twitter are also librarians, and this doesn’t lend itself to a lot of outside influence or inspiration.  I’m hoping that the presenters at this conference will infuse our profession with some outside knowledge, skills, and inspiration.

The Experience
I think that having to choose an entire experience that we immerse ourselves in throughout the conference is an excellent way to gain a greater depth and breadth of knowledge.  I personally chose the Creative Spaces Experience because we have a need to creatively enhance the space in my library.  I also have some experience from a library construction project and I learned more about libraries during that then I ever did anywhere else.

The Announcements
I’m not sure if many people are aware but there a bunch of rumors of announcements happening throughout R-Squared.  I’ve only heard whispers and rumors of most of them, but the one that I do know about is the development of a Library PAC!  This is a huge development put together by John Chrastka and there will be a fantastic official Launch Party on Tuesday Night.  We’ll see what else is in store from all the other amazing people there.

Ok, yes, for most conferences I often find that socializing with other librarians is one of the most beneficial parts of my conference experience.  At the networking events and afterparties I always learn so much from other people’s experience at a conference, but also I get to talk directly to the people who inspire me who tell me all the new great things they’re working on right now!  We get to come together and celebrate working in the best profession on the planet.  I’ve also made professional friendships and met and been mentored by people who are doing amazing things.  Plus, I like to dance.  For this conference I had the opportunity to help organize the R-Squared Afterparty on Monday which is going to be epic.  You get to pick your own music!

I do this at just about every conference but I wanted to give you a fair warning.  I might come find you with my video camera and interview you for some of my short 1-2 minute conference videos.  JP Porcaro and I do quite a few of these at conferences, but since I’m on my own for this one, I’m going to have get in front of the camera.  I hope I live up to his standard!  You can see our conference videos here.

I could probably write a bunch more about what I’m excited about but I think I’ll leave it at that and just be surprised by anything else that happens while I’m there.  If you’re going, I hope to see you there!

PC Sweeney is Branch Manager at the East Palo Alto Library in the San Mateo County Library System and previous Eurekan! He Loves to meet new people and you can find him online here
Youtube: PC Sweeney’s Channel

Mountaintop Experiences

Next week, Infopeople is sending a few California librarians to a new and unusual library conference. “R-Squared” (Risk x Reward) promises an exciting “mountaintop experience,” both in that cheesy life-changing sense and also in a completely literal sense, as we’ll be spending a few breathless days in Telluride, Colorado, at close to 10,000 feet. We’ve received advisory emails about drinking extra water, toning down weekend exercise goals, and coming with open minds. The conference focuses on experiences that will vividly demonstrate how to lead libraries in taking healthy but meaningful risks–risks with rewards that will revitalize libraries, keeping us relevant and even innovative in a changing world.
Although I now live and work at sea-level in Los Angeles, I grew up on Cobb Mountain in Lake County, and just a few summers ago spent 13 weeks in the Sierra, so I’m pretty familiar with mountaintop experiences. I remember the exhilaration, the inspiration–and needing to sleep a lot. Here’s hoping for a week of beautiful perspectives on the Rockies and libraries, new dreams and ideas to bring back to California, and a conference schedule with mandatory nap-time built in!
Sarah Vantrease is a Branch Manager at Los Angeles Public Library and was a participant in the 2010 Eureka! Leadership Institute.

George and Joan, Thinking Out Loud about the Space Between

podcastIn this special extended edition of George and Joan, Thinking Out Loud, we share George and Joan’s closing talk at this year’s Eureka! Leadership Institute. While the talk was aimed at the departing Eureka fellows, the message was important enough to share as an extended podcast. What is the space between? As they see it, it’s the space between where things are and what’s possible. It’s a space rife with possibilities.

This podcast is about 49 minutes long.

Congratulations to the Eureka! Leadership Institute Class of 2010!

The 32 fellows for the 2010 Eureka! Leadership Institute have been selected! Congratulations to them all! the Institute will take place Sep 28 – Oct 4, 2010 at the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose, CA. This year’s fellows are:

  • Bonnett, Polly – Sierra Madre Public Library
  • Burdick, Ashley – Palos Verdes Library District
  • Calhoun, Amy – Sacramento Public Library
  • Clark, Sarah – Windward School Library
  • Dones, Rosalyn – San Bernardino County Library System
  • Easterwood, Lori – Sacramento Public Library
  • Engel, June – San Diego County Library
  • Escamilla, Manuel – Santa Ana Public Library
  • Fisher, Helen – San Bernardino County Library
  • Garcia, Joseph Trent – San Francisco Public Library
  • Hartman, Anna – San Diego County Library
  • Kanth, Gayathri – Santa Clara County Library
  • Kolb, William (Bill) – Contra Costa County Library
  • Kuo, Alice – Monrovia Public Library
  • Kraus, Hildie – San Diego County Library
  • Lansdown, Erica – Long Beach Public Library
  • Lopez, Patricia – Santa Ana Public Library
  • Lovell, Rita – Alpine County Library
  • McCurtis, Kirby – San Diego Public Library
  • McNabb, Leslie – San Diego Public Library
  • Menear, Kaitlin Elizabeth – Palos Verdes Library District
  • Moretta, Christina – San Francisco Public Library
  • Pelman, Amy – Burlingame Public Library
  • Rowe, Donald – County of Los Angeles Public Library
  • Ruhland, Liz – Contra Costa County Library
  • Serrano, Susan – Butte County
  • Smith, Jennifer – Monterey County Library
  • Sweeney, Patrick – San Mateo County Library
  • Thomas, Sally – Hayward Public Library
  • Thrasher, Shawn – Monrovia Public Library
  • Vantrease, Sarah – Los Angeles Public Library
  • Zeoli, Julie – Yorba Linda Public Library

The mentors for the 2010 Institute are: Jose Aponte, Rosario Garza, Kathy Gould, Genesis Hansen, Luis Herrera, Rivkah Sass, Derek Wolfgram, and Patty Wong.