President of the CLA and iSchool Alumna Strongly Advocates for the LIS Profession
“It really helps you understand the bigger picture, keep an eye on the profession, and the issues that all types of libraries are facing. We’re in a field that is constantly being threatened, so it’s important to know when and where we need to advocate for our profession and how to communicate our relevancy in our communities.”
MLIS Graduate ‘07
As leader of the CLA’s efforts and a library services manager, San José State University School of Information alumna Dolly Goyal fights hard to show the relevancy of librarianship to communities.
As a naturally curious individual, iSchool alumna and president of the California Library Association Dolly Goyal, ’07 MLIS, was initially interested in the research and investigation skills acquired in the LIS field. “I also was very interested in the archival process—,” says Goyal, “particularly film archives.” These initial interests grew as Goyal explored them throughout her undergraduate academic career and, later, her graduate academic career here at SJSU. “The LIS skills I’ve learned,” she says, “showed me how to better help individuals and communities achieve their life goals and connect them with the right tools and resources.” Her skills in service and leadership developed into a fulfilling career as a library services manager and as sitting president of the CLA.
After considering careers in criminal justice and journalism as part of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Goyal discovered the MLIS was covered by the program and never looked back. “Once I enrolled in classes,” says Goyal, “I knew it was a perfect fit!” The reputation, flexibility and location of SJSU’s School of Information made the decision to attend the MLIS program at SJSU pretty simple.
Ready for a Challenge
Today, Goyal works at San Mateo County Libraries as library services manager for youth and families. Says Goyal, “I am responsible for all of the system-wide programs for children and teens, family engagement and outreach.” Goyal, of course, is also president of the CLA, a position she worked towards over several years while at San Mateo County Libraries, a system that Goyal says encouraged her professional growth every step of the way. “I attended my first CLA in 2012,” she recalls, “where I learned about all of the advocacy work CLA does for California libraries. During this time, I was also accepted into the Eureka! Leadership Institute, and both experiences threw me deeper into the world of libraries in CA.”
Goyal’s development as a leader began with her studies at SJSU, continued through her careers as library director and library services manager, and advanced further with her experiences in the institute and CLA. She gained a vast network of connections, valuable skills, and participated as a presenter in CLA conferences several times and as a task force member for the Youth Services Interest Group (YSIG). “After all that,” Goyal says, “the Leadership Development Committee encouraged me to run for the presidency. Timing was perfect, and I was ready to take on the challenge and see what I could do to help CA libraries!”
As president, Goyal’s responsibilities are varied. Right now, though, her biggest task is planning the next annual conference, set to take place in the fall in Santa Clara, CA (November 9-11). “Planning for that began last November,” says Goyal, “and our planning committee has been very busy since then.” Otherwise, Goyal works with the board of directors, business manager, and CLA staff to ensure the organization is operating smoothly internally and externally. Says Goyal, “I work closely with the State Library and Advocacy & Legislation Committee and help move forward legislative initiatives and secure state funding. I make sure we’re communicating appropriately with our membership and also oversee and work with the CLA committees, making appointments as necessary.”
Although she may be just slightly biased, Goyal believes organizations like CLA are crucial to a successful career in librarianship. “It really helps you understand the bigger picture, keep an eye on the profession, and the issues that all types of libraries are facing,” enthuses Goyal. “We’re in a field that is constantly being threatened, so it’s important to know when and where we need to advocate for our profession and how to communicate our relevancy in our communities.” Provided with this knowledge by CLA and her time here at SJSU, Goyal was able to grow in her leadership roles to the esteemed positions she holds now.
Indeed, her courses at SJSU opened Goyal’s eyes to the wide world of the MLIS and provided her lasting skills that she needs to succeed even today. “The course that has proved the most useful to me,” says Goyal, “was my communications course. It helped shaped my understanding of best ways to communicate depending on your audience, and also helped me take a step back and always be mindful of what I was communicating in return, verbally and through body language.” Goyal carries these and all her lessons from her endlessly helpful professors with her to this day.
Goyal advises current iSchool students to take stock of all their skills and continue to hone them even after graduation—to never stop learning. She also urges those students graduating in less than two months to get involved in as many libraries and library organizations like CLA, ALA, ALSC, and beyond as they can, both professionally and personally “Apply for as many employment opportunities as you can,” she says, “and you will find the organization that is the right fit you. At one point, I was working as an extra-help librarian in three different library systems, but it provided me with great experience and exposure to so many different communities.”