iSchool Alumnae and Student Sweep CLA 2019 Election


The California Library Association Board of Directors will be Spartan strong with San José State University alumnae and a student winning seats in the 2019 CLA elections that were held on October 4, 2019. Jayanti Addleman, Brandy Buenafe, Jeanette Contreras, and Mayra Fuentes will take office on Saturday, October 26, 2019, and be honored at the annual CLA conference in Pasadena.

Jayanti AddlemanAddleman, who graduated with her Master of Library and Information Science degree from San José State University in 1985 and is director of library services at Hayward Public Library in California, was elected president and will serve as the president-elect until the CLA conference in 2020, when she will take over as president for the following term.

“I originally ran for a seat on the Board of Directors to give all underrepresented groups, including rural and smaller libraries, a voice,” she said. “But it was also very important to me to help keep the work of the organization going. This is important work and we all need to be in it together.” 

Addleman said she remembers taking all of her library and information science classes face-to-face, before the MLIS program went exclusively online in 2009. “This was also the early days when computers and databases were becoming an integral part of libraries,” she said. “It was a very exciting time, and the excitement has not let up since then!”

A long-standing member of CLA, Addleman has been on the board for four years, and has seen first-hand how libraries, and their staff, have benefited from CLA’s work. She said she was surprised at how few members of the profession are members of the association. “I believe strongly in the value of CLA to our profession — both individuals as well as institutional members, and thus ultimately to all the communities we serve,” she said.

Addleman said she was “very happy” to learn she’d won the election, and believes becoming president of the board is “an opportunity to serve an organization and profession that has served me very well, to give back, so to speak.”

Looking forward, Addleman envisions the continuing growth of the CLA under her leadership: “I definitely hope to continue to grow our membership, expand our financial stability and, hopefully, implement some of the new ideas I have been hearing from members and non-members alike. I would love to continue to hear from members of our profession about their ideas too,” she noted.

Brandy BuenafeBuenafe, who works in correctional librarianship as a library services administrator, was elected to the seat of at-large representative. The 2007 MLIS graduate said she decided to run for office because she noticed that the other members of the board were all working in public libraries, and that she “wanted to bring a special library perspective.”

Jeanette ContrerasContreras, who earned her MLIS degree in 1994 and currently serves as library director of the Placentia Library District, started volunteering at CLA five years ago. She said it was the passion and commitment she witnessed of past CLA presidents and board members that inspired her to run for the seat of at-large representative. “When I asked the CLA board how I could assist, I was amazed at their willingness to take me in and teach me,” she said. “I’m still learning so much that it feels like graduation was just yesterday.” 

Contreras credits her volunteer experience for “making me a better leader, CLA family member, and person,” and said it’s her enthusiasm, energy and being able to laugh at herself while learning to improve from mistakes that are among the traits that will make her an asset to CLA.

“What makes me perfect is that I am not. I believe my strengths also lie in my ability to bring people together while having fun making amazing things happen. I am passionate about ensuring the viability and sustainability of libraries through conversations and marketing,” she said. 

Contreras explained that she wants CLA “to grow in membership, increase its statewide presence, connect members and communities, and develop stronger fiscal strategies,” and to have that happen, she “needed to get involved and give back to my association. I will roll up my sleeves and do what is needed to get the work done.” 

Feeling humbled to have been elected, Contreras promised she would continue to listen, and acknowledged that solutions and recommendations can only happen with the support of the entire CLA board and its 1,487 members. “I am honored to be serving our CLA community and I look forward to strengthening our professional association,” she said.

Mayra FuentesFuentes, elected student representative, is a current MLIS student at the iSchool and in the process of completing the program’s culminating e-Portfolio project this fall. She will serve as student representative on the board for two consecutive years.

Before starting the MLIS program, Fuentes said she felt that library organizations “were out of reach for me, or I simply didn’t really know how to get involved.” Looking for moral and professional support, she began attending the Los Angeles chapter meetings of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.

“Although I had a general idea of what graduate school entailed, the REFORMA librarians were crucial to my decision to apply for a board position within CLA and encouraged me to venture into new professional experiences,” she said. “I found that joining a library-related organization helped orient me and give me some extra confidence, which encouraged me to submit my name as a candidate for this year’s election.”

Fuentes said she was “nervous and excited” about the process of running for office for the first time. “It was a positive experience seeing the creativity and enthusiasm from all of the candidates during the elections process. I also admire fellow iSchool student Danny Thien Le for running alongside me and working toward increasing student involvement within CLA,” she said. “I hope to use the enthusiasm from the election into the rest of my term and continue the organization’s advocacy efforts.”

The iSchool congratulates each of the election winners and will be hosting a networking reception at the CLA Annual Conference on October 25, 2019. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served alongside opportunities to mingle with iSchool faculty, staff, alumni, students, and friends.