iSchool Alumnae Elected to California Library Association


Three MLIS degree program alumnae were elected to the California Library Association’s leadership board. Congratulations to president-elect Dolly Goyal and board of directors Genesis Hansen and Heather Cousin!

Three San José State University Master of Library and Information Science graduates were recently elected to important positions on the leadership board for the California Library Association.

Dolly Goyal, who completed her MLIS studies at the iSchool in 2007, became president-elect. In her candidate statement she said she wants to explore how CLA can cultivate a culture of diversity within services provided through the types of institutions as well as in the profession itself.

“As CLA president, I will work hard to be representative of what CLA stands for. I enjoy working collaboratively in teams, am open to all ideas, solutions focused, an active listener, and most of all, I like to keep a positive spirit and make work fun. I would be honored to represent you as we move CLA into the future,” Goyal’s statement reads.

After earning her MLIS degree, Goyal started working in youth services and adult services in the Santa Clara County Library District. Her first full-time position was in teen services at San Mateo County Libraries where she later became a branch manager. Goyal is now the director of the Los Gatos Library.

Genesis Hansen, director of library and cultural service for the city of Mission Viejo, will now assume her newly appointed role as a member of the CLA board of directors. Hansen has been a conference committee member several times, and also served on the leadership development committee, so running for the board of directors seemed like “a logical next step,” she said.

“I also felt it was a good time to run as some of the things I care deeply about (e.g. leadership development and continuing education) are currently in a state of transition in California libraries, and I’d like to help CLA define its role in those areas,” Hansen remarked.

In her new role on the CLA board, the 2003 iSchool graduate wants to do more to help build the diverse network of California libraries, staff and stakeholders to better serve and support their communities. “I’d love to see CLA take a larger role in leadership development going forward, and preparing a diverse population to be library leaders and advocates,” Hansen said.

While a student in the iSchool’s MLIS degree program, Hansen had “good exposure” to the extent of the California library ecosystem, including “the different types and sizes of libraries, the diversity of library staff and the communities we serve,” she said. “It’s easy to get stuck in a local bubble and fixated on local issues, and those things are important, but being able to step back and view the big picture is also important and a necessary skill for statewide effectiveness. SJSU broadened my perspective.”

Also elected to the CLA board of directors is Heather Cousin, library services director at Thousand Oaks Public Library. She believes it’s a “great time” to be a part of the team who can help chart the organization’s course.

“CLA has been making a concerted effort to be even more active in providing support and advocacy for libraries and those who work in them,” Cousin said. “Despite having a very small staff, they accomplish so much on behalf of us all. The past few years have been ones characterized by change and upheaval in the organization. With the need to hire an executive director, increase our fiscal sustainability and an ongoing effort to increase transparency, there is so much work to do.”

Cousin, a 2007 iSchool graduate, said the online environment and the group projects she assisted with while an MLIS student helped her learn great strategies for working on the board, where those are key characteristics.

“My best experiences at SJSU were with instructors and students who understood and were excited to communicate the value we have, not just to our patrons, but the whole community,” Cousin expressed. “They guided me toward a perspective about library service that was just that – about service, first and foremost. This activist perspective was exactly what I believed was possible in this field, and they showed me that it could be very much a reality.”

For more information about the California Library Association, visit the website.