2022 ARSL Candidate Statements

Vice President/President Elect
Regional Board Director, Midwest - Regional Board Director, West

Vice President/President Elect

Jennie Garner, Library Director, North Liberty Library, North Liberty, IA

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position?
From my first ARSL conference nine years ago in Raleigh, NC, I felt a kinship with attendees and knew I wanted to be an active part of this organization and the incredible benefits it provides. I felt immediately welcomed into the circle of talented, smart library professionals who make up the membership and share my passion for libraries and the work we do in small and rural communities. Not only does ARSL assist its members in strengthening the libraries in our respective communities but ARSL has built a national community of librarians and partner organizations who put energy into supporting each other and are invigorated by public service.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?
I was active in in various roles on the conference planning committee from 2013 to 2019, including chairing the selection committee in 2018 and 2019. I served one term on the ARSL executive board, 2017-2020, during the transition from a working board to a governing board. I also served as chair of the advocacy and partnerships committee. I am currently co-chair of the newly reorganized Partnerships Committee.

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
Having worked at North Liberty Library (NLL), Iowa, for 25 years in multiple roles – director since 2014 – I have a unique vantage of watching our community grow from 5000 residents to almost 20,000 in a short time. The library grew as well, from 1400 square feet to 17,900. I was thrilled to lead the fund-raising efforts to expand the library in 2013.
In addition to being involved in ARSL and the Iowa Library Association (ILA) as both a member and chair of assorted committees, I am an active volunteer in our local community. I've served on multiple boards, chaired the Yes for Kids' speakers' bureau for a school bond campaign, and helped plan large community events. Most recently, I served two one-year terms as President of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, an internationally designated organization in our area, and am currently past president.
I can’t imagine a more gratifying job than working in a small library and being active in our small community where we get to know our community members and provide a vast array of excellent services.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
I am a staunch supporter of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging and came by this passion at an early age. My parents were foster parents and I grew up with a mother who was a minority councilor (equivalent to a diversity officer today) at our local private college. North Liberty Library was the second library to signed on the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity and we published an equity statement in our newsletter.
Personally, I am doing the work to learn to be a better ally. I participated as a citizen in multiple peaceful protests and our library staff was involved in planning a kids' peaceful protest and in Juneteenth events in our area. We offer equity toolkits at our library and I am working with a local business person to create family discussion kits centering around EDI.
I am committed to promoting inclusion in ARSL and working to a recruit a more diverse membership and leadership.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?
I began my path to librarianship as a library volunteer and president of our Friends of the Library group at the NLL in the early 1990s. I was then hired as a part-time library assistant working the front line. I received my MLIS from University of Iowa and participated in local and state leadership programs. I have advocated for libraries at our state capitol and been involved in fund-raising for our library and local events. I've enjoyed the volunteer work I've done for ARSL, particularly working with national partners on the partnership committee and on executive board. I have presented at ARSL and ILA Conferences; Arkansas Library Association Conferences; and for WebJunction and OCLC REALM. The leadership roles I’ve held have strengthened my ability and confidence speaking to people from diverse backgrounds. My library and community volunteer experiences, as well as my work to date with ARSL, will benefit me in serving in the role of ARSL president-elect. As ARSL continues to grow and adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of our libraries and provide top notch continuing education opportunities, I would be honored to serve in this role and represent our membership in advocating for libraries everywhere.

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
An Iowa native, I grew up in central Iowa, met and married my high school sweetheart, and we moved to Iowa City for college and just never left the area. We moved to North Liberty in 1990 and I started volunteering at the library in 1993, the same year we had our son. We have two lovely adult children, Nick and Sadie, and a lovely daughter-in-law, Sydney. My husband, Shawn, is a computer engineer and does network security for UI Hospitals - he has come in handy in helping with computer related issues over the years at the library! My love for libraries was cultivated through my work at North Liberty Library; collaborations with local libraries, small and large; activity in the Iowa Library Association; and other local and professional organizations. My work with ARSL has been some of the most rewarding of my career and I've made lifelong friends through this wonderful library community. I feel, no matter what I'm doing, that I always wear two hats, citizen and librarian, and I love how each of those hats fit!

 

Patrick Bodily, Library Manager, Independence Public Library, Independence, OR

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position? I believe that our libraries should be the backbone of our communities. One of the greatest things about ARSL is that we focus on strengthening individual librarians, which in turn elevates the services we provide at our libraries and builds our libraries into the core pillars of our nation. ARSL’s mission is directly in line with my core beliefs about the importance of libraries and the impact we can and should have in the lives of our communities. Throughout the years of my involvement with ARSL, I have received so much help, training, and knowledge from the association. I am running for this position because I believe it is time for me to give back to the organization that has given me so much and helped shape me into the librarian I am today.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?
I have been a member of ARSL since I first began working in rural libraries in 2012. I have been involved with the listserv since that time. I have been fortunate enough to attend every conference since that time aside from Little Rock (which I’m still sad about!), and have been able to present multiple sessions at conferences during that time. I’ve also been able to participate in the COVID-19 roundtables and some of the TRAIN sessions that have been held over the past year and a half.

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
I’ve been lucky enough during my career to work in multiple states either in or with small and rural libraries. I’ve seen firsthand all the amazing things that libraries across the country are capable of doing and have been fortunate enough to be a member of ARSL the entire time. My membership in ARSL has been foundational to my personal philosophy about the importance of rural and small libraries. My positions at libraries and while working for a state library agency have helped me learn how to be a better leader at a local and state level, and have given me the tools to be ready to work with the current and future members of the ARSL Board, the ARSL Executive leadership, and the members of ARSL as a whole.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
I recognize that libraries serve a vast range of individuals each with unique experiences and characteristics - both staff and patrons. Recognizing my own personal privilege, I believe that the best thing I will be able to do is to promote an inclusive environment where all members of ARSL feel as though they have a voice, are represented, and feel protected regardless of gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, and all other personal, social, cultural and economic perspectives. I understand that I am not an authority when it comes to EDI and that I have much to learn, but the best role I can take as a member of the ARSL board is to help provide a place of learning, education, and practice as we strive to better ourselves, our libraries, and our communities.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of professional development opportunities, including strategic planning, facilitation training, and data and evaluation workshops, among others. Each opportunity I’ve been able to take advantage of has helped shape me into the librarian and leader I am today, and I hope to be able to use those skills as I work with ARSL to shape the future of the Association.

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
I recently took on my current position of Library Manager in Independence, Oregon. In my free time, I’ve loved exploring my new home in the Pacific Northwest, working on my ever expanding “to be read” pile, and baking sourdough bread with somewhat consistent results.


 

Regional Board Director, Midwest

Erin Silva, Youth & Teen Services Librarian, North Liberty Library, North Liberty, IA

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position?
As we all know, libraries are so much more than books, and the people that staff these libraries do so much more than check out books! I believe the ARSL Board must help amplify the outstanding work of our little libraries. Having worked in a library with a full-time staff of 3 (including myself), I know the importance of professional development that isn't just in-person, conference-based; we often can't afford to go. I am a strong proponent of webinars and online courses that help small library workers learn new skills or adapt a program to fit the needs of their patrons. I want to help our small but mighty community learn ways to promote our services to the public that may not remember libraries exist.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?
I directly respond to questions on the listserv when I have something to contribute. I have presented at the past two ARSL conferences in Vermont and Kansas. I also contributed to social media posts on the ARSL Facebook page in July of 2019, and opted to be a room monitor at the annual conference in Vermont.

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
When I began my career as a librarian, I worked in a state archive. After moving and landing a job as the youth services librarian in a town of 2000, I knew the only way to excel at my job was to learn from others. I joined my state library association and networked with other librarians in different sized libraries. I work very well with folks from all walks of life - I learned how to help Amish patrons, professors, individuals with autism and disaffected teens. I've handled volatile situations, breaking up a fight between teenagers, disgruntled committee members, and unwanted attention. I've written grants, presented at national and statewide conferences, and served as the chair of the Youth Services Subdivision within the Iowa Library Association. I've also been an advisory board member for youth services in Iowa. Being in a smaller library has afforded me the opportunities to take risks and try new things since we generally aren't pigeonholed into one specific job.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
I recently completed the PLA Leadership Lab: Embedding EDI in Library Leaders. I learned about asset-based community building, ways to build partnerships and help resolve unequal power dynamics. ARSL, along with other ALA subdivisions, all need more BIPOC representation. I would like to use the skills I learned in the Leadership Lab to encourage more engagement with Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color. I believe that recruiting people with a variety of backgrounds only enhances the profession, and I would also like to see this happen on library boards in our communities.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?
I have been a newsletter editor for committees within the Iowa Library Association and have served as a secretary on several committees as well.

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
I am on the board of a local non-profit, which I've helped guide since its inception. Houses into Homes provides gently-used beds, furniture, and household items for families and individuals in Johnson County, Iowa, who are exiting homelessness, domestic violence, and other crisis situations. Our mission is to help people feel the comfort of home and to do so in a way that honors their experience and engages them with dignity. The experiences I've had delivering beds to kids and adults in my community has opened my eyes to the inequities so many of our neighbors (and library patrons) experience; I try to keep our recipients in the forefront of my mind when doing library work.
I also have two dogs that I'm crazy about, and am a proud alumni of the University of Kansas. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

 

John Clexton, Library Director, Gladwin County District Library, Gladwin, MI

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position?
As a member of ARSL, I have been refreshed, hopeful, and excited about what this organization brings to our rural and small libraries. At the risk of discrediting other library organizations and groups, I have to say I have found that ARSL has spoken directly to our needs, issues, and concerns. Our budgets are in sharp conservation mode in coming out of the pandemic, a major flood disaster, and concerns of penal fines being a target of our state legislatures. Therefore, the only way for us to attend any events such as this is through grants or scholarships. It also comes with, if awarded, a bit of a “humble brag”. So many need these events, but as I begin to cement my directorship for our county libraries, I find the need high in being able to attend these events.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?
Since my first experience of joining as a member in 2019, I have immersed myself in ARSL. I currently serving on the ARSL Governance Committee, running in the past election, and also currently serving as a task force committee on special topics. Not only is participation in association matters is a concept I consider critical but serves as an involvement in association development programs, webinars, and other educational events. Not to mention our fabulous annual conferences. Also as a recent fellowship of the small and rural award winner with Berea College, future interworkings with ARSL and Rural Library Network is in the future I feel compelled to continue involvement

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
As the library director of our county district library and as a previous director in the US Virgin Islands library system. I know the common phrase do more with less. Our library communities are changing with technology. We are often trying to find ways to achieve these advancements by providing new and demanding services while also serving traditional library services and values. We often have to take our big ideas and collaborate them with out-of-the-box networking and collaboration. In these actions, I can serve to represent all regional libraries in achievement in some of these big ideas. My involvement in many county functions and “think tanks” are proof that anything is achievable when we can gather collectivity. By leading our region into a group of one, we can accomplish some bold ideas. I also know the complicated current issues in small and rural areas of achieving equality and diversity for all patrons. Continual education is needed with patrons and staff alike that libraries are for all. This is regardless of religion, race, and sexual orientation. The representation to our federal, state, and local leaders is imperative in the protection of our funding and security of library staff in our communities, who are heroes in the eyes of our patrons.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
As has some study on this matter, its best to break it down into 4 categories.  The first step is to reveal relevant opportunities; it’s gaining awareness of different types of diversity across groups or our Midwest region. Not one library is the same, but we all need to identify and value the types of diversity. The second step is to Elevate equity. Again many libraries and employees have uneven advantage, opportunity, privilege, and power, so it’s not the same for everyone. So in observations and realization of these inequalities, I can help set goals and actions that address these barriers and bring them to the organizational front. At that point we can reveal and elevate these differences and activate what needs to be done and how to get there
The ability to collectively evaluate, coordinate and quantify, would be my job as a representative to lead for a change, foster relationships, manage conflict, and ultimately advance us as a library community with our core beliefs of libraries are for all, including equity, diversity, and inclusion as we grow together.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?
In my years as part time of a leadership team, in the role as as negotiator of union matters in legal proceedings, negotiations and collaborations I feel that I bring an ability to bring individuals together for a common cause. Regardless of personal opinion, my role in these matters is of unified efforts of bringing issues to a higher level. The ability to collectively gather voices of the many to collaborate a regional group I can fairly representative many groups as one. Also in my roles of leadership either as a director or chairperson I have the ability, to make a personal commitment to matters and seek completions of goals at hand regardless if they are minutiae details, events at a national level, the ability to establish command, direction, or a successful outcome to becoming a leader. It is my firm belief that I have these qualifications. Lastly, but still importantly, in my experience as a Firefighter/EMT I know that things are always fluid and you must react impulsively but with clear, tact, and decisive action. There is always a textbook solution, but there are several ways to react and fight things that are not textbook.

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
Outside of work, I cherish time with my lovely wife and my three college-aged children. Between spending family time, and being the “alpha leader” of my two lovable dogs, I try to spend as much time in the outdoors as possible. From hiking to canoeing and simply sitting and enjoying the natural delight in a natural is important. Pre covid, traveled the world extensively from backpacking solo around Europe to living in the Caribbean. I cherish different cultures, regions, and people. I love to spend time getting to know these different places in the world and thrive from our identities as part of how as we are all of the human race, all individuals with different cultures and identities. The world is a fascinating place. Although not as frequent, I’m a heavy music buff. From playing bass guitar to collecting vinyl records, I tend to search and collect exotic vinyl treasures from online to thrift shops. As well, I’m a former hockey player, I love anything hockey - viewing, collecting, reading and the rare ability to work in a library in a hockey arena attached is somewhat of a very ironic coincidence.

 

Lucretia Calonder, Director, Altoona Public Library, Altoona, KS

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position?
From day one in my new career, getting the community involved and growing again, has been my passion and sole purpose.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?
I am a member of ARSL, also a member of the Governance Committee, participated in the 2020 conference and am planning on attending in 2021!

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
Being the only employee puts me involved in every aspect and has already led to many leaderships in my community.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
I am not a judgemental person, i believe all deserve to be able to read, learn and use any necessary resources the library has to offer.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?

I have served as the local school foundation secretary; currently serve on the ARSL governance committee; am a member of ALA, KLA, and PLA; and am working on Bachelors in education and Masters of Library Science.

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
I am married with a son. I am a MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Warrior! I went from being wheelchair bound, having to relearn everything from reading and writing to walking. I taught myself how to do all of this again after having a crippling surgery due to my MS. Now i'm a full time student and active resident in my community.


 

Regional Board Director, West

 C. Pete Peterson, School Principal, Garfield County School District, Tropic, UT

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position?
Small libraries are underserved and often have limited materials: stacks, research materials, and even technology. I believe, through lobbying and other government activity, we can do a better job at getting needed materials and technology to the rural areas.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?
I joined the organization in 2020-2021 to compete for grants. Prior to that I had little working knowledge of the organization.

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
I have been in rural schools for 32 years. I know them very well. I know their needs and their wants.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
I am an old fat white guy, but I am a friend to all. I don't care who you love or what color of skin you have. I care about what you an bring t the table to make school (or in this case, the ARSL) better.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?
I am a people person. I enjoy working to develop libraries and filling empty shelves. One school that I was involved in had technology and science books from the 50s. Yeah, not acceptable. I worked to improve and update their stacks.

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
I am married and the father of five children and the grandfather of 17. I love skiing, movies, a good book, a warm fire, and a challenge. This position would challenge me and I look forward to representing the libraries in the west!

 

Venesia Adams, Library Director, East Adams Library District, Ritzville, WA

What is it about ARSL's mission that makes you want to run for a Board position?
Our mission is to grow, connect and build communities one block at a time. With that same endeavor, I would like to promote and build relationships and communities within and outside of my sphere of influence.

Prior to running for this election, how have you engaged with ARSL in the past?

How has your experience working in rural or small libraries prepared you to serve as a leader of ARSL?
I have been in this position for a very short time but, I have observed enough to know whether small or rural, a need is still a need. It is how you solve that need is of importance and team efforts works.

ARSL is dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession and our communities. How do you see yourself contributing to those goals as a leader?
I contribute to this motto everyday whether personal or professional through relationships and through intellectual freedom as far as patron needs and a clear reflection in our collection.

Aside from what you've mentioned above, are there any beneficial skills or experience that you would bring to the position?
Leadership and Listening

Can you tell us a few things about yourself outside of your work life?
Outside side of work, I am a published author, community activist and other social platforms that require competence. I write leadership manuals for various topics within an organization in which I am the Senior Leadership.