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2018 Board of Directors Nominees
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Minnesota Library Association President-Elect

Kirsten Clark, University of Minnesota Libraries, Twin Cities

Kirsten Clark is the Director of Access & Information Services at the University of Minnesota Libraries, Twin Cities.  In this position, she manages staff in Access and Collections; Reserves; Information Services and User Experience; Undergraduate Services; Security; Government Publications; and the Map Library.  She works with other Research & Learning Division staff to enhance the Libraries’ roles in support and engagement of the University community and the public through stewardship of and access to content, and services in support of teaching, learning, and research.

Previous to this role, Kirsten was the Government Information and Regional Depository Librarian serving the states of Minnesota, South Dakota and Michigan, and working with over 70 selective depositories in public, academic, special and law libraries to support free access to government information.  Before coming to the University of Minnesota, she held positions as Government Information Librarian at St. John’s University and New Mexico State University, as well as worked at the University of Colorado Boulder as Project Manager on a $500,000 IMLS Grant, Government Information in the 21st Century: Training Librarians to be Government Information Specialists.

Kirsten has been active in MLA in 2007 and served as the Member-at-Large and Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair (2011-2013) and received the MLA President’s Award in 2013.  She also has served on various ALA groups including chairing the Government Documents Round Table and being appointed to the ALA Committee on Legislation, Subcommittee on Government Information.

Statement of Intent
Throughout my 20 years in the profession, I took the opportunity to work with staff in all areas of the library, and through my work as a regional depository librarian, with staff in all types of libraries.  These experiences helped build my personal philosophy that together we can work towards the common goal of providing the best service we can to all those we serve. Organizations such as MLA provide a core venue to assist in not only building skills and knowledge for ourselves and our own libraries, but also offer opportunities in-person and virtually to learn from each other to build up our profession.  
My previous MLA leadership experience provides a solid foundation for expanding my knowledge to leadership of the organization and looking for ways to collaborate to meet the needs of the ever evolving world that we work in and with.  The next couple years will see many opportunities for libraries together to step up and step out to provide that best service.  I thank the MLA Nominating Committee and you all for the opportunity to be considered one of the leaders to build our organization and show through our actions and philosophy that together we are much more than the sum of our parts.  

Pam O'Hara, Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) 

Pam is new to SELCO this year, where she provides training and continuing education to SELCO members, as well as providing technical support to online libraries.  She recently served as Instructional Librarian at RCTC, where she worked to increase information literacy in college students, as well as increasing collaboration between faculty and librarians. Pam worked for 10 years at the Rochester Public Library in various roles as Page Supervisor, Instructor, Makerspace creator, and reader’s advisor, as well as creating programming. Pam has also worked as the Music Librarian at Carleton College, a clerk at the Transportation Research Institute (Ann Arbor, MI), and as a high school Latin teacher at a boys’ Catholic military school. Pam received her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked for two years as the Astronomy Librarian and in the University archives preservation lab. She earned her B.A. in Latin/Ancient Studies/Education from St. Olaf College. Pam is a graduate of MILE 2011, served on MILE 2013 Committees and as adjunct host, and is currently a mentor for a MILE 2017 MILE alumna. She is on the MLA 2017 Conference Planning Committee for Local Arrangements.

Statement of Intent
I am grateful to be considered for MLA’s next President-Elect. This has been a very active year in the world of librarianship; we have had to step up and do what librarians do best - advocate, teach, and include.

Under our nation’s current administration, the role of librarianship has become more important;
libraries can continue to rely on and promote trusted journalistic, governmental and scientific resources. As a leader, I would advocate for all of us to educate our patrons about assessing news sources and evaluating bias. We play an important role in our communities by serving everyone, making them feel safe in our spaces, and ensuring that our collections accurately reflect our communities. In addition, our community partners, our communications, and our programming should be diverse and inclusive (and I don’t mean just including Swedes as well as Norwegians).


Minnesota Library Association Treasurer

Jonathan Carlson, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University

Jonathan Carlson is the Science Librarian at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University where he provides reference and research help, library instruction, and collection development for the sciences and chairs the Library Web Committee. Jonathan completed his Master of Arts in Library and Information Studies at UW-Madison after completing a Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management at Michigan Tech. A 2013 graduate of the MLA Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE), he has served as co-chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2013 MLA Conference, co-chair of the MILE 2015 Planning Committee’s Communications Subcommittee, served on the MLA Education Task Force, and has been Communications Officer for ARLD since 2014.

Statement of Intent

It is an honor to be nominated for the position of MLA Treasurer. I’ve personally experienced the important role MLA plays in connecting librarians in Minnesota and providing us a voice. In order to carry out this important work, we need to maintain a balanced budget; as treasurer, I aim to do just that. I took three semesters of accounting classes in high school and served as treasurer for our local chapter of Aid Association for Lutherans.A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Tanzania) and Lutheran Volunteer Corps Alum (Minneapolis), I hope to continue my passion for service by running for election as MLA Treasurer.

Amanda Pruka, Normandale Community College 

Amanda Pruka is a reference and instruction librarian at Normandale Community College, where she also serves as the current chair of the Library Department. While she is interested in all aspects of librarianship, she is focused on efforts to promote information fluency and access to information. She feels strongly that developing strong information fluency skills and having access to libraries and librarians is essential to a healthy democracy and the empowerment of all people. To that end, she is committed to not only teaching and reference, but to outreach and education on the importance of libraries and our function in education and civil society. 

Statement of Intent
I am honored to be nominated for Treasurer of the Minnesota Library Association. I will work to be a good steward of the MLA and provide timely and transparent information. I strongly believe that the MLA supports and enriches my work as a librarian, and I believe this positively effects the community I serve.  I am excited for an opportunity to become more involved in MLA and to work in a leadership role. 

Minnesota Library Association Member-At-Large

Jennifer Lund,College of St. Scholastica (CSS)

Jennifer Lund is a Library Specialist at the College of St. Scholastica (CSS) in Duluth, MN. Jennifer manages Interlibrary Loan and assists with Circulation and Reference. She is a member of the Lake Superior Libraries Symposium Steering Committee and was site coordinator for the LSLS 2016 at CSS. She has served on the ILL Steering Committee, Collection Development Unconference Committee, and ILL RFP Team for the PALS consortium. She led hosting efforts for the Fall 2015 PALS User Group Meeting at CSS. She also served on the MLA Local Arrangements Committee for MLA 2016. Jennifer graduated with her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in May 2016 and is currently enrolled in The College of St. Scholastica’s MBA in Leadership and Change program. 

Statement of Intent

I am honored to be nominated for Member at Large position. I am passionate about serving the Minnesota library community. My work with the PALS consortium and with the Lake Superior Libraries Symposium have provided me with the necessary skills to take on the Member at Large position. I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow MLA members. I enjoyed serving on the MLA Local Arrangements Committee in 2016 and I am eager to take on this role. Thank you for your consideration.

Tasha McLachlan, Hennepin County Library

Tasha McLachlan is an Associate Librarian with Hennepin County Library at Franklin in Minneapolis.  At Franklin she is a Teen Tech Squad Mentor, avid reference desk worker, soccer with the kids on the library lawn player, community news junkie, collection development extraordinaire (in training) and budding facilitator of the neighborhood-renowned Franklin Library Anime Club.
The ink is barely dry on her MLIS from St. Catherine University and while there she served as Chair of the ALA Student Chapter and Communications Officer for the Student Governance Organization.  Outside of the classroom, Tasha was chosen as a Student-to-Staff participant with ALA and worked with the Public Affairs Office at ALA Annual.  She also served as a Reading Together Mentor with Saint Paul Public Library, and was an intern with SPPL as well.   Most recently, she was honored to be a part of the 2017 MLA Minnesota Institute of Leadership Excellence (MILE) cohort.  
Coming up at MLA 2017, you can find Tasha co-presenting on customer service in libraries!
When she’s not at the library, Tasha enjoys watching baseball with her family, eating cheese and reading too many books at once.
Statement of Intent
I am honored and excited to be nominated for the position of Member-at-Large!  Though new to librarianship as a career, I have been working with librarians for years and especially focused on spending time hearing out the innovations, concerns and philosophies of librarians around Minnesota and the country while in library school. 

As a student, I worked on getting other students aware of what they can do for MLA and what MLA can do for them.  As a professional, I have been working on doing the same thing with a special focus on my fellow minority librarians in our continued struggle with underrepresentation in the field.  As Member-at-Large, I would continue to listen to and advocate for librarians, libraries and the people who use them as their demographics and needs are constantly changing and finding ways for MLA to support the wide spectrum of libraries and librarians across Minnesota.

Minnesota Library Association Legislative Chair-Elect

Jake Grussing, Scott County Library

Jake Grussing is the director of the Scott County Library (Shakopee, MN). He began his career at the St. Cloud Public Library as a volunteer in the inter-library loan department, which was followed by positions of increased responsibility within Great River Regional Library (GRRL). While working at GRRL, he earned a Master's in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jake has been Scott County’s library director since 2013. In that role he has focused on advocating for the importance of early learning and aligning the library's strategy with community priorities.

Statement of Intent

I am grateful for the opportunity to be considered for the position of MLA Legislative Chair. Minnesota libraries daily demonstrate their value and vitality through programs and services that address adult and early literacy, workforce development and support, and access to broadband, to name only a few. The work we do is often exceptional, and I believe the Legislative Chair's role is to provide tools and opportunities that help library staff and supporters advocate for libraries. I hope to build on the great work of previous Legislative Chairs to evolve our advocacy efforts and strengthen relationships with stakeholders and legislators.

Ann Hokanson, Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative (TdS)

Ann Hokanson is the Executive Director of the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative (TdS), which is both the regional public library system and multi-type system for the nine-county region in south central Minnesota.  Previously, she was the Director of the Austin Public Library for 14 years. Her first professional job was as an archivist, but she quickly realized she was better suited to more direct public service. She has a solid understanding of the way libraries of all types are structured, funded and operate in Minnesota.

Ann has advocated for libraries at the local, state, and federal level her entire career, through grassroots personal action, advocacy for city and county funding, and testimony at the legislature on library issues.

Statement of Intent
I appreciate the nomination as Legislative Chair.  I have a passion for improving the lives of the people our libraries serve, and an ability to effectively share with decision-makers how libraries get that job done.  I am committed to building effective working relationships between people and across institutions.
If elected, I will work hard for you. I will expand on the work of previous chairs to include more people in the work we need to do. I have volunteered for the working legislative committee established by our current incoming legislative chair, Ann Walker-Smalley, and anticipate continuing this initiative. I will be a clear, strong voice for you when I am asked to testify before a committee or meet with individual legislators.
I am grateful that the staff and board of directors of TdS are supportive of my candidacy, and stand ready to help themselves. I am  honored to be nominated and am eager to serve. If I am not elected, I commit to continuing to work collaboratively with the chair and others to develop and advance our legislative agenda.


Minnesota Library Association Intellectual Freedom Chair-Elect

Julia Carlis, Dakota County Library

As Youth Programming and Outreach Librarian at Dakota County Library, Julia Carlis ensures branch librarians are able to deliver excellent programs from storytime to art classes, computer programming to magic. She coordinates with program vendors, other county departments, and across the library system to create promotional materials and provide information and materials to staff and patrons. She also works to partner with community organizations to bring library services to the community and leads the development of the annual Youth Services Summer Reading Program, including the 2017 revamp to incorporate outcome measurements.

Prior to her current role at Dakota County Library, she was a youth services librarian with Washington County Library, and a substitute librarian for Hennepin County Library.

She was a member of the 2015 MLA Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE) cohort, and co-chair for 2017.

Statement of Intent
Thank you for the nomination for the position of MLA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair-Elect. Access to information and resources is at the core of ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and is the center of the work library workers do on a daily basis. It is my belief that MLA, through the Intellectual Freedom Committee and other activities, is a valuable champion of people’s rights to share their voices and accessing the voices, stories, and histories of others. I would be honored to advocate on behalf of the people of Minnesota via the MLA Intellectual Freedom Committee.

Ria Newhouse, Pioneerland Library System

In 2002, Ria graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began working as a Teen Services librarian outside of Indianapolis.  She has worked in a variety of settings since then, including public, academic, and prison libraries. She has published several articles in Library Journal and her unique experience in different types of libraries has allowed her to advocate for intellectual freedom in many different areas of librarianship.  In 2007 she was named an ALA Emerging Leader.  She is currently employed as a Head Librarian in the Pioneerland Library System, where she manages five small public libraries in West Central Minnesota.  

Statement of Intent

It is a privilege to be nominated for the Chair position of MLA’s Intellectual Freedom committee.  In the early part of my career, I dealt with more than two dozen book challenges (in just two years!), working as a Teen Services librarian.  I fought to build and enhance a collection that reflected teens of all backgrounds, a mission that often led to fighting for the very books I was purchasing.  Since then, I have continued to be passionate about what makes librarians unique – our tireless commitment to what is good, just, and right, along with our commitment to intellectual freedom and access to ideas and information.  As Chair, I would work to uphold the values that are important to our professional community and the library freedoms of all Minnesotans.


 Return to the MLA 2018 Board of Directors ballot.



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