Julia Kochi, Director of Collections and User Services at the UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management sat down with our bloggers (Bijan Esfahani and Chezire Aclimandos) to discuss her nomination for the MLA Nominating Committee. Here is Julia from the Nov. 30th conversation.
Can you please tell us a little bit about the position for which you are running?
I am running for the MLA nominating committee, which is the group that comes up with the names for the president and the board elections for next year.
Had you run for this post in the past?
Yes, I have. I served on the nominating committee a number of years ago. At the time I had run and won the seat, I had run as part of NCNMLG (the nominee to the MLA nominating committee).
Are there some particular reasons that have drawn you back to this position?
It’s a great opportunity for identifying people who are interested in helping MLA move forward and bring new people into leadership positions. It’s a group of people that are nominated by other groups. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with other colleagues with whom I don’t normally have an opportunity to interact.
Do you think that MLA should be defending small libraries that are closing their doors? Should the MLA try to support them in some way?
MLA does provide support to these libraries. I served on the board a couple of years ago, and the board will write letters in support of small libraries (hospital libraries or otherwise). If a hospital library faces a position or their funding is in jeopardy, they may ask MLA to write on their behalf. MLA does support small hospital libraries this way.
What would you like to achieve in your role in the nominating committee?
For the nominating committee, it’s a very short term appointment. We meet once and we nominate the candidate. What I would like to accomplish is to identify quality, qualified, and interested candidates who are broad representations of the types of libraries supported by MLA. We don’t have a long-term charge.
Are there any changes in the approach and mechanism that the nominating committee will undertake next year?
Yes, the committee is trying to be more inclusive. It used to be more based on the network (i.e. who you knew, and who knew you). In the past couple of years, the committee has put out a call to the community and solicited input and feedback on identifying individuals that would be a good match for the positions. And also to self-nominate themselves. There is a potential concern that if we nominate based on those we know, then the same names will enter the ballot again and again. In the past several years we have seen more people participating in the organization. Looking for additional opportunities to obtain names for the ballot is very important. Perhaps we can use some of the social networking tools that we have available. If I am elected, I will further explore this possibility.
Is there a particular way you would like NCMLG members to connect with you?
If I am elected, I will reach out to the group via a message and solicit their participation as well as recommendations for names to contact.
Would you be interested in writing for the NCNMLG blog?
Yes, if I am elected I would write an article for the blog.
Looking back at the last few years of the work of the nominating committee, have you felt that the voice of the Pacific Southwest Region has been well represented?
I think it’s difficult because we are a small group. All of the groups are fairly small. In the past few years, our nominee to the nominating committee has not been elected. The nomination process is complex. Nominees can come through the chapter council. Or going through the sections and the section council puts forth names. And the board also puts forth names of nominees. All of these channels provide the slate of the candidates. We are a very small chapter, and a lot of the chapter members are not necessarily members of MLA so it’s difficult to get individuals from our region to get elected through chapter council because they don’t have the votes. And also their names may not be recognized as much as the other regions. I would like to see better west coast representation (both the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest).
Are there any changes in the voting process for next year?
Not that I am aware.
Any other issues you would like to address with our readers?
If I am elected, I very much encourage people to contact me with names and suggestions for nominees. And I will do my best to support our chapter.