Statement of Purpose Nominee Vice President/President Elect
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
by: Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Section: News Articles

February 2014

Estimados Reformistas,

I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for the position of Vice President/President-Elect of REFORMA. I have considered running for the office of Vice President/President-Elect for several years, but never felt I was in a situation that would allow me to give the position the time and attention it requires and deserves. I’m now at a stage in my personal and professional life that I finally feel that I can devote my time to serve the association at this level.

For the past 16 years I have served REFORMA in a variety of capacities, including serving as President of the Orange County Chapter, Chair of the Information Technology Committee, member of the of Membership Committee, and Member of the REFORMA Board of Directors.  Also as Chair of the Association Management System (AMS) Task Force, I led the evaluation, selection and implementation of the AMS that has improved member management, provided a variety of online member services and serves as the platform for our online newsletter and REFORMA’s website.

As library professionals, we are living in a time of transformational shift and change. The Latino and Spanish-Speaking population will soon become part of the emerging majority. Access to higher education, library and information services will increasingly continue to be important if we are to ensure that the United States has an informed and educated society. The change in demographics is not only happening in certain parts of our country, but in traditionally non-Hispanic states. REFORMA needs to increase its presence in all states. Currently, there are 10 states with no REFORMA members and an additional 15 states with fewer than 5 members. In the face of economic pressures, influence of new and emerging technologies and changing expectations of our communities, libraries have been reinventing their services and physical spaces while transforming libraries and the communities that they serve.REFORMA needs to continue to support these efforts and be an advocate for its members, libraries and the communities that they serve.

Technology continues to have a significant impact on the library profession as well as library associations. I have been a strong advocate for the effective use of technology to improve operations, efficiencies, communication, ensure access and preservation of information, and for the overall management for our association.  REFORMA has access to a growing amount of organizational data and we need to use this data to make better and informed decisions. I will continue to encourage the association to explore new ways to leverage technologies to support and manage the important work of REFORMA.

My strong background in librarianship and my broad experience in REFORMA makes me uniquely qualified to lead the association at this exciting time of transformation.  I have worked in academic libraries for over 28 years having held positions in various public service departments, systems and technology and library administration. Throughout my library career, I have dedicated myself to empowering others to succeed and being a strong advocate for the value and impact libraries have on the educational, social and cultural lives of its communities. My interest and passion has always been integrating information technologies into libraries, creating a user-centered learning environments and increasing faculty, staff and student diversity in higher education.  My professional career as an academic librarian has allowed me to pursue these interests while contributing to the profession.

We need to do a better job communicating the value REFORMA provides to its past, current and future members. REFORMA members, a diverse group of library professionals, are talented, knowledgeable, creative, dedicated, service-oriented and passionate about what they do and who they serve.  REFORMA needs to value, support and respect all of its members. In particular, we need to ensure our new members feel welcome and supported. About 25% of our members are library science students.  However, many of these members do not renew their membership. We need to increase our understanding of our new member’s expectations and ensure that they have opportunities to become more connected, engaged and involved at both the local and national level. We also need to increase our efforts on recruiting and retaining members by developing clear pathways for further engagement in REFORMA through participation in committees and task forces as well as support and encourage virtual participation opportunities. As a current member of the Membership Committee, these are the issues we are discussing and addressing. As Vice President/President-Elect I will ensure that these efforts continue and are implemented.

I have been fortunate to have worked with many past REFORMA presidents and have learned a great deal from them. They have taught me the importance of communication, organization and collaboration. My background in organizational leadership, my experience and understanding of REFORMA operations along with my strong optimism about the future of libraries and the continued growth of REFORMA makes me an ideal candidate for the position of REFORMA Vice President/President-Elect.
I believe in the power of collective voices and shared decision making and I will work hard to ensure that all voices are heard. I am committed to working with all members, chapters, committees and task forces to ensure that the goals and objectives of REFORMA are met.

As a proud librarian and Reformista, I firmly believe that libraries change people’s lives. Working together we can continue to advance the work of REFORMA. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Juan Carlos Rodríguez
Associate Dean, Technology and Information Services
Grand Valley State University
Allendale, MI 49401-9403

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