I am ALA

Meet ALA Member: Sarah Houghton


Sarah Houghton, MA, MLIS
Director of Discovery and Delivery
California Digital Library
Oakland, CA

What are you working on now that you’re excited about?

UC Libraries are working on a systemwide ILS project for the 10 campuses, which currently run on 10 separate ILSs. As the Discovery and Delivery Director this will become an increasing part of my job going forward.

Where do you hope this will take you/your organization in the future?

One systemwide ILS will ensure continued and future collaboration between our campuses involving library collections and collection-based operations and services.

What are you most proud of?

Most recently, I am extremely proud to have been part of the extensive UC team that terminated our contract with Elsevier over issues of open access and pricing. I was part of the team that focused on providing alternative access methods to ensure that our students and faculty would continue to have ways to access the content necessary for their research.

How are you involved with ALA?

American Library Association member (1999-present), [upcoming] ALA Professional Ethics Committee member (2019-2021), Intellectual Freedom Roundtable Director-at-Large (2018-2020), 2011/2012 ALA eBooks Taskforce, 2013 ALA Revising the Children's Internet Protection Act Symposium and Taskforce, 2019 ALA Working Committee on Eliminating Monetary Library Fines as a Form of Social Justice, Library and Information Technology Association (2002-present), LITA Top Technology Trends Committee (2005-2009), LITA delegate to ALA Legislation Assembly (2016-2020), Library Leadership and Management Association member (2011-present)

How do you make change happen?

Listen and learn about potential changes. Inventory stakeholders and develop communication and governance plans. Set clear goals. Include accountability at all stages and levels. Always be willing to be reconsider and reconfigure as the environment changes.

Might your colleagues call you a change agent, and if so, why do you think that is?

Ha! Absolutely. My entire career has been focused on bringing emergent strategies and technologies into the libraries I've worked for. Somewhere in a closet I have a "change agent" badge that I wore for years.

What are you currently reading/ listening to/ watching/ making?

Reading: Vita Nostra by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko Listening to: TR/ST Watching: comfort binge rewatching all the Star Trek Series...currently on The Next Generation season 2 Making: all the tasty vegetarian food I can eat