Question & Answer with ALA President-Elect & Treasurer Candidates

ALA Treasurer Candidate: Mario Gonzalez

Mario, tell us a little about yourself

I ask for your vote for Treasurer of the American Library Association. My career in public service has been dedicated to my desire to help evolve library services throughout the country, whether early on in my career at the Research Libraries of the New York Public Library, or in my current position as Executive Director of the Library system of the City of Passaic, New Jersey. I have worked in library systems throughout the country, including in the states of New York, Texas, Connecticut, and New Jersey. I've served on the ALA Executive Board and I have experience with the ALA budget through my work as former Chair and member of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), and as a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.

What was your path to leadership within ALA?

I started my path to leadership in ALA with EMIE Round Table. I found my niche in this Round Table and shortly became its Treasurer and its President. With this experience, I jumped to the Divisions: ASCLA, RUSA, LLAMA, and PLA.

What was it like for you as a new ALA member?

I viewed ALA one piece at a time. I attended meetings of groups that interested me. I introduced myself to fellow members at the ALA-wide reception, as well as the Exhibits/Opening Ceremonies. I looked at people's name tags searching for familiar cities, states, and names. I looked at the ribbons on their name tags and asked questions about their involvement. Very soon I had more invitations to meetings than time for me to attend!

What will you do to improve engagement within ALA for new members?

I would like to see Membership Development send emails/letters to new members asking them to join the NMRT. I shared this idea with the NMRT Representative at the Planning & Budget Assembly during the 2013 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, Washington. New members are people who are new to the Association, not necessarily based upon age, and they come from many different backgrounds.

What advice do you have for new members who want to get involved in ALA?

I know the NMRT does an excellent job in introducing our rich and varied Association to new members. I would urge new members to attend programs and observe meetings at any level of Committees and Units in which they have an interest. I would encourage new members to introduce themselves and ask questions at these meetings. You can do this now virtually. Sidebar discussions would be very appropriate and welcome. In addition, the ALA Handbook of Organization lists 10 Great Ways to Get Involved in ALA.

In the information profession world, what is your favorite word or topic?

Hashtag. Babies are being named Hashtag in 2013!

In the information profession world, what turns you on?

I enjoy helping people help themselves, by working with them directly. I like the social-working aspect of our profession, in which we find the correct response to a community member's needs, whether the member is a child, parent, teacher, older adult, businessperson, elected official or other member of the communities in which we serve.

What profession other than librarianship would you like to attempt?

Hedge-Fund Owner or Dance Club Owner!

Please visit my campaign website for more information