2018 WLA Election
Board Candidate Statements

 Vice President/President-Elect

Rhonda Gould

I am honored to be a candidate for president-elect of the Washington Library Association. I am a recent transplant to Walla Walla and I started working as the Executive Director of the Walla Walla County Rural Library District last December. While I’m new to Walla Walla, I am no stranger to libraryland. I have been working in public libraries for over 20 years and over this time I worked as a branch manager, children’s librarian, youth services and special needs consultant, and public library consultant. Since moving to the state from Wisconsin in 2013 I've worked at the McChord library at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and at the Puyallup Public Library. I received my MLS from the University of Wisconsin in 1996.

Along the way I have always been an active member and supporter of library associations at the state and national level. I had the opportunity to serve as chair of the youth services, outreach, and public library sections, and in 2011 I was president of the Wisconsin Library Association. I worked on the ambassadors committee for the Washington Library Association after moving here.

As an ALA member, I recently served as president of ASCLA (Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies) and was the 2017 chair of the Caldecott Committee. I’ve been on the board of directors for ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) and was the ALSC division councilor on ALA council for three years.

So what does all of this have to do with the Washington Library Association? I am a dedicated library advocate, association leader, and I understand the individual voice we have in our communities and organizations. Collectively this voice is strong and effective. Whether you are planning storytime, teaching information literacy, or conducting research, the work we do is vital to an informed and literate citizenry. As president-elect I will be your voice as we work together to advocate for our profession, our institutions, and our ethics.

 Board Director, Public Library Division Representative

Chris Skaugset

Hi, my name is Chris Skaugset and I am the Library Director at the Longview Public Library in southwest Washington.  I have worked in Longview for over 20 years including the last 14 plus years as its Director.  After a brief dalliance (and a Master’s degree) in U.S. History, I discovered my passion working in libraries. Of course, that meant going back to school where I received my MLS from Syracuse University.  I have been a member of WLA for many years and served two years as co-Chair of the SAIL section.  I currently serve on WLA’s Legislative Planning Committee.  In addition, I served two terms (six years) on the Washington State Library’s Library Council of Washington, representing public libraries under 100,000 in population, which is an advisory council to the State Library on all things LSTA that included a year as vice-chair and a year as chair of that group.  I also serve on the board of the Early Learning Public Library Partnership which has worked to bring youth services librarians to the early learning table.  I would like to use all of the knowledge and experience that I have gained through my years in Longview, and in WLA, to represent public libraries of all sizes, all types, and all geographic locations.  This, most importantly, includes all of the people that make libraries the special places that they are in their communities.  Let me be your voice on the WLA Board as we move the new WLA forward.

 Board Director, School Library Division Representative

Dave SonnenDave Sonnen

It would be an honor to serve on the WLA Board as the School Library Division Director.  I have worked in school libraries for 18 years and I am currently the teacher-librarian at Sherwood Elementary in the Edmonds School District where I am a member of the district's Technology Advisory Committee and my school's Leadership group.

I would bring several leadership experiences to the board.  I have served as WLMA President (2008-2009) and as a Director on the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Board representing region 8 (Pacific NW and Alaska)(2011-2013).  I have also served as co-chair of the Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's and Young Adult Media (PSC) (2001-2003) and co-chair of the Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award Committee (2006-2008).

I received my MLIS from the iSchool at the University of Washington in 2006 and did my field work experience in the Seattle Public Library.

If elected I would work to boost communication between WLA, the school library group, and school librarians, as well as, create connections between the various types of libraries in the state. .  I would be an active participant on the board, advocate for all libraries, and make sure all voices are heard.  Thank you for your consideration.

Board Director, Special Libraries Division Representative

Joe Olayvar

Thirteen years ago, my tenure here at the Washington State Library began in IT, which included supporting all of the Institutional Libraries. That was my foundation of library operations and needs, but the last five years have built upon that dramatically.

Since 2012, as part of Library Development, I have been a very avid WALE member serving as Conference Chair, Vice Chair, Chair, and Past Chair. I’ve presented several WALE pre-conference and conference sessions along with countless STEAM related trainings at numerous libraries across the state. And I have been fortunate enough to have participated in the WLA restructure; served on the WLA Awards Committee; attend every WALE conference and nearly every WLA conference; and lead our popular “Gaining STEAM” circulation program.

By nature I am creative, faithful, at times intensely focused, but always forward thinking with a servant’s heart. It is through these eyes and experiences that I have gained a tremendous amount of insight and respect for the diverse libraries we are and the challenges we face.

These past thirteen years have been a journey of helping support, enrich, and engage libraries with the communities they serve. In the process, I have met many, many outstanding individuals from all walks of librarianship who have added to my personal growth and have given me the spark to do more. So it would be an honor for me to expand my service to the libraries of Washington State and the members of the WLA as Board Director, Special Libraries Division Representative.

PNLA Representative

Linda Johns

I am a reader services librarian with the Seattle Public Library and co-administrator of the Washington Center for the Book, a partnership of SPL and the Washington State Library. Prior to entering the library world, I worked in publishing and communications, and information sharing and advocacy continues to be core to all work that I do. As an administrator for the Center for the Book, I am constantly looking at what Northwest libraries are doing and how we can better serve one another. Representing WLA to Pacific Northwest Library Association, and serving as a liaison between the two organizations, is a way to help WLA share successes while bringing back lessons learned from a larger collective. It’s vital to see what our counterparts are doing on an individual basis, regionally, and through professional organizations. In this library world we’re in, we’re all about sharing resources – and I can make sure that continues to happen for WLA and PNLA. Thank you!

WLA Board Secretary/Treasurer

Kim Hixson

My name is Kim Hixson and I am the Executive Director of Yakima Valley Libraries.  My roots in WLA go back to 1996 when Patty Duitman of Fort Vancouver Regional Library, hired me as their Accounting Supervisor.  FVRL was a strong WLA supporter and I became involved as I helped Patty who was the WLA Treasurer at that time.  Early on, I co-chaired the WALE Conference in Lake Chelan and in 1999, I was elected to the role of WLA Treasurer (serving with WLA President, Cindy Aden) and then spent several years on WLA fiscal committees including budget and audits.  In 2004, I moved to Yakima and went to work for Yakima Valley Libraries as their Business Manager.  I was appointed by YVL Trustees to the position of Interim Director in 2008, received my MLIS from San Jose State University in 2011, and now hold the role of Executive Director.  I have a unique set of business and librarian skills that I can bring to this position.  As you can see from my history, WLA has played a strong role in my career path.  I would like to be a part of this vital organization helping to support library services in the state of Washington. 

WALT has very active membership and fosters a great network. I want this to continue and grow further. I would like to have more WALT programming on how people learn, instructional design, and equity and social justice issues.