Candidate for 2022-2024 Director: Anne Barker
Anne N. Barker is a senior information specialist in the Legal Department at Genentech, a biotechnology company in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she specializes in patent, litigation, and pharmaceutical pipeline research and analysis. After spending 10 years learning the language of patents at a law firm, she made the move “in-house” in 2015, which allowed her to capitalize on her patent knowledge while learning yet another new language in biotech.
Anne completed her master’s degree in library science from San Jose State University in 2005, and received her bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University as a double major in English and theatre arts.
A member of SLA since 2001, Anne has been active in a variety of roles, most recently serving as treasurer of the Leadership & Management Division and as a member of the Finance Committee, the Leadership Advisory Council, and the Transparency Subcommittee of the Governance and Strategy Committee.
In her “free” time, Anne is a budding glassblower, a raccoon rehabilitator (physically and reputationally speaking), and a cider enthusiast. Ask her about any of these things to elicit an excited and detailed response.
Question #1: Why are you a member of SLA? What has kept you a member throughout the years?
I joined SLA when I was a student in San Jose State University’s SLIS program. My classes were predominantly composed of people interested in public or school librarianship, but I knew my heart was in special libraries. I joined SLA to find kindred spirits, to build a professional network, and to find opportunities for learning and growth.
Within months of joining, I attended my first conference and began volunteering, both of which were great ways to build my network. I learned about the profession, met new people, and gained knowledge and skills by attending both association and local programs.
As the years passed, I continued renewing my membership. Some years I’ve been fortunate to have employer support for my dues, other years I have paid on my own. I remain a member because of the opportunities I have to learn, to lead, and to give back.
The professional network I built is now a group of friends, mentors, and role models whom I lean on when I need professional advice. I have taken on leadership roles, volunteering my time and energy to improve an association that I hope can serve other professionals in the same way it has benefitted me.
Question #2: Why are you running for the SLA Board of Directors? What do you bring to the table? How do you plan to help support other SLA members, if elected?
I’m running for the SLA Board because I have the skills to help SLA forge our path during a challenging time.
For almost two decades, I have volunteered with SLA, as well as with a wildlife rehabilitation hospital and on committees at my workplace. Whether I am part of a team or leading a team, I bring energy, good will, and camaraderie. I work rigorously and collegially with my fellow committee members, agreeing to compromise in some areas while holding firm to my ideals when needed.
In all kinds of meetings, I find myself filling the role of “interpreter.” By actively listening to others and assuming good intent, I am able to see when individuals are “talking past each other.” I am often then able to re-communicate ideas in a way that helps parties better understand each other and become more willing to work toward consensus.
I currently volunteer in two efforts which are organized in a completely non-hierarchical manner, in which every member has an equal voice. Learning to lead within a team of co-equals has made me flex my listening, communication, and persuasion skills in new ways, and I believe these skills are key attributes that will help me lead our association.
Question #3: SLA is a leader in its commitment to diversity and inclusion and the importance of civil discourse. Share how you have demonstrated leadership or action in these areas, and how your own experiences will inform your contribution as an SLA board member.
Diversity, inclusion, and civil discourse are key to creating a stronger SLA community and a sense of belonging for all members and potential members.
Whether in SLA, at work, or in any of the other teams in my life, colleagues know that, while I have never been particularly shy about making my opinions known, I listen to others and contribute my thoughts with respect for those who may disagree. The most readily available examples of my approach to civil discourse are those on SLA Connect, which members are welcome to review.
When I was chair of the SLA Nominating Committee in 2016, I made it a focus to seek candidates who were non-U.S. based and who were younger than typical board members. The committee worked diligently to recruit these members and, while we had mixed luck “getting to yes,” we created a more diverse slate than I’d seen in prior years.
I firmly believe that the best way to grow as a person and as an association is to create a welcoming space for a variety of voices. I’d like to continue to include members whose voices are not usually invited in to participate in shaping the future of our association.