Candidate for 2023 President: Richard Huffine
Richard Huffine is the chief of the library and public information for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a position he has held since 2018. His previous positions include librarian with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, senior director for ProQuest, and leadership roles with the U.S. Geological Survey and Environmental Protection Agency. A third-generation information professional, Richard received his master’s degree in library and information science from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and his bachelor’s in business from Appalachian State University.
Richard has held leadership roles in SLA’s Government Information Division and GLBT Interest Caucus and is the 2021 chair of the Washington, D.C. Community. He served on the SLA Board of Directors from 2010-2012 and chaired the 2018 Annual Conference Advisory Council. He is a Governance and Strategy Subcommittee member and was honored with the 2008 Dow Jones Leadership Award.
Richard has taught, published, and presented on library return on investment, government libraries, and collection development. He just finished a term on IFLA’s Government Libraries Standing Committee and the ALA Public Programs Advisory Council.
In his free time, Richard is a passionate devotee of Broadway musicals and murder mystery novels. He and his husband, a professional bowler and career coach, are looking forward to returning to travel and live theater in the coming year.
Question #1: Why are you a member of SLA? What has kept you a member throughout the years?
I joined SLA in 2004 to be part of a professional network whose mission is to support information professionals independent of the institutions they serve. At that time, I led the effort to create a Government Information Division to address a community that didn’t have a clear home within our association. I was its first Chair. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to serve the association in numerous ways and have leveraged the SLA network to navigate career transitions several times across disciplines, subject domains, and even in and out of vendor and buyer roles.
As my career has evolved, I have found value in SLA’s communities, educational content, and the many subject matter experts working in corporate, non-profit, academic, and independent settings. This association has given me opportunities to engage, contribute, teach and learn, all in an atmosphere of collegiality and respect for the similarities and differences we all bring to our roles. As our profession has evolved over the years, this association has been a place to support and develop ideas. I have had my concepts of our work challenged, validated, and inspired by the work of my colleagues—sometimes in similar but often in very different types of institutions.
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 am running for the position of president-elect at this time because I want to be part of our history of bringing specialized information professionals together. I want to focus on what we can learn from one another and collaborate to define and chart a path forward as our profession continues to evolve and change.
I bring experience serving on the board and leading chapters, divisions, and caucuses. I have chaired advisory councils for the annual conference and public policy. I’ve had the opportunity in those roles to work with association staff, volunteer leaders, and the membership at large to move our association forward.
If elected, I plan to support members by ensuring that the path we choose for our association in the future reflects member input and builds on member engagement at every step. I want to leverage our members’ unique skills and knowledge and apply their skills to our collective information-sharing behaviors and the infrastructure we use to engage one another. I want to encourage research and promote best practices that can help everyone in our profession—member or not—to defend their value to their employer and advocate for their worth.
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.
I have demonstrated leadership in support of diversity and inclusion by being an out gay person and active in our association. I have co-chaired the SLA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Interest Caucus (GLBTIC) and worked the ensure that those members had agency in our association to be present, represented, and heard. I stand on the shoulders of members who came before me and together with marginalized and under-represented groups in our association and profession overall. As chair of the 2018 Annual Conference Advisory Council, I focused on ensuring diverse and under-represented voices were an integral part of the conference.
Through this work, I have begun to learn how systemic racial bias is integrated into library classification, taxonomic structures, and throughout our profession. I have also come to understand how the global nature of our membership today changes the way we approach race, gender, equity, and inclusion. Our approach as an association needs to support members in every culture to listen, learn, and adapt to address the inequities in context with where they live. We can learn from one another if we are open, engaged, and committed to growth.