Catalyst Cohort Participants 2023

The California State Library and California Library Association are pleased to announce the first cohort of participants in the Catalyst leadership development program. Catalyst is a cohort-based program under the banner of California Libraries Learn (CALL) designed to equip and support California library workers with development opportunities that allow them to lead from anywhere. To ensure a comprehensive and fair selection process, a team of 12 library workers evaluated over 100 applications in a blind review during the initial round. Their aim was to identify a robust cohort that encompasses individuals with diverse perspectives, strengths, and unique lived experiences, all of which contribute to the enriching work carried out in libraries.

Following a thorough evaluation, the final group of 25 individuals was chosen from the pool of top-scoring candidates. Consideration was given to fostering diversity in terms of library types and representation across various regions of California.

The Catalyst cohort participants for this year are:

Name: Joe Ayala
Library: Sonoma County Library

Joe is a literacy associate at the Sonoma County Library system and enjoys reading, walking, sewing, and spending time with his cats. 

Name: Cloud Bell
Library: San Mateo County Libraries

Cloud is currently a Community Program Specialist with San Mateo County Libraries where she enjoys providing systemwide innovative programs and fostering strong community connections. She loves hiking and the outdoors and playing competitive Netball. 

Name: Ruby Buentello
Library: Yolo County Library

Ruby works for Yolo County Library as an Outreach & Programming Librarian. She is a dedicated individual who prioritizes making impactful services available to her community. 

Name: Eric Castro
Library: Carpinteria Community Library

Eric Castro, an immigrant to the US, is an outreach librarian at the Carpinteria Community Library with over 25 years of experience working in different types of libraries with an emphasis on public libraries.

Name: Kyla Carroll
Library: Sacramento Public Library

Kyla has been with Sacramento Public library for about five years, transitioning through the phases of the pandemic in several different branches and is currently extensively involved in DEIAB work through a leadership position on the Equity committee, with a focus on facilitating conversations and tangible changes to volunteer processes. Through Catalyst, she hopes to learn critical skills for tough conversations and how to promote more effective communication to unite front-facing staff with library administration, bringing understanding and inclusion to all levels.

Name: Rosa Cesaretti
Library: Pasadena Public Library

Rosa Cesaretti, who was born in Mexico City, has been a librarian in Pasadena for 10 years, developing equity-based programs that enrich the diverse community. Ms. Cesaretti believes that public libraries are an essential resource where minds are encouraged to grow free of judgment or restraint.

Name: Danielle Davis
Library: Grossmont College Library

Danielle Davis has worked for over five years as a technician within a Marine Corps library system and now works as the lead technical services technician at the Grossmont College Library in southern California. She is very passionate about advocating for the needs of overlooked populations and believes libraries are perfectly situated to take the pulse of local communities while prioritizing DEIA, social justice, and a culture of care.

Name: Gabriella Dixon
Library: Santa Maria Public Library

Gabriella Dixon is a Teen Librarian at the Santa Maria Public Library; she is passionate about creating and fostering long-lasting connections with youth and their families through library services. Gabriella holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Jose State University, is a recent MLIS graduate from Valdosta State University, and has her childhood library card framed at her desk.

Name: Glenda Gamboa
Library: Los Angeles County Library

Glenda Gamboa has been with LA County Library since 2012. Currently the supervising Adult Services Librarian at West Hollywood Library, she has a track record of implementing programs that promote inclusion and diversity, most notably launching their Drag Story Hour as part of her previous position as the Children’s Services Librarian.

Name: Elizabeth (Liz) Garcia
Library: San Mateo County Libraries

Liz currently works as an Adult Services and Makerspace Librarian for the San Mateo County Libraries where she focuses on creating and supporting services that expand access to information to all. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and all things pop culture.

Name: Dorothy Gruett
Library: San Luis Obispo County

Dorothy Gruett is the Senior Library Associate and staff manager for the downtown branch of County of SLO Public Libraries and the Committee Head for the Library Green Team. She has a passion for bringing sustainability to libraries, loves to hike the beautiful beach and mountain areas of the Central Coast and has a super cute and feisty terrier that she spoils rotten.

Name: Yvette Herrera
Library: Madera County Library

Yvette Herrera Children’s Librarian at the Madera County Library, she is very passionate about working with the children and the community.

Name: Rene Hohls
Library: Fort Bragg Unified School – Districtwide

Name: Erik Jones
Library: Santa Ana Public Library

Erik is a Bookmobile Librarian at the Santa Ana Public Library. Erik is passionate about giving back to his community and to the institutions that helped him get to this stage of his career

Name: Kari Leos
Library: Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library, Troke Branch Library

Kari is a Librarian Trainee at Troke Branch Library, part of Stockton-San Joaquin County Public LIbrary system and is halfway through getting her Master’s in Library Science. 

Name: Isariya Locke
Library: Fresno County Library

Isariya Locke is a Children’s Librarian originally from Bangkok, Thailand. She earned her Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman’s University. Isariya is deeply passionate about creating inclusive programs that reflect the diversity of her community.

Name: Heidi Mark
Library: Los Angeles Public Library, Sylmar Branch

After working in a school library for more than a decade Heidi is now an adult librarian at the Sylmar branch of the Los Angeles public library. 

Name: Andriana Martin
Library: Lodi Public Library

Andriana has been working at a Public Library for roughly 2 years now. In her free time she enjoys reading, gaming, and traveling around the world.

Name: Jovanah Martinez-Hoboo
Library: Cutten Elementary School Library 

Jovanah has been the District Library Technician for a small school district in Humboldt County for the last 10 years. In her spare time Jovanah is a Dj, producer of all-ages shows, and slam performance poet.

Name: Terezita Overduin
Library: Chaffey College Library

Terezita Overduin is a Reference Librarian at Chaffey College and works to provide student-centered services, programs, and instruction. She has a passion for UX and library design, and her work will be published in the forthcoming publication “Building Our Own: Critiques, Narratives, and Practices by Community College Library Workers of Color.”

Name: Lauren Patterson
Library: Riverside County Law Library

Lauren Patterson is the Administrative Officer for the Riverside County Law Library. She earned her B.A. in political science from UCLA and J.D. from USC. 

Name: Christy Ricky Meister
Library: San Diego Public Library, Ocean Beach Branch

Christy Rickey Meister is the manager of the Ocean Beach Branch Library, part of the San Diego Public Library system. She is committed to connecting her community to needed services, information, and enrichment in a warm, welcoming, and safe environment. 

Name: Elsie Rivas
Library: San Diego Public Library

Elsie is a self-professed Jill of many trades mostly delving into creative ventures such as sewing or crafting. A spooky loving gal with infinite curiosity and endless optimism, a lover of romance novels, Pedro Pascal, Star Wars and her family.

Name: Alicia Rodriguez
Library: Los Angeles Public Library

Alicia Rodriguez is a bilingual outreach librarian and she loves sharing information about FREE library services with EVERYONE especially the Spanish speaking communities. She loves horror films and she has a sewing program called It’s Sew Cool! 

Name: Valerie Tohom
Library: Los Angeles Public Library

Valerie is a San Jose State University graduate student earning her Masters in Library and Information Science and a Messenger Clerk with the Los Angeles Public Library.