Job Position or MLIS Program
Youth Services Supervising Librarian for Ontario City Library and President of REFORMA Inland Empire Chapter.
Primary Responsibilities at Work
My main responsibilities are leading a team of youth services staff, budget maintenance, collection development, coordination of large-scale events, community engagement, and outreach.
How does your work align with service to Latinos and Spanish-speaking communities?
The city where I work has a population that is 70% Latino, the majority of which is Spanish-speaking. My work is focused on youth, and as a result we interact with many parents and caregivers who only speak Spanish. We scale scheduling of bilingual staff to ensure that someone is available to offer reference assistance in Spanish throughout the day. Our team works at developing relationships with regular patrons to introduce them to resources or personally invite them to library events that are suited for them and not only their children. When providing outreach at community events and presentations to schools we nearly always send bilingual staff for ease of communicating our message. Additionally, we offer culturally-relevant programming like a weekly bilingual storytime and annual Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros and Día de los Muertos events. We translate many of our informational brochures and pertinent flyers. We have a collection of Spanish materials for children and adults with a budget that ensures we can keep it current and with quality items. Most importantly, my work gives me the opportunity to serve as a voice to make sure the experience of the Latino and Spanish-speaking communities is considered when decisions are made.
I am constantly humbled and reminded of the value of small moments when I see the relief on a patron's face when they realize that I speak Spanish.
Gratifying aspects of your work
The most gratifying aspects of my work are all related to the empowerment of my community. Daily I witness how libraries improve the lives of those who use our resources. I see it in the baby using an egg shaker during storytime, the child who has improved their reading comprehension because of the homework help program, the teen who excitedly shares the news about getting their first job after years of library volunteer service, to the parent who is practicing their English with our ESL group. I am constantly humbled and reminded of the value of small moments when I see the relief on a patron's face when they realize that I speak Spanish. These moments make me continuously grateful for this work.
Some words of advice to other librarians and/or present and future MLIS students
Explore, explore, explore! Make time to volunteer, intern, or visit as many libraries (different types and in different areas) as possible. You will learn a lot about how libraries operate and about yourself and your vision for your career.