Job position and place of employment
Messenger Clerk - Los Angeles Public Library, Robert Louis Stevenson Branch
Current MLIS program and/or educational background
San José State University Master of Library and Information Science Program
What are your primary responsibilities at work?
As a clerk, my responsibilities include the organization of print books and displays. I am given the opportunity to express my creative side and according to the month make a beautiful visual display that the patrons can enjoy and engage with. I am also responsible for updating our monthly calendar of events as well as working along with our YA librarian, Patricia Tarango to facilitate and create programs that meet the needs of our community. But most importantly, one of my main responsibilities as Library Student is to engage with the community when we have outreach events, as well as through our weekly programs. I gain the trust of my community so that they can see me as an information giver and as a resource to the community.
How does your work impact Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities?
Advocating for the community is the biggest impact yet. Working alongside my supervisor Lupie Leyva, I am able to input her translation into our program flyers and interact with our community members with their preferred language, which is in Spanish. By fostering a sense of community through language, it has encouraged more families to come together to take advantage of the resources that are available at our branch. Similarly, by growing up in the same community, I am able to testify about how my local library helped me throughout my childhood and being able to give back to my community adds more value to my work.
Advocating for the community is the biggest impact yet. Working alongside my supervisor Lupie Leyva, I am able to input her translation into our program flyers and interact with our community members with their preferred language, which is in Sp
Share with us some gratifying aspects of your work.
Building relationships with the community is the best gratifying aspect. Knowing that our services are beneficial to the children and families that come on a daily basis is the best feeling yet. Before working at the RLSTVN branch, I was a Cybernaut (computer aide) at El Sereno Branch, where I was able to create relationships and facilitate programs that were of benefit to the community. For example, the digital divide is a major issue in these communities and it is gratifying to see that programs are being developed to bridge the gap between the digital divide by providing tutoring and services in Spanish for the community.
Offer words of advice to other colleagues and/or present and future MLIS students.
As a student, my words of advice would be to reach out to currently working librarians and ask them for their advice and experience. It is important to know that you are not alone and that those librarians were once in your shoes. Also, become involved with local REFORMA chapters and other associations that will also create a community of support throughout your academic pathway.
Tell us about programs/projects you have worked on or are working on, either at work or with REFORMA.
During my years at the Los Angeles Public Library, I was able to facilitate Summer Typing Classes for children. Throughout the academic year, I noticed that most of our regular children who attended the after school tutoring program did not know how to navigate a computer. Therefore it was a perfect opportunity, to create a computer class that not only showed them the basics of typing but also the basics of common computer applications such as Word and Powerpoint. Additionally, through participating in this year’s Los Angeles Public Library’s Diversity and Inclusion Apprenticeship
(DAIA), I designed a bilingual flyer with the several branches in the North East Area and their social media information. The flyer was distributed thanks to the support of Dora Suarez who supervises the Arroyo Seco branch hub. Approximately 90 families in the NorthEast use the Library To Go Hub. My goal was to encourage more of our Spanish speaking patrons on our social media platforms so that they can be informed of the resources that are still available through their local library. Currently, I am the Marketing and Social Media Liaison for the very first San Jose State ischool Student and Alumni Group
. The goal is “to create opportunities for engagement with REFORMA National, and REFORMA Chapters, and plan activities that offer professional development and networking.”
Tell us about services you/your organization is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, our branch opened as a hub for Library To Go services. Patrons are able to check out books through our online catalog and pick them up at a hub. While we are not packing books for our patrons to pick up on an appointment basis, we are in the branch answering phone calls with questions in regards to our services. Being the only hub in the Boyle Heights area which is a predominantly Latinx community, creates a big difference in the community because we are providing them with resources and print materials that they can take home and enjoy. It makes a big difference because having a place that speaks the same language and that is there to help creates a sense of trust and empowerment to the community.
Also, during the summer I was creating social media content every Friday. Consistently, I developed a Fun Friday Craft on our Instagram page that had step by step guides for a weekly craft. Most importantly, I was aware that not every household had arts and crafts materials, therefore I created crafts that you can do with typical household items. Based on my time at RLSTVN, arts and crafts was a big part of our programs and I wanted to keep connected to our community through easy and enjoyable activities.