Your job position and place of employment
Library Media Teacher at De LaVeaga Elementary
Current MLIS program and/or educational background
B.A. from Loyola Marymount University and MLIS from San Jose State University
What are your primary responsibilities at work?
My primary responsibility is to teach information sciences to TK-5th graders in both Spanish and English at our school in which 50% of our school participates in a Spanish dual immersion program. I also manage all aspects of developing a collection including researching, ordering, cataloguing, preparing and showcasing the books.
How does your work impact Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities?
I promote Spanish speaking cultures by developing a collection which includes authentic Spanish and bilingual literature. This collection reflects my student population and in turn makes them proud and interested in their culture. For non-Latinx students learning Spanish, this supports them in learning and appreciating Latinx culture. I also began the tradition of sponsoring events reflective of Latinx cultures such as Día del niño, Hispanic Heritage Month and the Spanish Book Fair. These events and mindful efforts have made parents feel more welcome in the school library. This in turn has led to more of them dropping by asking for help in other areas which I can support them in.
Share with us some gratifying aspects of your work.
One way I find my work gratifying is when my English only kids become curious about my Spanish books and are disappointed to know they can't read them. This curiosity has led to many students not in our dual immersion program to become interested in learning Spanish. It's also gratifying to see Latinx parents support their children in learning by coming by asking for recommendations for Spanish literature. Finally, it is extremely gratifying to see my Latinx students be proud of their culture which they see reflected in my collection.
Offer words of advice to other colleagues and/or present and future MLIS students.
An MLIS degree offers you so many different career paths to explore! You won't regret your choice. As far as being a library media teacher, there is no better teaching position.
Tell us about programs/projects you have worked on or are working on, either at work or with REFORMA.
At Biblioteca para la gente, the Northern California chapter of REFORMA, we're working on a project to have the California Young Reader Medal committee read more diverse books by sending them titles of literature which is more inclusive of BIPOC. It is our hope that by doing so, the yearly nominee titles will be more diverse and reflect the state's population. At my school site, I'm working with the public library to facilitate more students receiving a public library card so they may have access to all their electronic subscriptions.
Tell us about services you/your organization is providing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, my library started undergoing modernization right when the COVID shut down started. Since then, my collection has been packed up and unable to circulate. The soonest we'll be able to circulate books will be in January. Till then, I've been creating Spanish and English tutorials for various subjects such as how to use certain programs or tools. These tutorials are then shared with the Latinx parent population in order to support their child's access to them.