Greetings of the season! As I write this, our Reformistas in the Northeast have already seen snow and we Midwestern Reformistas have been hit with jacket weather, while our California Reformistas are still enjoying the balmy weather. Our organization is not only large, but it is broad – there are many of us and we are all over the country, but we face many of the same challenges.
While they do that, other Reformistas fight on the front lines of the anti-immigration battle. In Arizona and Alabama, legislation criminalizing people is being passed.
Some areas of the country, including my Midwestern state of Missouri, are getting used to the idea that Latino immigrants now make up significant and committed members of the community. Our libraries and our librarians were not prepared for that change, and wonder what they should be doing to serve these new members. Our chapters provide support and guidance for librarians who may never have had to put on a bilingual story time or order Spanish-language books before.
In other areas of the country, our Latino populations are established. In these areas, our Spanish and Native American ancestors settled long before immigrants from England, France, or Germany. Reformistas in these areas have already gone through the basic struggles of justifying the purchase of bilingual books or materials by foreign publishers. They are moving on to other issues: integrating Latino cultures into the library, creating archival and digital resources, and moving the organization into the future.
While they do that, other Reformistas fight on the front lines of the anti-immigration battle. In Arizona and Alabama, legislation criminalizing people is being passed. Our Reformistas are pointing out the injustices and working so that all people in this country are treated with dignity and respect- regardless of their racial or ethnic heritage or the language they use.
We work in all different areas. Some of us are researchers, bringing attention to problems and questions in service to our patrons. Some of us are front-lines practitioners, solving those problems and answering those questions in their everyday practice. Reformistas in school librarians act as role models to Latino youth and encourage them to read for pleasure and use information wisely. Our public librarians help people with daily information and leisure needs, doing programming that gives voice to the Latino community. Academic library Reformistas give students the skills to use information for their academic success, while they keep their colleges and universities current with the information needs of their Latino faculty and student constituents. Reformistas work with technology, with policy, and with people.
No matter where in the country we are, no matter what we do, we are working to improve information access by and about our Latino populations. Our organization is made stronger by our differences. We each contribute something unique to REFORMA, and our different skills and emphases make our organization greater when they are united by our common purpose. This is why I am proud to be a Reformista, and happy to participate in the organization.
Denice Adkins was raised in a bicultural Arizona family. She worked in public and academic libraries before becoming a library educator.