Nicanor Diaz Statement

Nicanor Diaz
Nominee for Chapter Representative - Central Region

My name is Nicanor Diaz and I’m the Immigrant Services Manager for the Denver Public Library. I have worked in libraries since 2005, including a 6-month practicum at the Argentinean National Library in Buenos Aires. I have been involved with REFORMA since 2007 as a member, the Chair of the Translation Committee, President of the Colorado Chapter of REFORMA, and now have severed a two-year term as Central Chapter Representative. 

Over the past several years I have dedicated myself to serving our Spanish Speaking community and our immigrant community. As the Central Chapter Representative, I’ve kept in close contact with my chapter leaders and have shared concerns they have had with the REFORMA’s Executive Committee. Additionally, I have done two webinars, one for the North Georgia Association of Librarians and another one for ALA's International Relations Round Table in the name of REFORMA National around reaching out to Spanish speakers and immigrants. I’m also a member of the ODLOS Subcommittee Serving Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons. Finally, with the help from the REFORMA members, I organized a very successful fundraiser for REFORMA National during ALA Midwinter in Denver.

As the Immigrant Services Manager, I work closely with a small team that coordinates all of the Denver Public Library’s immigrant services including our signature program called Plazas. 

The start of my passions for this work is due to my childhood experiences growing up in Washington as the child of immigrants. I often had to serve as a translator for my mother in our community. I was 8 or 9 years old at the time, and didn’t realize the burden that I undertook to allow my mother to communicate with the bank, or the DMV or even the library. I also didn’t realize the strain it put on my mother or how ostracizing it was for her to not be fluent in English. After I started working in libraries in 2005 I realized how difficult it is for families like mine. Children who come to the library should be able to enjoy the library and not have to worry about being a translator for their parents. Parents should be able to access all information available to them at a library without having their children serve as their translator. I noticed quickly what a huge relief it was for a parent when they would approach me and look at their child and begin by saying "Preguntale si... “I would look at the parent and simply say with a smile: “¿En qué puedo ayudarle?” Their faces always illuminate when they realize that language isn’t going to be a barrier to accessing the information they need. That’s the way it should be. I would like to be able to further this work with the Central Region Chapters to see how we can continually improve the services libraries provide to our most underserved customers. 

I’m asking you to vote for me for another two-year term as Central Chapter Representative. In those two years I would like to continue working with the Executive Board of REFORMA National to keep improving the work that we do. I want to help start a chapter in Huston and reactivate the chapters in Arizona. Finally, I will continue to support my current chapters in Colorado, New Mexico, Austin, El Paso and San Antonio.