Congratulations to our Día Dynamos, literacy advocates throughout the U.S. who for years have invested significant time and creative energy on Día or who are expanding Día’s impact in innovative ways. These Dynamos, outstanding resources for others working in similar positions, are pioneers in honoring cultures and languages and in creatively reaching out to all children and families to promote bookjoy.
In my experience, Día flourishes and grows due to dedicated leaders who collaborate. For varying reasons, Día quickly makes sense to some people who wholeheartedly understand that children matter and deserve to be celebrated, that literacy matters, and that linking all children to books, languages and cultures matters.
Texas Library Association
As 2015 begins, let's celebrate Pat Smith, the Executive Director of the Texas Library Association. With over 7,000 members, TLA is the largest state library association in the country. Pat, our new Día Dynamo, has been an enthusiastic and loyal Día supporter for many years. A nationally respected library leader, Pat is one of the most talented and committed administrators I know.
Director of Hispanic Engagement
I’m pleased to introduce our newest Día Dynamo. Originally from El Salvador, Roxana Barillas is Director of Hispanic Engagement for First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that has provided over 110 million books to children through its network of over 90,000 educators, librarians and program leaders serving children in need. Roxana’s own immigrant experience has shaped her professional and service career. I haven’t met Roxana but have been so grateful for her enthusiasm about Día and for her determination to expand Día’s impact on all children and families.
Youth Services Consultant
Iowa Library Services/State Library of Iowa
Merri Monks was born in New Mexico but has spent most of her life in Iowa. She became a librarian because, probably like all the Dynamos, she loves libraries. You can imagine my surprise when, after years of trying to interest people in the Día concept, this lovely woman came up to me and said, “I’m planning to promote Día throughout the state of Iowa.” We were in St. Louis at the IBBY/USBBY conference (2013). I almost fainted. True to her word, Merri has been busy planning and has recruited some experienced Iowa librarians to assist with a webinar that she’ll be sharing with her colleagues across the country. The girl who found libraries a “learning haven” now strives to make all libraries a haven for all children. Gracias, Merri!
Principal Librarian, Youth Services
Santa Ana Public Library (CA)
Lupita Arroyo, raised in Santa Ana, CA, is the Principal Librarian, Youth Services, at Santa Ana Public Library (CA), a library that received the Mora Award in 2011. After experiencing the Mexican tradition of El día del niño in Mexico in 2009, Lupita started the tradition at the library where years ago she began her library journey as a tutor. Under her leadership, the annual Santa Ana Día celebration is a model of community collaboration. She expanded her Día commitment by agreeing to serve on the Mora Award Committee and has now generously agreed to be the Committee’s new chair, a time-consuming and challenging responsibility. I’m deeply grateful for her willingness to apply her professional leadership skills to deepening Día’s impact locally and nationally. Gracias, Lupita!
Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D., Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor
School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alabama
Lise Tewes, Children's Librarian
Kenton County Public Library (KY)
Lise and former Día Dynamo, Sara Howery, an early Día supporter, were joint April 2011 Dynamos. Mentored by Sara, Lise was ready to bring her talents to assuming a Día leadership role when Sara retired. Their library won the Mora Award in 2006. Lise promotes Día throughout her state and in her enthusiastic and organized manner shares her strategies and materials. Lise also serves on the 2013-2014 Mora Award Committee.
Mark Smith, Director and Librarian
Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TX)
While a library administrator in Riverside, California, Mark was a catalyst for Día's growth state-wide. An administrator who invests in people and who works to connect America's diverse children to literacy, Mark also volunteered to help me and the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) increase Día awareness within ALA and in libraries across the country. In 2013, Mark returned to Texas. Gracias for your steady support, Mark.
Read our interview with Mark
Lydia Breiseth, Manager
Colorín Colorado, Learning Media Department, WETA (DC)
I am so grateful for Lydia Breiseth, manager of Colorín Colorado, who has been a loyal and creative Día supporter for years. She's our only Dynamo who works in the world of media, and I'm hoping that she'll teach us all. In your communities and nationally, how do we form lasting partnerships with those in the TV, radio, web, and print media spheres who can be Día advocates? I finally had the pleasure of meeting Lydia in 2010. I admire her commitment to involving parents, particularly Spanish-speaking parents, in the literacy-life of their children. Through author interviews and creative web programming, she's an impressive advocate for promoting cultural knowledge and pride. Gracias, Lydia!
Read our interview with Lydia
R. Joseph Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English Education
The University of Texas at El Paso
Years ago, when I was still living in El Paso, I received a letter from a boy in Houston asking if I would be his "poet friend." The boy, now Dr. Joseph Rodriquez, my cherished friend, included his photo. The first ten Día Dynamos were librarians, most working in public libraries. With Joseph, I introduced other equally committed dynamos who don't spend their days with library patrons. In the years I've had the pleasure to know Joseph, wherever he has been, he has been a creative advocate for diversity and for literacy, for sharing bookjoy. In 2013, he accepted a faculty position at my alma mater. His passion and planning consistently inspire me. Gracias, Joseph!
Read our interview with Joseph
Consultant, trainer, and writer formerly with the Austin Public Library (TX)
How grateful I am to my friend Texas librarian Jeanette Larson who has been an active Día supporter from the beginning. The key word in that first sentence is “active.” Jeanette is a do-er. Long before I was that familiar with the web, it was Jeanette who said, “We need to get Día on the web, and we need a Día booklet.” She now presents a Día webinar for ALSC. What a gift to me and Día. Through the years, Jeanette has been helping Día grow through her teaching and conference presentations and through her ALA book, El día de los ninos/El día de los libros: Building a Culture of Literacy in Your Community Through Día. Gracias, Jeanette.
Read our interview with Jeanette
Lucia Gonzalez, Library Manager
North Miami Public Library (FL)
also Author & Storyteller, 2010-11 President of REFORMA
I first knew Lucia Gonzalez as an author, always warm and supportive. Eventually, I discovered that she was also a committed librarian and REFORMA leader. Broward County Library won the Mora Award in 2007 thanks to her efforts with her team. How fortunate I was to work on Día's 15th Anniversary with Lucia during her term as REFORMA's President. Her understanding of Día's goals and potential made her the perfect partner for the celebratory year. Lucia generously shares her many talents and her energy in growing Día. She has also helped me and ALSC increase Día awareness within ALA and in libraries across the country. Gracias, Lucia!
Read our interview with Lucia
Meryle Leonard, Outreach Manager
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (NC)
What good memories I have of visiting North Carolina schools in 2004 thanks to the Novello Book Festival sponsored by the public library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County. When I returned to Novello in 2007, I had the pleasure of meeting gracious librarian Meryle Leonard. Meryle quickly took an interest in Día and has been a champion ready to strengthen the celebration in Charlotte and also ready to share her ideas and commitment locally, state-wide and in her region. Her library won the Mora Award in 2008. In good and bad financial times, Meryle has involved her team in planning an annual April Día celebration. Gracias, Meryle!
Read our interview with Meryle
Oralia Garza de Cortes
Latino Children's Literature Consultant
I often refer to Oralia Garza de Cortes as Día’s madrina, godmother in Spanish, a person traditionally chosen because of her commitment to the well-being of a child. In 1996, minutes after I was first zapped by the Día idea, the Tucson REFORMA Chapter quickly volunteered to help. Soon after, Oralia enthusiastically committed to connecting the Día concept to REFORMA nationally. REFORMA, of course, became the first organization to partner with me in growing Día. Oralia has helped me and ALSC increase Día awareness within ALA and in libraries across the country. She has also promoted the Día initiative internationally. Gracias, Oralia!
Read our interview with Oralia
Laurina Cashin & Bobbie Combs
We Love Children's Books Consulting Agency
My list of thank-yous to my web team Laurina Cashin and Bobbie Combs is endless. Although we seldom see one another, they are my key problem solvers with my site, blog, e-newsletter, endless lists. Much of this work is directly and indirectly connected to Día, of course. I named them Dynamos because they are enthusiastic, tireless Día supporters. They not only proposed the creative idea for having the first Díapalooza on my blog in 2010, they donate their time to help make this venture a success and continue
to donate time to Día during April. Gracias, Laurina and Bobbie!
Read our interview with Laurina and Bobbie
Beatriz Pascual Wallace, Children's Librarian
Seattle Public Library (WA)
I feel so fortunate to have met Beatriz Pascual Wallace in 2008 when I attended a Día celebration at her library branch. She was friendly and seemed so organized and responsible. Was my initial assessment correct! Beatriz served on REFORMA’s 2009 Mora Award Committee and has graciously and generously chaired the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Mora Award Committees. This role is a challenging one since the committee members are across the country and the chair works closely with them, REFORMA's president and public relations coordinator--and me. Beatriz and I revised and updated the guidelines and explored ways to increase the Mora Award's visibility. I am deeply grateful to Beatriz for her thoroughness and ever-cheerful manner. Gracias, Beatriz!
Read our interview with Beatriz
Ana Schmitt, Bilingual Outreach Specialist
& LIBROS Group
Multnomah County Library (OR)
I met Ana Schmitt, who's from the Dominican Republic, in 2008. Ana always amazes me with the Día ideas and materials she and the dedicated LIBROS staff create. They won the Mora Award in 2002. Ana is quick to generously share creative ideas and materials and models fostering diverse community partnerships and planning Día celebrations at numerous sites. She energetically works to link the Latino community to the library. Her April Día celebrations include activities for teens, are always fun and, to use her words, are "literacy rich." She expands Día's impact through assessing community needs such as classes for adults and a kindergarten readiness program. Her new invention is "Día To Go" or "Día in a Box." Gracias, Ana!
Read our interview with Ana
Flo Trujillo, Youth Services Coordinator
Farmington Public Library (NM)
When I first began to promote Día in New Mexico, I luckily met an amazing librarian, Flo Trujillo. Born in this state, Flo understood the need to excite children and families about literacy and to encourage school and public libraries to partner with diverse families. She quickly volunteered to promote Día throughout the state, and she energetically continues this challenging work. Though we seldom see one another, she's always busy sharing the Día initiative as an Afterschool Ambassador (an Afterschool Alliance program), with government agencies, etc. I was so stunned by Flo's quick willingness to claim her state as her Día goal that I thought: how do I honor such courage? She was the inspiration for the Día Dynamos. Gracias, Flo!
Read more about Flo
Former Día Dynamos
Part of Día's history, these Dynamos are with us in spirit.
Regional Branch Operations Manager
Austin Public Library (TX)
Librarian Elva Garza understood Día and offered her faithful support since Día's beginnings. She has advocated for Día on local, state and national levels and has participated in conference programs that educate others and extend Día's reach. Early on, she created a model for partnering with various community organizations including the local paper and a model for creating a funding budget for annual celebrations, a model she presented often to assist others as they initiated their Día traditions. Under her leadership, Austin Public Library won the first Mora Award in 2000. Elva also helped me and ALSC increase Día awareness within ALA and in libraries across the country. Gracias, Elva!
Read our interview with Elva
Sara Howrey, Retired Children's Librarian
Kenton County Public Library (KY) What hope Sara gave me when I met her years ago in the Cincinnati/Northern KY area where I lived then. Sara was unstoppable in her determination to involve the public library in creating new partnerships. She also brought attention to Día nationally within ALA. Like all good Día leaders, she created a committee that she nurtured, so that when she retired, someone else was ready to bring her talents to assuming that leadership role.
Read our interview with Sara
Alma Ramos-McDermott, then active in the Association of School Librarians (AASL), was our first school librarian dynamo. As she and I discussed, when working with Middle School students, some Día advocates say: El día de los jovenes/El día de los libros, Teen Day/Book Day. Some middle schools create Día literacy activities for themselves and some promote literacy at a neighboring elementary school. May more fine school librarians annually incorporate Día's goals of linking all children to books, languages and cultures. May these librarians start an annual tradition of culminating Día celebrations on or near April 30th following Alma's enthusiastic example for promoting cultural understanding through Día. Gracias, Alma!
Read our interview with Alma
Rose Treviño, Librarian
If Oralia is Día’s madrina, Rose Treviño, who died April 30, 2010, is Día’s guardian angel. I'd met her thanks to our mutual friend Oralia and thanks to ALA. Rose was an early supporter of Día and served on its National Advisory Committee at ALSC. A Texas librarian deeply committed to all children including the under-served, Rose promoted Día when she was head of children's services at the San Antonio Public Library where she discovered bookjoy as a child, and later championed Día at the Houston Public Library. I believe it was Rose, who when she was on the ALSC Board, was a grand champion who encouraged the Board to offer to be Día's national home.
Read more about Rose