This month Pat honors librarian Elva Garza for her faithful support of Día since its beginnings. Elva has advocated for Día on local, state and national levels, has planned celebrations, and has participated in conference programs that educate others and extend Día’s reach.
1. Tell us about your path to librarianship and your work in libraries.
“I had never thought about being a librarian until I got a job my sophomore year of college as a work-study student in the reference department at Southwest Texas State University. I was amazed at how the librarians could find the answer to any questions that came across the reference desk and I wanted to be able to do that. I went off to library school at the University of North Texas with every intention of being an academic librarian but got my first job working for San Antonio Public as a reference librarian. After 5 years, I came to work for the Austin Public Library as a Branch Manager and I am currently working as a Regional Branch Manager overseeing five branches.”
“In Austin, I have always worked in communities where visiting a library for enjoyment is not necessarily something families do, so it has been my job and the staff I work with to introduce families to what libraries have to offer them. Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros celebration has been one of the programs we have used to do this.”
2. What to you is the biggest reward of being involved with Día?
“I think my biggest reward from being involved with Día has been the friendships and partnerships that I have seen develop over the years. These partnerships have brought new learning opportunities for the families we serve all year round. One of these programs has been the Family Learning Nights held in schools throughout Austin. Several of our Día partners get together to provide literacy based activities for families learning math, reading, or science skills. Families receive free books along with library cards.”
3. What ideas do you have for Día 2011 and what are your hopes for the 15th Anniversary celebration?
“From [a small event in a church] we have grown to a citywide event where we had as many as 6,000 attend one year. We are just beginning the planning for this year’s Día celebration. We are talking about a month long celebration with events going on in our schools and libraries.”
4. What are you reading now?
“I am currently reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. I have a ten-year-old buddy and this was his pick. He is a reluctant reader so when ever he asks me to read something with him I jump up and read.”
5. What is your favorite example of Bookjoy either as a child or as adult?
“I was never a big reader as a kid; it was not until in college when I first discovered books written by Latino authors that I felt an excitement in reading. When I first read books by Tomás Rivera, Rudolfo Anaya, and Gabriel García Márquez, I was recognizing my family’s stories. These were the stories I heard from my grandfather and father — the stories of the curandera, of living in a migrant camp and working in the fields, of brothers going off to war.”