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Between the Lines: August Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA Membership, TLA News

Carmen Lazo
Children’s Community Programs Administrator
Pflugerville Public Library

What inspired you to become a librarian?
When I moved to Texas, my life had a fortunate turn of events. I had the opportunity to become the Pflugerville Public Library’s Children Services Coordinator.  My previous work experience had been in child education and this role allowed me to bring my passion to a library environment. It also provided the opportunity to focus on sharing my knowledge not only with children, but also with their parents.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
I am sure most libraries offer some kind of program for homeschoolers; but the Pflugerville Public Library’s Homeschool Groups Program is unique. All youth services staff are involved. We divide the homeschoolers into three groups by age: kids (5-8), tweens (8-12) and teens (12-18).  We plan different activities for each group, and they meet in separate rooms. We have several gatherings throughout the year where all groups meet together, too. Each spring, we hold the annual Pflugerville Public Library Homeschool Resource Pfair, which features free events and different programs available for homeschooling families in the community. Of the programs featured at the Pfair, some are educational, others focus on sports, health, arts & crafts, and more!

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
First, I would love to have dinner with Miguel Angel Asturias, the first Guatemalan author to be awarded The Nobel Prize in Literature. His masterpiece,  Hombres de Maiz (Men of Maize), explores Mayan culture and costumes featuring Mayan legends and Asturias’s own fictional writing.

Second, I would want to have dinner with Ana Maria Valdeavellano Pinot, a Guatemalan author and poet who was also my high school literature and philosophy teacher. Her passion for children and education inspired me to become a teacher.

Finally, I would also like to have dinner with Mo Willems, so I would have the opportunity to convince him to continue writing books in his Elephant & Piggie series.

What are you reading right now?
I am currently reading Charlotte Illes is Not a Detective by Katie Siegel.  It is entertaining and funny. Charlotte was a famous child detective and now in her twenties, she is pulled back into solving mysteries again.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
I will never forget the first time I presented at a TLA conference. Working on the content and the presentation was all good and I was ready! But then the stage fright hit me when I saw the audience. That is unforgettable! I suddenly realized I was in front of over 100 librarians who had come to listen to me speak on bilingual story time programs featuring English, Spanish and other languages. I turned my stage fright into positive energy which helped control my stress and deliver my message effectively.

Anything else you would like to share?
I came to the public library world with 19 years of experience in education. In Guatemala, my home country, I taught English to students ranging from kindergarten to college. In addition, I also served as a teachers’ trainer.  When I moved to the United States my first job was teaching Spanish to K-8 students. I came here in search of the “American Dream. ” Now I know this is not only a dream for immigrants, but a dream for everyone in the U.S. The Pflugerville Public Library gives me the opportunity to be a part of the future of this country by providing children tools and information to make their own decisions and create their own dreams.

“I am a TLA member because…” I feel welcome and appreciated by other TLA members. I believe connecting with other people in my field of work helps me see the big picture and realize I am not alone. TLA provides opportunities to collaborate, cooperate, exchange information and develop professionally.