You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Join TLA
All News

Between the Lines: February Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA News

Rolando Ramirez

McAllen Public Library
Palm View Branch Manager


What inspired you to become a librarian?
Growing up without cable TV forced me to be an avid reader, and I frequented my public library. On one occasion, I saw a patron checking out a reel-to-reel movie projector and 8mm movie films. Unaware of this possibility, I asked the librarian if I needed a parent to check out those items too. She replied, “As long as you have a library card, I can check them out to you.” I checked out a projector and several movie films before she could change her mind. It humbled and amazed me at the trust I received. The look on my Mom’s face as I walked out of the library with that expensive equipment was priceless. That experience made me cherish the easy access to knowledge and entertainment. I was already a customer service-minded person. That library experience enhanced my desire to serve others.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization that you’d like to share with others?
My library’s new library card application is unique. Most libraries need applicants to have city, county, or state residency, but not ours. Provide us with a U.S., Mexican, or Canadian government-issued, photo ID and proof of U.S. residency, and you get a library card. Located ten miles from the U.S./Mexico border and frequented by winter visitors, this policy makes total sense. “Bienvenidos a McAllen, y’all!”

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Historical fiction is my favorite genre. British author Jeffery Archer is one of my favorites. At dinner, I would ask, “So what was that prison thing all about?” Another of my favorite authors is Leon Uris who wrote Exodus, Mila 18, The Haj and many other great works. His novels filled my high school years with gut-wrenching sorrow and heart-exploding joy. I would say to him, “Thank you for all the emotional rollercoasters, with lessons in empathy and hope.” Horror was not a favorite genre, but I have read an excessive amount of Stephen King novels. To the master storyteller I would ask, “Dude, what is up with the 1,000+ page books? You do know there’s a trilogy in there, right?”

What are you reading right now?
I am listening to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash (1992), which introduces us to the “Metaverse.” And yes, way before Mark Zuckerberg.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience? Anything else you would like to share?
I attended library school at Texas Women’s University under the Literacy Matters Scholarship. The scholarship “mandated” my cohort’s attendance of two TLA Annual Conferences. Such an unreasonable demand, am I right!? Wow, I got free tuition AND conference tickets? Not to brag, but THAT WAS AWESOME! (Please don’t hate me.) I have attended many International Business Trade Expos, in my past life. TLA’s Annual Conference’s sheer size and scope left me in awe. The resources and networking I acquired at those conferences solidified my career choice.

“I am a TLA member because…” I enjoy growing in my library career, while helping others grow in theirs.