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 Membership, TLA News

Rebecca Calderon
Coordinator of Libraries
Ysleta Independent School District

What inspired you to become a librarian?   
As a child I had learning delays. School was always a challenge and was not an enjoyable experience. The whole problem was that I struggled reading and if I couldn’t read, I couldn’t do science, social studies, math, not even music class. I knew that I didn’t have a chance if I didn’t become a better reader. Storytime with my mother and in the classroom connected me with books in a way that I could never have done on my own. Being a listener of stories helped me to love the magic of words on the page without the struggle of decoding. I always knew that reading was the key to success because it had proven to be the reason for failure.

When I decided to become a teacher, I never dreamed that I would be good enough to be a librarian. You see, I thought of the librarian as an elite position that I would never hold.  After receiving a master’s degree in education, I waited until 2013 to start my library degree and I haven’t regretted a single day since.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?  
Thinking and working outside the box is an innovative practice that I think others should explore. In the months leading up to  the pandemic, I worked on increasing our district digital collection but ran into the usual problem of lack of resources. Partnering with our public library to allow our district’s students to access their digital collection was key to overcoming this challenge. After maneuvering through the bureaucratic red tape, our students were able to gain access to the public library’s digital collection without having to fill out applications for each student and most importantly, without our school having to spend the funds to purchase thousands of ebooks and audiobooks. This success would not have been possible working completely within the established procedures and was brought into fruition only after the aforementioned innovative maneuvering. Little did I know that this goal would sustain our students’ reading needs through a very difficult time in their lives.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
C. S. Lewis – who somehow got me through high school. His books were thought-provoking and abstract and real all at the same time. The Screwtape Letters was one of my favorites.

Fredrik Backman – my favorite writer. I’d love to talk to him about his inspiration for his books and what he is working on now.

Cynthia Rylant – my favorite children’s author. I would just love to talk to her and listen to her speak. I would ask her how she finds the words to evoke emotion in books like Scarecrow and November.

What are you reading right now?
I’ve been listening to my holiday audiobooks for the past four weeks. I will be resuming my regular reading with Unearthing Joy by Gholdy Muhammad.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
TLA 2015 was my most memorable experience. That was the very first TLA conference and my first year as a librarian so you can be sure that I came back bursting with ideas and inspired to make my library better.

My advice to new librarians:
Be bold, be passionate and be ready for change. Change can be a good thing so always be the first to try out new things. Let your passion for reading and books lead your way.

“I am a TLA member because…”
I am a TLA member because professionals should belong to professional organizations that support your growth and networking goals.