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Between the Lines: July Member Spotlight

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

Israel Favela 

Collection Development and Cataloging Manager at Houston Public Library

What inspired you to become a librarian? Since I was in elementary school, I was always told that I was going to make a great teacher one day. My middle school and high school years were spent at Chinquapin Preparatory School, a now co-ed boarding school for motivated students from historically-excluded communities in the Greater Houston area. Teachers live on campus at Chinquapin Prep, so they wear many hats; during my time at Chinquapin I mowed lawns and swept the science building classrooms during chore period with the Director and Co-Director, Bill & Kathy Heinzerling (who also happened to to be one of my P.E. teachers and my track coach, respectively). Before my life took off on the teacher route, I got my first library job. I got to see firsthand how libraries are crucial members of the communities they serve by providing resources and services to people, which aligned with the community-focused values instilled in me by my teachers at Chinquapin. Additionally being an immigrant – and seeing firsthand the life-changing services libraries provide to families like my own – sealed the deal.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others? HPL sends all front-facing staff to a library location designated as the training location. This helps ensure that all front-facing staff have the same foundational knowledge of our policies and procedures. As a big library system, this is very helpful since providing equitable service across all of our locations is a priority!  

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?  Stephen Chbosky, Anne Rice, Augusten Burroughs. Stephen Chbosky because The Perks of Being a Wallflower was such an important part of my adolescence, Anne Rice because she showed me there can be beauty in our darker sides (also, her love of New Orleans!), and Augusten Burroughs because I admired his ability to balance heavy subjects with warmth and heart in his memoirs.

What are you reading right now? Right now I’m reading some travel guides for my upcoming trip to Greece! Additionally, Houston Public Library is running this huge program called One Houston One Book from May to September so I am reading the selected titles: The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi, Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, and Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience? Being recruited to be in the Conference Planning Committee 2021! I had the opportunity to work with great people across TLA and made lifelong connections.

Anything else you would like to share? One of my areas of focus, when I’ve been in TLA units responsible for conference programs, has always been making our profession a better place for staff. I know that the happier and more prepared that we are in our roles, the better we serve our customers and our communities.

 “I am a TLA member because…” I owe a lot to this profession, and being an active member of TLA allows me the opportunity to give back.