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

Join TLA
All News

Between the Lines: July Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA News

Elizabeth Hollenbeck

Librarian III-Outreach and Instruction

South Texas College Library in McAllen, Texas


What inspired you to become a librarian?
In my past career, I was relatively successful but I didn’t feel that passion. I was stuck in that proverbial rut. What I really wanted to do was make a larger impact on society, and help people change their lives and move forward. My belief in the power of education led me to look at librarianship for a new career path, and the missing pieces fell into place and I found my calling. I’m humbled every day to serve my community by working with students and faculty and providing library resources and services, doing my part in the bigger scheme to help transform the Rio Grande Valley.

What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
South Texas College has a thriving visual arts program, and the library supports this program through our Library Art Galleries. Each semester we install at least one art exhibit at each of our five campuses, and coordinate artist lectures, demonstrations, and receptions that facilitate conversations and critical thinking. We show artists from the Rio Grande Valley, from around the state, and some artists from around the nation. These exhibits enrich the student experience, and open important discussions about society, the world, family, current issues — and many other themes that are relevant to students and faculty of all disciplines at the college. We also host all-ages community art exhibits each year to involve the greater arts community in the Rio Grande Valley, which has been very rewarding to our stakeholders. Our newest library art gallery opened this spring at the Nursing and Allied Health Campus, where the lineup of exhibits will touch on medical themes, such as mental health and art therapy.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?

• Haruki Murakami – His prose and stories fascinate me; I always come away with new perspectives after reading his works. His creativity is off the charts.

• Jacqueline Carey – Her books were some of the first I read with bisexual representation, and that was so meaningful to me as a young adult.

• Fumi Yoshinaga – She’s one of the most famous manga creators in Japan, and I love the range of her writing and the emotions she conveys through her characters and draws out from her readers. Her works have always impressed me.

What are you reading right now?
I’m reading Gideon the Ninth by Tamsin Muir, a space opera about lesbian necromancers. Great read so far!

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
I’ve had many great experiences with TLA, but the one that stands out most so far was participating in the TALL Texans Leadership Institute in 2019. The mentors were phenomenal, and I learned so much while bonding with the librarians in my cohort–this is a unique and incredibly rewarding experience. I highly recommend that all Texas librarians apply!