Between the Lines: June Member Spotlight
Laura Tadena, Equity and Inclusion Consultant
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
What inspired you to become a librarian?
I had been working for several years as a middle school math teacher, and after a couple of years, I noticed that reading comprehension was an area that many of my students were struggling in. I reached out to our campus librarian, Mary Hopkins, to help me incorporate literacy strategies into our math curriculum. While working with her, she encouraged me to consider librarianship as a possible career path. I was inspired by her and the work that she was doing for our campus. It was also because of her that I learned about TLA and the different library and information science degree programs offered across Texas. I was inspired to become a librarian because I wanted to help promote literacy and equitable learning opportunities, support my campus, and connect the community I served with information and resources.
What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
Something that is new for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is my position. Having someone whose primary role is working towards ensuring Texas library workers are knowledgeable about and have resources to engage their community in implementing inclusive, equitable services is something we have not had in the past. We have also formed an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee and are developing initiatives to make our workplace a more inclusive environment.
If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
If I could have dinner with three authors, they would be Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Angela Davis, and Audre Lorde. Their work and activism have inspired me and are the foundational frameworks that I use when advocating for equity and social justice.
What are you reading right now?
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
I volunteered at TLA a few years ago (before I was a member) and had the opportunity to meet different people and witness some of the work that goes into making a conference happen. It was exciting to meet other library workers across Texas and learn more about the association.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you had to adjust the way you provide services? How is your library operating now?
I work on the Continuing Education and Consulting team within the Library Development and Networking Division of TSLAC. We typically provide in-person trainings and workshops. Due to the pandemic, we shifted to providing online/virtual trainings and webinars. We developed multiple outlets for collecting data where libraries across Texas were able to share updates on how they were/are responding to the pandemic. Something new for us was that we hosted a series of regional discussions that provided the space for Texas library workers to share concerns and resources with one another. We used collaborative note-taking and posted these resources on our webpage.
“I am a TLA member because…”
I am a TLA member because I want to give back to the profession and be part of the TLA community working towards shaping a more inclusive future for library workers and patrons. I also am a member because I want to connect with other library workers and grow my community of practice.