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Between the Lines: June Member Spotlight

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

Alexandra Cornejo
Lead Librarian of Secondary Schools/Library Media Specialist
Harlingen School of Health Professions, Harlingen CISD

What inspired you to become a librarian?
My fondest childhood memories are from the library, particularly read-aloud story times that left a mark on my heart and gave me a view to the world outside. Middle school grew my passion for reading when I spotted a bright yellow set of Nancy Drew novels sitting on the library shelf during study hall. My role as a reader and library patron solidified as I devoured every Nancy Drew tale. The high school library became a sanctuary where I felt truly at home among books of knowledge and adventure. It was then that I wanted to dedicate myself to this space of libraries and become one of its stewards.

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
Because of a grant from the Harlingen Area Educational Foundation, I acquired a laser cutter for the library’s maker space, which already houses two 3D printers. This laser cutter is the first in my district’s libraries, and now others have followed suit. This technology has allowed our students to be empowered as creators. For example, I collaborated with our 12th grade ELA teacher to carry out a lesson on The Great Gatsby. We learned about the Roaring 20s and Art Deco aesthetics, students then designed their own Art Deco-themed bookmarks using Canva. We used our Glowforge to laser cut these bookmarks from wood. The students were thrilled to see their beautifully crafted bookmark with their personal designs, and it will be a keepsake they can keep forever.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Edgar Allen Poe is the first that comes to mind! I would love to just talk about his thought process through writing The Cask of Amontillado, a story that still gives me the chills! It would also be so lovely to spend an evening with Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice have been books I’ve re-read several times over 20 years! However, I would just love to know Jane Austen, the person. Lastly, Neal Shusterman would be fascinating to speak with about his amazing novels that attract a wide audience, and all differ so much in their story lines.

What are you reading right now?
Currently, I’m reading The Stolen Heir by Holly Black. I love a good fae story.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
I’ve been blessed to experience so many memorable moments with TLA! The release of the first Maverick reading list I contributed to was definitely one of those moments. Knowing that I had a part in such an important list that would serve as a guide for librarians for their book purchases was overwhelming. More recently, I served on a TLA conference panel for library leaders with Amanda Hunt, Marcy Sparks, Brooke King and Becky Calzada! Definitely a “pinch me” moment.

Advice to new librarians?
Come from a place of “yes”. “No” tends to be a default answer, but when you shift that mindset to yes, new adventures begin to happen! Say yes to writing that grant, say yes to volunteering with TLA, say yes to learning AI…. great things happen when you say yes.

Share your hobbies, hidden talents, anything people might not know about you.
I used to be a singer in a Latin Pop band in my 20’s. I was so fearless, back then! However, I’m quite happy, now, to be taking care of my library and students.

Anything else you would like to share?
Librarianship is the best profession in the world.

Please finish this sentence. “I am a TLA member because…”
I am a TLA member because I’m able to contribute to a collective voice that advocates for the importance of libraries in education.