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Between the Lines: November Member Spotlight

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

Nora Alicia Galvan

Library Director, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD Library Services Department

What inspired you to become a librarian?
My inspiration is the idea of teaching the young minds of tomorrow. Never in a million years did I expect to be a librarian, much less a director for one of the largest districts in the Rio Grande Valley. I am elated that I chose this career!

What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
The Texas Association of School Library Administrators (TASLA) introduced innovative ideas with Texas library leaders. Prior to the virus that devastated the world, the PSJA librarians learned about virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and QR codes. The new technology blew me, and the administrators in my district, away. Using iPads, students experienced augmented reality for International Dot Day, and they were amazed. Recently, we were gifted $10,000 from the American Library Association (ALA) to purchase 30 Oculus devices. Students experienced virtual worlds in libraries throughout the district with these devices.

During the pandemic, our librarians were applauded for using virtual learning. The superintendent and board members commented, “It is as if Mrs. Galvan knew that we would be in a virtual setting.” I beam with pride for our librarians who took the lead with impactful technology integration.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?  
Two Harvard Law graduates, Francisco X. Stork and Viola Canales, are my choice to have dinner with. Mr. Stork inspires me with his life stories, like Disappeared, a story about the Texas Border. Viola Canales with her story, Tequila Worm, causes me to reflect on past experiences. Finally, Tomie dePaola, the famous children’s book author and illustrator: his book Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, reflects beautifully on the importance of family.

What are you reading right now?
I am reading The 6 Literacy Levers: Creating a Community of Readers, by Brad Gustafson. Superintendent (Dr. Jorge Arredondo) and Chief of Academics (Dr. Rudy Treviño) are promoting LIFE (Literacy Impact for Excellence) as a district initiative and the book will motivate and accomplish literacy goals through LIFE.

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
My most memorable experience was attending the Houston Conference and having to avoid a hurricane by driving around San Antonio to get to the conference. It was unnerving to avoid floods and a hurricane threat to attend an amazing TLA event. (Okay, shopping in San Marcos was an extra!)

Anything else you would like to share?
This is my 45th year in the education setting, 29th in library services, and I would not change this for the world. The perks of meeting amazing library leaders over the years, as well as incredible authors, are worth it. You can see me in the author lines each year to obtain signed books for kids. Including the virtual conference, I have never missed a TLA conference since becoming a librarian. See you in Austin for TLA 2023, my library family!

I am a TLA member because I love reading and learning.
Seeing old friends and meeting new ones at TLA resonates with me. I reflect on the excellent times I’ve spent with librarians who are “heroes” now and in times to come.  Thank you, TLA staff, for your dedication to us.