Between the Lines: November Member Spotlight
We are delighted to have two sisters and TLA members in this unique joint member spotlight!
Margaret Resendez, school librarian, Bebensee Elementary (PK-6), Arlington ISD
Julie Crisafulli, Youth Services Librarian, Mansfield Public Library
What inspired you to become a librarian?
Margaret: Our family instilled an early love of reading and hard work that led to my becoming a teacher and librarian. Besides weekly visits to the public library, our mom made homemade audiobooks from favorite Little Golden books and cassette tapes, and there were always books in the house. For some of my undergrad work, I completed a case study with a young reader and chose my sister, Julie. Reading together for that assignment really cemented our love of learning and reading.
Julie: For me, it was seeing how libraries help their communities thrive and grow. I wanted to be a part of a universal resource for lifelong learning. I was also propelled by an early love of reading by my family.
What is an innovative practice at your library/organization (current or former) that you’d like to share with others?
Margaret: Our district does a great job providing book access to our students. Whether it is providing summer reading materials to our biggest book deserts, funding book vending machines, providing the newest, award-winning, diverse books for students in our libraries, or giving away books from our grant-funded bookmobile, ARLO (AISD Raises Literacy Outcomes), Arlington ISD libraries support our students!
Julie: At my public library, we partner as much as we can with our school district, other city departments, and community organizations. Our partnerships have really enriched our programs and services that we provide to our community.
What is the best part of having your sister as a fellow TLA member? How do you inspire each other?
Margaret: I think we inspire each other with how hard we work for our respective patrons. It is especially heartening to understand how everything we do is done in support for and for the betterment of our communities. Conferences and meetings are fun as we extend our learning groups to include a variety of like-minded colleagues.
Julie: It’s nice to have someone who understands first-hand the challenges that libraries face today. We are each other’s sounding board and support. It’s also great to have a conference buddy! Margaret has inspired me to join the Bluebonnet Committee and get more involved in TLA, which has greatly helped me grow my career.
If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
Julie: How cool would it be to have a murder mystery dinner party with Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, and Agatha Christie? Perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery, and horror. Best dinner ever!
Margaret: Murder mystery dinner party?! Oooo, that sounds fun! Also, I love reading the Author’s Note/Acknowledgements, so I’d love sitting down with ANY author and their editing team/peer group to hear about their processes and learn how the magic happens.
What are you reading right now?
Julie: I’m listening to The Last Ranger by Peter Heller and American Prometheus by Kai Bird while also reading The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time series) by Robert Jordan. I’m juggling too many!
Margaret: As I’m currently on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Selection committee, I’m reading a little of EVERYTHING. Looking forward to lots of new titles coming up. I especially enjoy novels in verse and diverse reads that my students can see themselves and others’ experiences in.
What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
Julie: My most memorable TLA experience was last year’s annual conference. I attended a TALL Texans social as a prospective member and felt so welcomed. Everyone was happy to give advice for my application and I felt like I found such a supportive group. I’m excited to say I’ll be joining the TALL Texans class of 2023 this fall! I was also honored to be the student coordinator for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Luncheon. I guided students and families across Texas to celebrate the winning author and illustrator. To see their excitement and love of reading made it so rewarding. I learned so much at last year’s TLA conference.
Margaret: My favorite experiences occur when colleagues near and far come together in support of Texas readers. Seeing members that speak on our behalf in legislative sessions, rally at the Capitol and at local events, and serve as social media warriors on the front line or behind the scenes is so inspiring. Whether in public, academic, or school libraries, we are a force to be reckoned with when we work together!
Anything else you would like to share?
Julie: Find your library bestie for support and encouragement. Having a person to commiserate during tough times and push you to grow in the field has made all the difference. Also get involved with TLA! There are so many opportunities to learn and help your fellow librarians. All you have to do is raise your hand.
Margaret: I couldn’t have said it better. Get involved. Use your voice. We are all leaders.
“I am a TLA member because…”
Julie: I am a TLA member because I want to grow as a librarian to better help my community.
Margaret: I am a TLA member because all voices deserve to be heard.