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Between the Lines: October Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight, TLA News

Maggie Hernandez
School Librarian
Antonian College Preparatory High School, San Antonio

What inspired you to become a librarian?
Reflecting on my more than 30 years working in many capacities as a professional librarian with an MLIS in Academic Librarianship and as a Texas Certified School Librarian, as well as a Certified Educator by several Edtech apps, empowering faculty and ensuring the students’ success has given me great satisfaction. It all started when I was so captivated by the joy I felt assisting classmates in my second grade class library that I have since made libraries my favorite places to visit. Besides reading and studying there, I’ve enjoyed volunteering, working and gaining inspiration for my library strategies. Although I did attempt other dreams, librarianship and its wondrous adventures have been the path that God has carved out for me.

What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?
I apply in my library practices the key to succeed in business: identify the needs and supply meaningful solutions in a timely manner. I was guided by this principle when I worked with different leadership teams to design two brand-new libraries, including the new Antonian library;  automated two other library collections; upgraded three existing libraries to become an integral part of their student’s educational experience; and volunteered in librarian circles to mentor others. I always believe that libraries exist to support their communities. I employ my unique strengths, experience and librarian skill set to contribute to my community. I align my practices with the related library standards while I strive to identify emerging needs and team dynamics. I am a difference maker by researching resources, embracing new tech applications and providing timely user-friendly solutions through a variety of ways to empower my patrons.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?
I would dine with Karen Kingsbury.  Karen’s heart-warming series are page-turners that cover the deep struggles from all walks of life, yet her books provide a redemptive hope with unpredictable endings.  I would love to get some advice from Karen on how to get my written story published and made into a movie.

What a special evening it would be to have an international potluck with Immaculee Ilibagiza, who miraculously survived the brutal Rwandan Genocides.  I want to hear more of how Immaculee depends on God to forgive, restore, and rebuild from the devastating aftermath.

It would be a dream come true to cook with Registered Holistic Nutritionist Julia Daniluk, picking fresh produce and spices from her garden. Julia’s cookbook Hot Detox Plan demonstrates her wealth of knowledge on both human health and the healing virtues of food. I’d thank her in person for the healing and weight loss results I’ve achieved from her program.

What are you reading right now?
Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Our Book Society (aka Book Club) plans to compare the books and the movies based on them.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to analyze the differences between our own interpretation of the author’s words and that of the production team?

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?
When I accepted the appointment from the TLA Executive Board to become the Chair of the New Members Round Table in June 2021, I merely volunteered to be the Chair-Elect, thinking I would have a whole year to observe and learn.  Instead,  I rushed to learn all the policies, procedures and protocols within days. Through a series of Zoom meetings working with a team of NMRT officers, we planned our unit 2022 TLA conference programs, set our year-round agenda and budget, designed the newsletter and websites — all within a month. What made these experiences the most memorable for me with TLA was the amazing mentors, guidance and support that are already in place from all levels of the TLA organization.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you had to adjust the way you provide library services? How is your library operating now?
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed our service to be more digitized with an efficient approach to meet technology demands. Our collection increased by thousands of eBooks and audiobooks through integrating our subscribed database Marc records into our catalog.  Driven to undergird our faculty and students, I curated and organized timely and relevant resources, tips and guides like never before. I was playing the role of a coach, an informationist, a trainer and a booster, bringing services to them in addition to offerings from the library.

Currently I am gauging the needs of the new school year while promoting suitable tech tools and resources, coaching or teaching patrons in ways that enable them to thrive.

“I am a TLA member because…”
I am a TLA member because the volunteering opportunities strengthen my confidence and leadership skills, enlarge my professional knowledge base and support network, and spread my wings to reach a higher plane.

Learn more about Maggie at her web site.