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Between the Lines: October Member Spotlight

Between the Lines: Member Spotlight

Yolanda Botello, director of library services, Mansfield Public Library

What inspired you to become a librarian?

Becoming a librarian was not my lifelong dream, but I am glad my life led me here. Growing up, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I got older, my answer was always “a teacher.” I got my bachelor’s degree in education, and while I loved working with children, I did not like the strict structure I had to follow in a school and I quickly realized it was not for me. During undergraduate school, I rekindled my love for books and realized I wanted to do something with reading outside the school setting. After graduating I was bartending and substitute teaching and trying to figure out what my next step was in my life goals. While at a school I was substituting for, I ran across information for the UNT MLS (University of North Texas Master of Science in Library Science) program. After doing some research on the program, one thing led to another. Within the year I was enrolled at UNT and moved from El Paso to Denton to start a new chapter in my life.

What is an innovative practice at your library that you’d like to share with others?

Everything is about partnerships right now. We have made a huge push to not only work with community partners, but to partner with our own colleagues in other departments. Our best example of this is Turkey Palooza. In 2018 we held our first Turkey Palooza, where we worked with (the city of) Mansfield Fire, Environmental Services and Water departments to hold an educational program about Thanksgiving. We were able to have one program where patrons gained information about the services their city departments offered them, while having an amazing Thanksgiving lunch donated by local businesses. Turkey Palooza received recognition in September 2019 at the 3CMA conference with an Award of Excellence for a one-time event. We are currently working on the second annual Turkey Palooza.

If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), who would they be and why?

Judy Blume, John Green and Karin Slaughter.

Judy Blume, because I grew up reading her books, they are a huge part of why I love to read. John Green, basically because I am a fan girl for his books. It was hard to choose a third, I have a long list of possible authors, but I went with Karin Slaughter.  I started reading her books recently and I cannot get enough of them.

What are you reading right now?

Greg Iles, The Quiet Game (Penn Cage series)

What is your most memorable Texas Library Association Experience?

My most memorable experience in TLA has been being a part of the TALL Texans Class of 2017. I met people that have become great mentors, colleagues and friends. This experience has also led to other opportunities within TLA, most notably being on the Program Planning Committee for both the 2019 and 2020 conferences.