I consider myself very lucky to have been selected for a scholarship by Reforma Oregon to attend OLA 2018. Funding is a pre-condition to pay the registration and plan the trip. I am very grateful for the experience and for the new library friends I made in Oregon. It was also an opportunity to re-connect with a long-time friend from Los Angeles. He gave me a tour of the facilities of the University of Oregon; and over records and books and bikes, we discussed many topics related to art, libraries, scholarship, publishing, and access to higher education.
As the Secretary for Reforma-LIBROS, San Diego and Imperial Valley chapter, I was very excited to meet other members of REFORMA. Networking is not only exchanging business cards. It is much more than that. The contacts I developed--through interaction and cooperation--are those with whom I will devote time and interest and professional support. I accompanied the excited and weary travelers to Guadalajara and back in their shared experiences as they developed a cooperative program to bring quality Spanish-language titles back to their libraries. There was a time to discuss my own experiences as a staff member at a southern California community college, my role in student services, and my wish to create a shared technical services desk that would combine student services and library technical services. We discussed textbook affordability and the challenges the community college students face. It was a remarkable exchange. Although we are separated by hundreds of miles, the needs remain the same--how do we connect our communities to great services, programs and information? How do we make resources more accessible? I felt invigorated by the buoying effect of collaboration, spirit, and professional commitment to one and each other.
This conference stimulated my academic and career thinking and goals. I was able to identify trends of what is produced in librarianship and other areas of research: human rights, refugees, resources, technical services, youth and children’s services. I started questioning myself, how do I make the best use of my skills and training and become the librarian I want to be? How will I serve my communities better? What resources can the library provide to help address the concerns of the Spanish-speaking community? The students at San Diego City College? Logan Heights Branch Library?
I returned to work with a full tank and bright eyes. Thank you, Reforma, Oregon. It was lovely to meet you. I look forward to returning the next opportunity.