Librarians reaching out to Legislators

On Saturday, April 28 and for the first-time ever, librarians from Queens, Brooklyn and New York public libraries serving Latinos and the Spanish speaking presented a panel program at Somos el Futuro Legislative Conference (We are the Future Legislative Conference), a three-day event part of The 2007 Annual Conference of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.  I represented Queens Library at this panel and shared information about how we serve Spanish speakers.  I was able to secure assistance from a community associate who staffed a booth on Friday, April 27 to distribute flyers, brochures and other printed materials about programs and services for this population in English and Spanish. Our participation was coordinated by the New York Library Association and Michael Borges, Executive Director. The New York City Dream Team: Ismael Alicea, Vilma Alvarez from NYPL, Rosana Benavides and Libbhy Romero from BPL, and Loida from
Queens Library.
 I was proud of participating on this effort and hope it is the beginning of a productive relation between
New York libraries and the State elected officials.
During the first week of May, librarians from all over the USA flew to
Washington D.C. for the annual National Legislative Day
to speak with their Members of Congress about the needs of libraries in the areas of funding, telecommunications, copy right and government information. Over a hundred more library supporters participated in Virtual Federal Library Legislative day by calling, faxing letters, and emailing Congress on May 1st and 2nd.’  

Yes! Librarians are taking matters on their hands and approaching policy makers to encourage approval of new measures that will allow more funds and resources to continue providing services to our communities. I do believe that as librarians we have a social responsibility with our community and applaud efforts by
ALA and its Washington D.C. Office to support and keep active the annual Legislative activities. Read information about REFORMA activities on National Legislative Day!

I was not able to attend the main ‘National’ days but I met with Mario Ascencio, Vice-President of REFORMA (National) who lives in D.C. for an update about important and new initiatives and progress achieved during the week. As a member of REFORMA Executive Board, I am proud to say that REFORMA was well represented, Mario, Carol Brey-Casiano, Camilla Alire!, and that librarians in general are uniting their voices to approach the House. Bravisimo!

*I must thank Mario for being a wonderful host, for driving me everywhere around D.C. in his Audi convertible (love it!), for wonderful meals and walks. And of course, Dwayne, Mario’s lovely partner who welcomed me in their beautiful three-floor house in the center of D.C.  


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