Please join REFORMA National in paying homage and celebrating another little-known Latino/a librarian legacy – this one a story of mother and daughter librarians!
Doña Blanca started her career in her hometown of Canóvanas in Puerto Rico.
Our hometown bears the name of a Taíno princess. Taínos were the native inhabitants of Puerto Rico. My mother is a beautiful, fearless woman of Greek and Taíno heritage. I am very proud of the rich ethnic background I inherited from her.
I learned to love my profession from my mother. Since my mother was my school librarian from the 1st to the 10th grade, I learned about many aspects of librarianship from her: listening, working as a team member, giving opportunities to everyone who works hard, collection development, library instruction, reader’s advisory, programming, library management and making sure to meet user’s needs.
My mother started her career as a school teacher and became a librarian shortly after. She met her husband, Neftalí García, while they were both starting their careers and working at a middle school. She taught the children of her friends and family members. Her library welcomed everyone in the community needing to seek and receive information. The library was open to everyone and anyone and this made her a wildly popular and much respected person in the community. It was fantastic, and my sisters and I got to be the daughter of “Ms. Febo” as she was affectionately called by everyone.
My mother and I share many passions including serving others, developing projects and encouraging others to make anything they want to happen, happen. We also share the same Alma Mater. My mother earned her Bachelors degree in Education and her Masters in Library Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico. I earned my Bachelors in Business and my MLS from the same University.
When I am in Puerto Rico and we walk around town and we run into one of her former students, they reminisce about the library and the library clubs. I’m always immensely happy to hear how my mother, the librarian, helped many people to learn to read and write, and how that helped them to move to the 2nd, the 3rd, the next grade. My mother taught in schools located in the same town for 33 years! and served as both an academic and school librarian.
Doña Blanca Febo, My Mother, is my best example of what it is to be a committed, passionate and selfless librarian.
– Loida García-Febo, President, REFORMA National,2009-2010
Latina/Latino librarians, as we are finding out, didn’t just show up. We stand on the shoulders of those before us, whose stories we are obligated to share and make known. What a treasure to find that two of our long-time Reformistas – Loida García-Febo and José Aponte, both come from librarian families.