Thank you! for the 2015 Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award

I am honored to have received the 2015 Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement Award from REFORMA. I would like to share my acceptance speech which I delivered on June 26, 2015 during the REFORMA Gala at the 2015 American Library Conference Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Buenas noches. Thank you. Gracias to the REFORMA Awards Committee, the nominators, and to Salvador Avila- thank you so much! John Ayala, Ninfa Trejo, Jose Aponte. Much love and appreciation.

Tonight, I stand on the shoulders of trailblazers like Elizabeth Martinez, our first Latina ALA Executive Director. Camila Alire, our first Latina ALA President. I am grateful to many others who paved the way for me to be able to accomplish everything mentioned on the award citation. Thank you. I recognize you tonight.  There are many names but I will mention,

Ben Ocon, a REFORMA Past President, he gave me my first leadership opportunity in REFORMA. Sandra Rios Balderrama was an immense joy to work with during my Presidency. My Northeast Chapter which supported my concept of a mini conference with all the ethnic caucus and we just had our eleventh annual conference! I truly value working in partnerships and as a team member.

I’ve been blessed with a prolific career. I started as a school librarian while in library school and went to be the chief of a library at the University of Puerto Rico after I received my degree. I have worked at great school, public and academic libraries and treasure my experiences.

My international community, I love you so much. I truly enjoy developing new opportunities for new professionals globally as I have done by co-founding IFLA’s New Profesionals in 2004!, and advocating at the United Nations for access to information. Coordinating global online continuing education in English, Spanish and Portuguese. It is an honor to be trusted enough to have been elected to a second term on the Governing Board of IFLA. Big appreciation to my mentor, Barbara Ford.

I must recognize my mother, Doña Febo, a librarian, who taught me the importance of intellectual freedom and the right of everyone to access information. She would let me read anything I wanted. My father, Don Garcia, showed me to be fearless, daring, atrevida, and shared his passion for communities with me.

Tonight, I also stand on the shoulders of my ancestors. My Greek family, my Taina Grandmother, my Spaniard great grandfathers, My AfroCaribbean great grandmother. I AM THEM. I am so proud of my heritage!

I am Loida, Global, Advocate, Passionate, Love mi Gente, Hija del Caribe, Del Sol Febo, de Atrevidos Garcia.

Thank you. Gracias.