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Advocacy Is an Ongoing Process: with Karina Quilantan Garza

The Librarian Influencer of the Week is Texas librarian Karina Quilantan Garza, also known as Cue the Librarian. She’s been a middle school librarian in Pharr San Juan Alamo ISD for 5 years. Click here to listen to her interview now.

Here are some Librarian Influencer strategies Karina shared for early-career librarians:

  • The change in dynamics between student and teacher was a big change for her when Karina moved into the library.

  • She’s learned to be flexible because plans change on the campus and the library has to be a community space, not just her personal library space.

  • Karina created a library ambassador program for the students based on an article she read during graduate school. The students help with displays, tech support for other students in the library, and a myriad of other things. They even helped keep the library in order when she was out on maternity leave!

  • Her school library Instagram showcases what students are doing and provides an outreach to the library. She uses Instagram to get ideas from other librarians.

  • Karina invested time genrefying her library and it increased her circulation.

  • Don’t compare your experience to other more experienced librarians around you.

  • Take your first years slowly and be flexible.

  • She thinks the COVID-19 time highlighted the influence of the librarian. Librarians stepped up to the plate and created community outreach, tech support, virtual programming, and so much more!

  • When a teacher reaches out for support, Karina thanks them for putting their trust in her.

  • She shares her experiences earning digital badges. This passion eventually led to offering digital badges to her teaching staff. Her teachers love having a digital representation of their learning.

  • Karina uses Buncee to create a digital business card that displays her digital badges.

Karina’s Advocacy Tips

  • Badging shows others her skillset.

  • Identify things your campus is working on and develop a plan to address it from the library’s perspective.

  • Reach out to administrators and school board meetings.

  • Create a network with other librarians and share resources with each other. She moderates for the RGV Library Squad Twitter chats.

  • Advocacy is an ongoing process, not a one way street.

  • Focus on the impact you have on students and staff.

  • Karina and the other RGV Library Squad (her PLN) hosted their own virtual conference this summer. Their goal is to build a community of librarians to advocate for each other.

This is what Karina is did this summer in preparation for next year:

  • She makes a back to school checklist in May and leaves it on her desk so she sees in August when she returns to work.

  • This summer she worked on several badges, micro-credentials, and technology certifications.

  • She created training materials for her staff based on her summer trainings.

  • She’s working on a tiered action plan this summer to deal with returning to campus after COVID. She’s making plans for remote, hybrid, and face to face instruction.

You can follow Librarian Influencer Karina Quilantan Garza at:

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