Candidate for NYLA President (Representing a School Library) (2022-23)
Librarian, Townsend Harris High School, New York City Department of Education & Queens College
My name is Arlene Laverde and I have been a New York City public school educator for the last thirty years. I am excited and humbled to be considered for the New York Library Association’s President. I started my career as an elementary school classroom teacher and if you would have told me I would end up being a school librarian, I more than likely would have chuckled. I loved taking my students to the library, but at that time in my career, I had no idea what it meant to be a school librarian.
In 2004 my school administrator decided to take me out of the classroom and put me in the library. I am a little more than embarrassed to say that I did not have a clue as to what to do, but I did know that the job held limitless possibilities. At 36 years old I decided that I wanted to explore those possibilities and enrolled in Queens College Graduate School of Library Studies. It was one of the best decisions I made in my career.
I have been a certified school librarian in NYC for the last 15 years. I served as President of the New York City School Librarian Association from January 2019-January 2021, I am the Region Two representative for NYLA-SSL, and have served on various committees on ALA, AASL, and YALSA. I also currently serve on the New York City Library council.
Along with being a high school librarian, I am the current graduate advisor for the School Media program at Queens College and adjunct lecturer. I have taught Literature for Children and Adolescents, Organization and Management: School Library Media Centers, Resources for the School Curriculum, Reading Motivation Techniques for Children & Adolescents, and Internship.
As a Hispanic woman teaching in the most diverse place in the world, I have firsthand experience of the importance of comprehensive programming and diverse collections. Libraries are vital to our communities and the patrons they serve. All libraries: school, public, academic, and special have the duty to provide equity of access to all patrons.
All libraries have a vested interest in working together to best support our communities. The school library patrons are also public library patrons, many of whom will one day be users of academic and special libraries. I will be honored to serve as the New York Library Association’s President if elected, and work with all libraries to ensure that libraries continue to be the dynamic, exciting, and inspiring places their communities need them to be.