REFORMA LA Member Spotlight: Diane Olivo-Posner

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Name: Diane Olivo-Posner

Title: Principal Librarian/Associate Director | Exploration and Creativity Department, Los Angeles Public Library

MLIS Program: San José State University School of Information

Primary service roles: In my role as Principal Librarian for the Exploration and Creativity Department, I oversee and work with the other librarians in my department to coordinate the Los Angeles Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge, which includes Summer Lunch, Dodgers Foundation Partnership, and Your Author Series; LAPL’s STEAM Initiative, which includes various STEAM programs as well as DTLA Mini Maker Faire and Citizen Science (Neighborhood Science); Explore LA, the partnership between Los Angeles Public Library and local cultural institutions; and LA Made, a cultural series featuring free music, dance, theater, and conversations with local entertainers at libraries throughout the City.

How does your work align with service to Latinos and Spanish-speaking communities?: I am constantly advocating to make sure Latinas/os/xs are represented in all the programming my department is responsible for through Spanish materials, photos, social media, presenters, and resources. I strive to make sure the programs and materials are welcoming and inclusive to the patrons of Los Angeles. During my time as a Children’s Librarian, I conducted bilingual storytimes and did bilingual outreach for Children’s Services. I also feel I was a welcoming face to patrons coming to the reference desk, and my ability to speak Spanish was definitely an added bonus. My goal in the future is to continue expanding out STEAM services in Spanish and to offer more programs that will connect with the Latino community.

Gratifying aspects of your work: I work with a great team that makes all these programs and initiatives happen in our 73 locations. I am proud to say I have a diverse department that represents the many communities of Los Angeles, as well as who I am. I am able to be a part of innovative programs that connect the public with the library's new resources and programs, as well as develop partnerships with Los Angeles organizations and groups. Also important to note: I started my career working for Time magazine as a reporter then realized the library world was my true calling and worked as a Library Assistant for USC Law Library. I had an internship at South Pasadena Public Library, where I was lucky enough to work with the Children's Librarian Maida Wong. After receiving my Masters from San Jose State I started working at Children's Literature for LAPL, and I also worked as a Branch Manager for Long Beach Public Library and substitute librarian for Cal State Long Beach. All these experiences truly made me fall more in love with being a librarian. Now. even though I predominately work in a coordinating office, I love still being able to visit and help branches whenever they need it, and I advocate my staff to do that as well. Being a frontline librarian for so many years is something that helps me understand the challenges faced day to day.

Some words of advice to other librarians and/or present and future MLIS students: Find your role models, people you can trust with professional and personal matters, and then give back. I encourage students to surround themselves with people from diverse professions and backgrounds because we can all learn from each other and this is how new ideas and partnerships are formed. Creating your professional family and honoring your own family is what makes a person strong. As I was brought up to say, "Here is to Familia." Always look at the whole picture and be true to yourself and your beliefs. Remembering that when you fail, you need to own it and learn from it and get back to making a difference. Challenge the imposter syndrome. Do not let anyone short-change who you are. Be prepared to advocate for yourself and the community. And always, always keep a sense of humor.

Previous programs that I have done: As mentioned above, I have conducted bilingual storytimes, children’s programming, Learn and Play for children and their families, and trained the volunteers for the STAR Volunteer program, which brings adults to read to children at the library. Being a Puppeteer Master while working in Children’s Literature at Central Library in Downtown still brings a smile to my face. Paco and the Witch was one of my favorite puppet shows to help perform. Most recently, helping to coordinate our DTLA Mini Maker Faire, where over 8,000 attended, strengthens my belief that Librarians and Libraries are all Most Excellent!!