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ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo at Cambridge Public Library

Yesterday the Cambridge (MA) Public Library hosted a VIP visitor — Loida Garcia-Febo, President of the American Library Association. Garcia-Febo is on a tour throughout the year visiting six libraries across the country to discuss her message “Libraries = Strong Communities.”

In the Curious George room of the Children’s Library, Garcia-Febo met with students from two Cambridge Public Schools, the Fletcher Maynard Academy and the Amigos School (a dual-language immersion program) along with their school librarians, Aishah Abdul-Musawwir (a Horn Book reviewer!) and Melisa Paulino. The Amigos students spoke in Spanish about their own backgrounds and about what libraries and community mean to them. The Fletcher Maynard kids talked about using Home of the Brave as a mentor text to explore issues of immigration and identity; they each read a personal essay or poem inspired by their thoughts.

Next Garcia-Febo joined Youth Services Manager (and longtime contributor and Friend of The Horn Book) Julie Roach for her weekly Toddler Storytime.  Julie knows from storytime — read her article “What Makes a Good Storytime?” She began with a singalong (“Stick to the Glue,” think “Skip to My Lou”), then she and Garcia-Febo read Angela Dominguez’s How Do You Say / ¿Cómo se dice? followed by lots more songs and stories (“Hi, Pizza Man!,” Carrot and Pea, Bark George, How Are You? / ¿Cómo estás?).

Loida Garcia-Febo and Julie Roach

And then came the speeches. Cambridge Public Library Director Maria McCauley, City Manager Louis De Pasquale, and Mayor Marc McGovern welcomed Garcia-Febo and the public to this special event (from the first-floor landing — it was a scene!). McGovern even impressively and appropriately worked Rudine Sims Bishop’s “mirrors and windows” metaphor into his remarks. Simmons University Assistant Dean for Student and Alumni Affairs Em Claire Knowles was there (we will get that coffee someday!). There was live music. And cake!

Libraries do equal community, a value that was clearly on display during yesterday’s events in Cambridge.

Front: Maria McCauley, Louis De Pasquale, Loida Garcia-Febo, Marc McGovern

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.

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