"Growing up on the Mexican border, the one public library in town was the size of an average living room. Then we moved to Texas and my mom took us down to our new library. I couldn’t believe everything it had. It was a big space! They had blocks to play with, Disney movies to check out, and best of all, everything was free."
Today, as a bilingual (Spanish) youth librarian for Troutdale Library, Violeta helps connect East County youth to the library world she fell in love with from an early age. She especially enjoys the connection she’s made with teen patrons.
"Working with teens is underrated. I can show them my goofiest self, and they really open up. We want to make the library a desirable and inclusive space for everyone. It can be a place of acceptance for them as they go from seeing the world as black and white to seeing the ‘grays’ in life."
With Violeta’s leadership, Troutdale is reviving its Teen Council, an opportunity for teens from the neighborhood to develop leadership skills and get involved. The Teen Council meets bimonthly and develops programs for other youth to get involved in the library.
This May, Troutdale will host a special three-part event for teens and youth, Live in a Better World and Give Back, which will be an opportunity for attendees to craft and make tote bags that will be donated to women and children at the Rose Haven day shelter.
In addition to her role as youth librarian, Violeta worked for the past nine months as a regional librarian in East County, supporting Gresham, Troutdale, Rockwood and Fairview libraries. In her role, she spent time reaching out to organizations and listening to what East County neighborhoods want from their library; coordinating resource lists for patrons, such as where in East County houseless patrons can get basic services; and leading training opportunities for other youth librarians.
As Violeta reached out to neighborhood organizations, she recognized an increasing need for the library to be out telling the community all it can offers — for free — that goes beyond books.
"Some people think of us as another government organization, but we are so dedicated to helping people get the information they need, connecting them to resources and most importantly, protecting their privacy," said Violeta.
As a librarian dedicated to serving East County, Violeta’s commitment and passion for helping people in her community, and connecting them to the library, remains at the center of her work.
"I’ve always felt at home in the library. I want to help ensure others feel that way too."