Meet the 2016 Guatemala Service Trip Team

Debbie Chavez

Debbie Chavez
Program Manager, LWB Asturias
Co-trip leader

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’ve been a librarian for many years in public libraries in the US. I went as a volunteer on the Asturias trip last year and felt that my work wasn’t done, that I needed to continue to work with the school. I’m thrilled to be involved on an ongoing basis as the program manager!

Where else have you travelled?
I’ve travelled extensively in Mexico and a little bit in Canada and Guatemala. I’ve also travelled through many of the states in the western US and a few other cities like Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
Many years ago, I read the book “I, Rigoberta Menchu” and was horrified at the atrocities being committed against the indigenous people of Guatemala. Later, it was proven that much of the information in the book didn’t actually happen to her family. Nonetheless, the atrocities she described did happen to others, and her book brought the world’s attention to the Guatemalan civil war. Ever since then, I knew that I wanted to do something to help the people of Guatemala. I heard about this trip through Facebook and knew that I wanted to be involved. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to combine my love of books and reading with helping people in an area of the world that I’ve been interested in for a very long time.

 

Dee Winn

Dee Winn
Head, Information Services, Concordia University Library
Co-trip leader,  Collection Development/Cataloguing Team Lead

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’ve been an LWB student advisor for MLIS/MISt programs for the past three years and a librarian for 9 years.

Where else have you travelled?
My most recent travels were to the United Arab Emirates, but I’ve also been to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I was a volunteer on the 2014 Guatemala Service Trip and am excited to be returning to Asturias to continue LWB’s great work!

 

Erica Younglove

Erica Younglove
Reference Librarian at Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, VA
Communications Team Lead

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’ve been working in public libraries for over 7 years mostly in adult and reference services.

Where else have you travelled?
I have previously traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, and to Scotland, Ghana, and Turkey.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I think I was searching for international librarian travel opportunities and found it that way. When I found it I knew I wanted to participate since it combines my passion for libraries and literacy with my love of travel.

 

Celia Avila

Celia Avila
Young Adult Librarian, Los Angeles Public library, Harbor City-Harbor Gateway Branch
Library Day Team Lead, Communications Team, translations

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I volunteered at my local library as a teen and then went on to work at the library while I completed my studies. I’ve worked for the Los Angeles Public Library for almost 11 years now, 4 as a librarian. I’ve worked mainly in Hispanic communities with an emphasis on providing library services to teens and young adults, a topic I’ve also presented on at conferences in the last few years. Additionally, I am an active member of Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, and currently serving as the Los Angeles Chapter Vice President/ incoming President.

Where else have you traveled?
I have only been to Zacatecas, Mexico.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the trip a few years ago from a colleague in Reforma but wasn’t able to apply until now. I had desire to attend for the opportunity to share the skills and knowledge I have acquired through my experiences in libraries. I also wanted the opportunity to learn more about the culture and how libraries operate in other parts of the world in order to better inform my service and my global understanding of libraries in our society.  

 

Liz Blackall

Liz Blackall
Community Librarian, Hamilton Public Library
Cataloguing team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’m excited to be volunteering for Librarians without Borders for the first time. I have my Masters in Library Science and Bachelor of Education from Western University in London Ontario. I’ve been working at Hamilton Public Library since 2013. My first librarian role was in youth services and I’ve recently moved to a position working with our bookmobiles and visiting library service. It’s a fun and rewarding position serving some of our most vulnerable patrons (and no, they do not let me drive the bookmobile).

Where else have you travelled?
Guatemala will be first big international trip since I was 12 and visited family in Ireland. I enjoy outdoorsy activities, so most of my travelling has involved camping in Ontario.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
My wonderful friend from library school, Alexandra Ferguson, participated in this trip for two years. I was inspired by her stories and photographs and have wanted to come ever since! She encouraged me to apply this year. It’s long been a goal of mine to learn more about international librarianship. Now that I’m done with school and have a job I love, I want to start giving back and become more involved in non-profit organizations and humanitarian projects.

 

Saudra Alvarez

Saudra Alvarez
Help Saudra fund her trip
OSL III at Pima County Library
Professional Development Team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I have worked for Pima County Library for almost 16 years. I started as a teenager working as a computer monitor. I was a computer monitor for 2 years. I would sign up patrons on computers, and helped them from printing, saving documents, and searching the internet. I created brochures, flyers for the library, and participated In storytime. I then was a page for 3 years. In this position I filed books in alphabetical order, title, author, and also non-fiction as well. Now I’m a clerk I work on serials, damaged items, inter-library loans. I’m also in charge of the Eckstrom-Columbus Library bulletin board. I’m in charge of distributing informational brochures, flyers etc. I work helping patrons from creating new library accounts, checking in/out materials. I also help patrons look up library material on our catalog, and searching our library databases. I assist downloading Ebooks, emagazines, free music on our database (freegal). I assist in computer questions, and faxing. I have also in the past taught Spanish computer classes from beginners computer class, search the internet, create documents in Microsoft word, search the internet, and facebook.

Where else have you travelled?
In the US and Guatemala

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about this wonderful service trip through a colleague. I love helping others, and my parents home Country is Guatemala. This is a great way to give back, and learn more about my culture. I look forward to meeting everybody and participating in this great opportunity while working with teachers and students and promote the importance of literacy, and outreach programs.

 

Cat Silvers

Cat Silvers
First Year Outreach Librarian, University of North Florida
Library Day team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I found my love for libraries purely by accident. In college I studied Humanities at Florida State University (FSU) and discovered a strong attraction to Art History through required courses for graduation. I decided to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Art History with the intention of someday becoming a museum curator. Early on in my graduate program I decided on an internship at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. I was originally placed in the curatorial department, but was soon moved to the museum’s library to do research for upcoming exhibits. It was in the Ringling’s library that I realized that libraries were my calling. After completing my Master in Art History, I went on to get my MLIS degree. My first part-time librarian position was at FSU where I fell in love with helping students succeed and welcomed the organized chaos of academic libraries. In my current role as the First Year Outreach Librarian at the University of North Florida, I forge partnerships with campus organizations and connect all students in their first year at the university to library resources and services through exciting programs and events.

Where else have you travelled?
I have travelled to Canada, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Haiti. In 2006 I also travelled to Italy, where I lived in the small town of San Venanzo for five weeks. The purpose of that trip was to participate in an archaeological dig that focused on uncovering ancient Etruscan artifacts. Just prior to this year’s LWB trip to Guatemala I’ll also be travelling briefly in the Yucatan, Honduras, and Belize.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I discovered Librarians Without Borders while browsing through an American Library Association email newsletter. I have been interested in travelling abroad for non-vacation experiences, and when I saw that I could apply my experience as a librarian to help the people of Guatemala, I knew I needed to fill out an application.

 

Miria Olson

Miria Olson
Master of Information Studies student at McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
Professional Development team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I work at a public library in Montreal and I am a member of the McGill University LWB chapter.

Where else have you travelled?
I spent five years working as an English teacher in Spain and the Canary Islands. I travelled to many European countries during that time. I have also worked and studied in New Zealand, Iceland and France. During high school, I did a short exchange program in Costa Rica and I’m very excited to return to Central America with LWB this year!

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the program from previous participants and they encouraged me to apply. I applied for this program because I love the Spanish language and I am very interested in children’s literacy. I think this trip will be a great learning opportunity.

 

Mary Block

Mary Block
Library Assistant, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) / San Jose State University MLIS student
Collection Development team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
My career in libraries started with a student worker position as an undergrad.  I found that I loved helping connect people with information and giving them the tools to succeed in school and beyond.  I’ve since worked in public libraries as a children’s and teen librarian; in a genealogy and historical collections library; and now I work in an academic library at an art and design school.  I believe in the life-changing powers of libraries, and I’m so happy to contribute to LWB’s mission of improving access to information resources.

Where else have you travelled?
I’ve been to Montreal, Canada, and I’ve traveled all around the U.S., but this will be my first trip south of the border.  

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I took a course at SJSU with Melanie Sellar, a founder of LWB.  We spent a lot of time researching Guatemala and the Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango, and we developed project proposals for specific issues affecting the school and the community there.  It was unlike any course I’ve ever taken for my MLIS, and I was incredibly inspired by the work being done at Asturias.  I’m excited to see the great work there firsthand!

 

Jay Peters

Jay Peters
Coquitlam Public Library
Collection Development team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I have been a librarian for the past 10 years; was at Western University just after LWB came into being.

Where else have you travelled?
Europe, Korea, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Mexico, Laos, Cambodia, Japan and Vietnam.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
A friend suggested it.  It’s nice to go to a new place and be able to help out at the same time.

 

Georgi Bordner

Georgianne (Georgi) Bordner
Head of Technical Services, Regent University Library, Virginia Beach, VA
Collection Development team, “assistant interpreter”

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
My father was a technical services librarian, and I was not only named for him, but followed in his footsteps professionally.  All of my experience has been in academic libraries, mostly in cataloging.  I have also done a lot of volunteer work with the Commission for International Library Advancement (CILA), a group with a similar mission to LWB’s. One of our main activities has been the training of overseas librarians who have not had the benefit of a formal education in library science.  I was involved in the production of The Librarian’s Manual, the textbook we use in our librarian training seminars, and also served as one of the translators and editors of the Spanish edition.

Where else have you travelled?
I participated in librarian training seminars with CILA in Bolivia, India, Trinidad, and Malaysia.  I have also traveled to Mexico, Peru, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, and Germany.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I saw the announcement for the trip in an ALA newsletter, and immediately knew I wanted to go.  Even though I have been able to travel to a variety of places, my primary interest has always been Latin America, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! I am looking forward to using my knowledge of Spanish and my library skills to make a difference in the library and the lives of the students and teachers who use it.

 

Chelsea Weissman

Chelsea Weissman
Children’s Librarian at the Grandview Library in Columbus, Ohio. I’m also a part time piano teacher.
Library Day Team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
The Guatemala service trip and I like them on facebook. 🙂

Where else have you travelled?
I studied for a semester in college in Hungary.  While there, I also got to travel to Greece, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and England.  Since then, I’ve been to Scotland, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks, Key West, Bar Harbor, San Francisco, Napa, Maui.  I’m going to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest in May!

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I saw it on the group “Storytime Underground” on facebook.  When I saw the post about it, I was very intrigued, as I’ve been wanting to do some kind of trip where I’m more immersed in a culture and in a different way than just being a tourist.  I then went to the information meeting and it sounded more amazing, so I applied.  I also love being a children’s librarian so this specific service trip sounded great!

 

Amy Moskovitz

Amy Moskovitz
Help Amy fund her trip
Teacher at Northfield Elementary School and graduate student (MLIS) at San Jose State University (SJSU).
Library Day team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I am currently pursuing my Master’s in library and information science and serve on my local public library’s Board of Trustees.

Where else have you travelled?
I have traveled mostly within the United States. Some of my favorite US destinations are New Orleans, Denver, San Francisco and Orlando. I have also traveled to the European countries of England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. This summer, I’m planning to visit Iceland.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the LWB Guatemala trip through SJSU. I love to travel and have a passion for teaching and literacy. I thought this opportunity would combine my interest in international travel and exploration with my background and interests in teaching, libraries and literacy. I am very excited to be joining LWB on this amazing trip!

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