In solidarity with libraries and librarians in Puerto Rico

My heart is with libraries affected by recent natural disasters in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean. This week I have the opportunity to visit libraries damaged by the Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to express my support and to explore ways to help. Depending on Internet connection, I will post photos and stream videos via Facebook live video on my Facebook page Loida Garcia-Febo ALA President Elect, and on my Twitter page

American Library Association Press Release:

American Library Association president-elect to tour Puerto Rico libraries

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/05/2018

Contact: Macey Morales, Deputy Director, Public Awareness Office,

(El Español)

CHICAGO – In times of disaster libraries serve as an invaluable resource to communities in need. When areas are affected by natural disasters, the ALA, library supporters and the community at large work to provide resources needed to help pave the way towards recovery and relief.  ALA President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo will carry on this tradition by visiting damaged libraries in Puerto Rico from Jan. 16 – 19 and providing resources to libraries in need.  

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, the American Library Association (ALA) is supporting library relief efforts in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and the recent earthquake in Mexico by means of its Disaster Relief Fund.  Through its Disaster Relief Fund the ALA has raised more than $60,000 to help support earthquake and hurricane recovery efforts.

Garcia-Febo, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, spent a significant portion of her library career there, as a school librarian at Berwind Elementary School, a special librarian at Centro de Información del Programa de Asistencia Tecnológica de Puerto Rico and an academic librarian at the University of Puerto Rico. Her family still resides in Puerto Rico and continues to deal with lack of water, power and spotty internet access.

Tour locations will include:

Jan. 16, 2018
2 p.m. - University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus Anfiteatro A-211 de la Facultad de Ciencias Naturales de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras
Contact: Lorna M. Castro, Directora Public Relations,

Jan. 17, 2018
2 p.m. – University of Puerto Rico, Humacao CampusAvenida Jose E. Aguiar Aramburu, Carretera 908 Km 1.2, Humacao, P.R.
Contact: Iraida CintrónDirectora Public Relations,

Jan. 18, 2018
10 a.m. - University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón Campus Library, Industrial Minillas 170, Carr. 174, Bayamón, PR
Contact: Vanessa Droz, Directora Public Relations, needs a link

Jan. 19, 2018
12 p.m. - Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, 2250 Boulevard Luis A. Ferre Aguayo, Ponce, PR
Contact: Jalibeth Rodríguez, Directora Public Relations,

REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and Spanish Speakers) President Tess Tobin will join Garcia-Febo during the tours. Both Garcia-Febo and Tobin will share their experiences via social media. Garcia-Febo also will share tour highlights with ALA’s American Libraries magazine upon her return to the states.

ALA has been in contact with the University of Puerto Rico Library, the Library Society of Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rican chapter of REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and Spanish Speakers), which Garcia-Febo served as president in 2009-2010. REFORMA has launched a disaster relief taskforce to help libraries in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, ALA chapters in Florida and Texas have taken the lead on recovery efforts in those states. Currently ALA is accepting donations to support library relief efforts at  The ALA also offers a list of resources for dealing with natural disasters at Libraries Respond.

For more information on ALA’s disaster relief efforts, contact the Chapter Relations Office: Michael Dowling at (312) 280-3200 or Don Wood at (312) 280-2429. To help international libraries, please contact the International Relations Office at (312) 280-3201.


Loida Garcia-Febo
End of Year Message: Standing strong together

As 2017 comes to a close, I am reflecting on our successes and challenges within the library community.

One beautiful common point that has transpired throughout 2017 is our passion...our passion for our library profession, our passion for the diverse communities we serve, and our passion to preserve our core values.

You are the fire // I am the fire

You are the one you’ve been waiting for // I am the one I’ve been waiting for -- Lzzy Hale

Together, we can bring the change we need to impact public policy, our profession, and the communities we serve. Together, our great Library Team can fight for libraries to keep them open, recruit and retain our library information workers, and restore budgets.

In these challenging times, as we seek to hire a new ALA Executive Director and navigate policy changes out of Washington, DC, let’s stand strong and together.

I wish you all the best in the coming year.

In Library Love,


#TogetherWeCan #SiSePuede

Loida Garcia-Febo
Thank You!
 Photo by Evgeni Hristov

Photo by Evgeni Hristov

Dear colleagues,

I am honored to have been elected president-elect of the American Library Association. I wholeheartedly believe that Together, we can bring change! I look forward to serving all of the ALA membership. Thank you so much to each one of you, national and international colleagues, who voted and supported me.

There are many people that helped me along the way and I acknowledge their efforts. I thank my advisory team, my social media and website team, REFORMA, New York Library Association, Queery Librarians, the Library Society of Puerto Rico, and ACURIL for the support and endorsement. There are many generous colleagues who also provided support and advice behind the scenes, and there are many stars who covered campaign tables and contacted colleagues during the campaign. I appreciate the support also of those who endorsed me on the campaign website, mailing lists and on social media.  You are amazing.  We did it! Thank You, Gracias, Efcharisto!

Today, I stand on the shoulders of trailblazers like Elizabeth Martinez, our first Latina ALA Executive Director, and Camila Alire, our first Latina ALA President. I am grateful to many others who paved the way for this Puerto Rican American woman. Thank you. I recognize you today. 

I also stand on the shoulders of my ancestors. My family with Greek heritage, my Taina indigenous grandmother, my Spaniard great grandfather, and my AfroCaribbean great grandmother. I AM THEM. I am so proud of my heritage – as proud as I am of being a librarian.

I must recognize my mother, Doña Febo, a librarian, who taught me the importance of intellectual freedom and the right of everyone to access information. She would let me read anything I wanted. My father, Don Garcia, showed me to be fearless, daring, atrevida, and shared his passion for communities with me.

I am humbled and honored to be in this position today, and look forward to working with you all.

See ALA Press Release in English and in Spanish.

Loida Garcia-Febo
Taking Action to Support Libraries

Recently, I was asked "How would you suport a national agenda for libraries in the current political climate?" Here is my response:

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I am a librarian of action. The proposed budget elimination of IMLS, cuts to NEH and NEA, and library funding coming from other sources such as the Department of Education and the Department of Labor, would directly impact real people from our communities including women, children, first-generation college students, job seekers, newcomers, and persons with disabilities. They visit our libraries with their families every day. Services provided by all types of libraries would be decimated. I will stand up to those threatening our core values and the elimination of library services. We, our great team of almost 56,000 ALA members will rally for libraries together along with millions of library friends and advocates across this country. 

My Vision for ALA includes an association that will be the leading voice advocating for libraries and library users while maintaining our core values. ALA will have a place and a voice at the decision makers’ table, particularly for those in our communities with no voice. We will amplify their concerns to Congress, at the state house, in city councils, and school boards. ALA will build coalitions with like-minded partners sharing our values. ALA will advance our concerns through actions conveyed by pillars of ALA’s Strategic Plan: Advocacy, Information Policies, Professional and Leadership Development, and Diversity and Inclusion.

Together we can bring change. I am bringing my passion for our communities and my experience advocating for libraries. I have spoken at events and discussed public policy at the United Nations with Member States (countries), with Congressmen in Washington DC, given testimony in my city at NYC City Hall, advocated for libraries at the NY State Senate, and also on the streets and sidewalks of NYC. I am comfortable advocating for our freedoms and core values everywhere. 

Together, working with ALA members we can build capacity for advocacy through education.  Replicating online advocacy events I have coordinated with teams in partnership with REFORMA, Office for Library Advocacy, and the ALA Washington Office to provide library services to all in the community will be key to build capacity for advocacy through education. I am also bringing my experience training librarians in different regions of the world including Asia, Africa, and Latin America & the Caribbean on advocacy, human rights, and the right of everyone to access information, and freedom of speech.

The ALA Boot Camp presented by the offices of Library Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom represents an opportunity to reach ALA chapters and members advocating for libraries at state level. We need to expand this model that can help us to build capacity for advocacy through education.

Every library worker is an advocate. Together, we can bring change advocating for services for all in our communities, equity, diversity, inclusion, information policies, funding, awareness about the value of libraries, and position librarians as leaders. We must use multiple online and in-person platforms to advocate for libraries and grow advocate leaders.

A successful advocacy model we can replicate is the advocacy plan we followed when advocating for access to information and libraries at the United Nations (under the goal of Peace, Justice and Strong Societies/ Rule of Law). I worked with a global team from different regions of the globe. They were advocating for libraries with elected officials in their country (local level) while other colleagues and I were representing libraries at the United Nations, meeting with consults, elected officials, and in contact with the coordinator from the USA government to advance library concerns on national and international agendas. Efforts from colleagues at local levels were coordinated together with our efforts at the U.N. This was the best strategy to tackle both, national, and local officers.

Additionally, the strategy included meetings, letters, and communication with U.N. Member States, partnering with NGOs and civil society, presentation of informative panels at global library and non-library conferences including events at the U.N., and publication of articles highlighting the value of libraries on global and national media such as The Guardian.  As a result of this work, which covered various years and included a global team of library advocates, access to information was included in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals which is the document countries from the world will use to guide their development efforts. This is the first time Access to information was included in a document by the U.N., this was a huge and historic win for libraries. Countries will dedicate resources, infrastructure, and finances to implement the SDGs including access to information! Our library team was able to present a strong case to include access to information on the global and national agenda. I am very glad to have collaborated with a dedicated team to make it happen.

Partnerships with national and global organizations are going to strengthen our efforts against draconian executive orders and budget cuts. Building coalitions with like-minded national and global organizations sharing our values was a central part of our strategy. It included human rights organizations, academic associations, ethnic organizations, and national and global NGOs. We can replicate this successful model. Our core values will guide ALA to adopt public policy and to build broader coalitions with national and global value-sharing partners.

I believe, together, our great ALA team can fight for libraries to keep them open, recruit and retain our library and information workers, and restore budgets.

Loida Garcia-Febo
Supporting School Librarians

As a former school librarian and as the daughter of a school librarian (my mother was a school librarian for 33 years), I understand the tough times our public school librarians have advocating to recruit and retain certified librarians, fighting for funds and to keep libraries open. School libraries are at the center of lifelong learning. We need to embed diversity and services to diverse populations in our school libraries which are serving ever-increasing multiethnic populations across the nation. School libraries and school librarians are very important and deserve to be treated as such.

As ALA President, I will seek to work with AASL, the Office for Library Advocacy, the Public Information Office and other ALA units to strengthen efforts already in place to promote the value of school libraries and school librarians, and to recruit certified librarians. We need a nationwide campaign to promote the value of school librarians. We need to amplify the message to Congress, state senate, city councils and school boards. We can expand the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign to include the value of school librarians. This needs to be communicated to all different stakeholders: elected officials, county leaders, civil society organizations. We need to develop online advocacy materials and online trainings to reach school librarians nationwide. 

I believe that we need to engage everyone in our advocacy efforts including school principals, teachers, community members, trustees and boards. We need to seek to partner with different like-minded organizations sharing our core values supporting our library agenda. I shared my vision for ALA when I spoke to school librarians during the ALA Midwinter Conference and I believe that together, we can bring the change we need to make this happen and benefit our school libraries and librarians.

Loida Garcia-Febo
Interviews & Questions from Library Associations
Loida Garcia-Febo
Loida Garcia-Febo: Librarian

I am a library and information professional who is passionate about working with diverse communities. I believe that libraries and librarians have the power to save and enrich lives. My passion to make an impact on society stems from my personal desire to save lives.

During my graduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, I was introduced to the power that libraries have on communities. I was fortunate to work as an elementary school librarian providing library instruction, homework help, storytelling and programs, and training for the faculty.

I later began working at the Centro de Informacion (PRATP) of the Unidad de Servicios Bibliotecarios para Personas con Impedimentos (SBPI) [Library Services for Persons with Disabilities’ Assistive Technology Information Center]. While at PRATP, I was responsible for acquiring and cataloguing printed materials and objects that served persons with disabilities. Months after I started my work, the chief went on maternity leave and in her absence I became the acting chief. In this capacity, I was responsible for the annual reports, staff evaluations, and the overall management of the service. Seeking to expand my career, I moved to a job serving Latinos and Spanish speakers at Queens Library in New York. In addition to creating programs and services for this large segment of the Queens community, I also developed health-related programs and services for the homeless, incarcerated, multilingual populations, older adults, and job seekers.   

I have been fortunate to have consulted for libraries throughout my entire career. During the past years, I’ve been focusing, full-time, into expanding my consulting to include not-for-profit organizations. It has been a humbling experience to provide advice, strategize ways to provide access to information, creation of information resources, reference, and also work one-on-one in communities helping homeless populations, multilingual diverse populations, people that have lost houses and belongings due to natural phenomenon, and with victims of different types of abuse. That is where my main passion is. I love to work with all librarians, and my heart is with library services to communities served by academic, public, school and special libraries.

I have learned that access to information can save and enrich lives. Librarians from different fields are instrumental to help people understand how to find, analyze and use information to improve their finances, monitor their health, find jobs, and obtain basic services such as housing, school and medical care. Empowering communities is a noble cause that I, as a librarian, embrace with all my being. I love the work I do in different arenas, advocating for libraries at the United Nations, doing grassroots advocacy, and also working through the night to help homeless or abused women. I love being a librarian. Together, we can bring change!