Teacher of Dreams
Senior Librarian, Adult Services
Santa Ana Public Library, CA
MLIS, San José State University, CA, 2009
2011 Woman of the Year Award in Education, National Hispanic Business Women Association
Usted y Su Biblioteca (“You and Your Library”)
Photo c/o Milly Lugo
“Fifty-five is not only the age to become an AARP member,” says Santa Ana Public Library’s (SAPL) Milly Lugo, “but to widen your horizons and follow your dreams.” That’s what adult services librarian Lugo did in 2005, when she left behind her 20-year career as an executive assistant to get her MLIS. Since she joined SAPL in 2007, she’s made a point of helping Spanish-speaking adults follow their own dreams by gaining essential skills for living and working in the digital age.
Lugo developed a grant-funded “Words for Work” workshop to teach employment-related English and provided “English Works” self-directed learning kits to help students prepare for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Especially popular is the computer literacy class she created. Some 400 adults have completed the six-session workshop in the past four years, and more than 100 people are currently on the waiting list. To meet demand, Lugo says, “I have one colleague now in charge of monitoring the program, three volunteer instructors, two librarian instructors, and two volunteer teens as tutor assistants.”
Her signature workshop is Usted y Su Biblioteca (“You and Your Library”), a library literacy program for adult ESL students held at area schools that covers everything from English-language terminology like call number and fines to searching the online catalog. Each ESL class visits the library after the workshop to receive their library cards and take a tour. They often sign up their families, too: in 2011, the number of Hispanic library cardholders at Santa Ana increased by more than 4000.
Lugo “is committed to helping them become information literate lifelong learners,” says Patty Lopez, principal librarian in adult services at SAPL and Lugo’s supervisor. “It is a stepping stone for immigrant populations in their personal, economic, and professional growth.”
Lugo’s colleagues are taking notice, too. In 2011 she presented the Usted y Su Biblioteca model at the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA) General Conference and the California Library Association/California School Library Association conference.
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