“My path to librarianship was by no means traditional,” says Tonya Garcia, whose story is a testament to her dedication to her community. A high school dropout,she married young and was a full-time mother. “I knew poverty,” she says, “I knew what it was like to search for quarters to pay for a pack of diapers to last before the next paycheck.”
Across the country, more and more library systems are embracing their role as de facto matchmakers between social services and the people who need to access them by hiring social workers as staff. Sometimes, though, people who need to interact with these organizations don’t want to find out about them from traditional social workers, but from people who have dealt with them as users. That’s where the Denver Public Library (DPL) Peer Navigators come in.