February 17, 2018

Sandra Tauler | Movers & Shakers 2005

Mi Casa Es Su Casa


Sandra Tauler has tailored her collection and services to the needs of a community that is 97 percent Hispanic. Unfortunately, that’s only half the job. The other half is getting potential users through the door. “The public library is not a staple of everyday life in Mexico, where libraries have traditionally been used only by university students,” says Tauler. “Our community has many Spanish-speaking residents who think we are a bookstore and charge for books and services.”

How do you make people believe the library is theirs? The solution Tauler and other Imperial Valley librarians came up with was Proyecto Televista. With LSTA funding, and the assistance of local Spanish-language media networks, Tauler and her colleagues got well-known Hispanic celebrities to participate in a series of interactive videoconferences. Local affiliates not only helped them make the necessary contacts but also publicized the teleconferences.

The programs, shown in four area libraries, have attracted hundreds of viewers. Tauler’s figures show that first-time library visitors made up at least a quarter of each audience. Once they’re in her building, Tauler shows them the library’s Spanish-language materials and services, e.g., Internet classes and English-language literacy programs. Carla Lehn, of the California State Library, says, “A follow-up telephone survey of participants indicated 90 percent awareness that free Spanish-language materials and services are available at the library and that 50 percent of first-time users returned after their first visit.”

Tauler knows these issues aren’t hers alone; she’s been building partnerships with other valley librarians for several years. “We work together to help each other out,” she says, “but mostly it’s to maximize the bang for our bucks. We reach greater audiences if we do joint advertising and outreach.”

Tauler remembers those who made her feel important and capable when she was growing up in Calexico, and says, “That’s what I want to do for others.” By making the library everyone’s library, she’s doing that.



Current Position City Librarian, Calexico, CA, and Adjunct Faculty and Reference Librarian, Imperial Valley College, Calexico

Degree MLS, University of California at Los Angeles, 1989

Credo A movie without popcorn hardly qualifies as a movie at all