| Herrera Leads Public Library into the Future
By Nicole Cuadra Apr 14, 2007
Known for his easy manner, strong communication skills, and commitment to public service, City Librarian Luis Herrera is presiding over a library renaissance in San Francisco. Last year, the San Francisco Public Library opened its first new branch in 40 years, and is currently in the midst of an ambitious capital improvement program to replace four branches and restore and renovate 19 others. Excelsior, Mission Bay and West Portal were the first branches completed under this plan, with the Sunset, Marina, Glen Park and Noe Valley neighborhood libraries to follow this year. The Main Library is also undergoing a significant renovation to the first floor that will improve access to more books, media and computer technology.
City Librarian Luis Herrera
Luis Herrera came to SFPL in early 2005, joining Carmen Martinez in Oakland and Ben Ocón in San Mateo to create a triumvirate of Latinos heading up major Bay Area libraries. “I'm very proud to be the first Latino City Librarian in San Francisco. My goal is to reach out to all residents and segments of our community and to reflect the city's rich diversity through programs and services offered through the library.” Proud of his heritage, Herrera is a former president of REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.
“My training as a bilingual/bicultural librarian instilled in me the passion to serve communities where libraries can make a difference in providing relevant information, books in languages that reflect our culture, and programs that honor our heritage,” said Herrera.
Herrera likes to talk about the Mission Branch which is located in the heart of the Mission district and serves a large Spanish speaking population. “The Mission Branch is one of the best examples of how the library can make a difference in people's lives. Through strong community outreach, Mission's dedicated staff offers programs ranging from classes in computer skills and book discussions in Spanish, to a broad array of programs for children.”
Herrera came to San Francisco from Pasadena, California where he was Director of Information Services. Aside from being an active Reformista, Herrera is also past president of both the California Library Association and the Public Library Association. It was in fact Herrera's experienced leadership that made him the ideal person to head SFPL. “Throughout my 30 year career, I have been fortunate to work in libraries in numerous California cities including Long Beach, San Diego and Pasadena, but the support for libraries in San Francisco is unrivaled.”
Herrera's goals for the coming year are to develop a stronger working relationship with the San Francisco Unified School District to enhance library programs that support student success. Examples of the partnership with SFUSD include an outreach campaign to ensure that all youth in San Francisco have a library card, promoting the library's on-line homework help program, and working with teachers to raise awareness of the resources that the public library has to offer. Herrera's vision is to build a community of readers among San Francisco's youth and to ensure that San Francisco has one of the best public libraries in the country.
The Mission Branch Library is located at 300 Bartlett St., at 24th Street between Mission and Valencia. Call (415) 355-2828 for specific hours.
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