Me [answering phone]: “Thanks for calling the library, how may I help you?”
Man [clearly upset]: “I just left there and my order was all wrong! I asked for a shot of espresso, which I didn’t get, and THE COFFEE IS ALREADY COLD! I can’t believe you charge $4.75 for this. I wouldn’t pay even $.50 for it. What kind of coffee shop is this?!”
Me: “This is the library.”
Patron: “OH MY GOD, I’m so sorry!”
Photo: Josefina del Toro, reading and annotating El Mundo newspaper. April 8, 1973 from the Puerto Rican Digital Library Collection
Submitted by Sujei Lugo, doctoral student at GSLIS Simmons College and former librarian at the University of Puerto Rico.
Josefina del Toro Fulladosa (1901-1975) was the first Puerto Rican woman to obtain a library degree, the first female library school professor in Puerto Rico and the first female director of the University of Puerto Rico General Library. Her accomplishments during a 44-year career place her as one of the most important figures in Puerto Rican librarianship.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, del Toro Fulladosa received her bachelor degree in Library Science from Simmons College in 1925, becoming their first Puerto Rican graduate. She returned to Puerto Rico and started working as an Assistant Librarian at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Río Piedras (the oldest campus of the public higher education system in Puerto Rico). Del Toro Fulladosa wanted to pursue graduate studies, a reason that drove her to apply for a work leave to continue her studies abroad. In 1938 she received a Master’s in Library Science from Columbia University, New York, where she wrote her thesis: Spanish American Biography.
TeenThe Teens are using libraries, but just 33% of libraries have a teen librarian—down from 55%. Recession bad for teen services. #splyels— Hayden Bass (@librarianista)March 5, 2014
— YALSA (@yalsa)March 5, 2014
Why are stories important? Because their narratives reflect fundamental truths about our lives. They entertain us, yes, but at their best they illuminate, teach and redefine us. Stories don’t exist outside of societal concerns, they are entirely a part of them: they are the green shoots off of a sturdy limb. So when the stories we validate with attention and praise all happen to grow off of one relatively small branch of a huge, beautiful tree, we are obscuring the reality of the world we all live in. We’re actively avoiding the things that stories do uniquely well. Even worse, by denying light to the other branches of this tree, we’re making it harder for those stories (the stories of the majority of people in the world!) to survive.
In no way is the fact that work by women is showing up more frequently on the NBA list or in the Paris Review or in Tin House a reflection of improvement or progress in the women’s work. It’s not the work of the NBA to pat those women on the back and tell them congratulations, that their work is finally good enough to be par with the work of men. It’s an excellent, worthwhile observation to make about this facet of literary history that women have earned equal — even a little beyond equal — representation in NBA recognition, but it’s in no way indicative of the quality of women doing the work, nor is it indicative of the quality of the work itself. It’s indicative instead of an industry, and perhaps NBA committees, paying more attention to work that has always been overlooked, underappreciated, and under marketed.
[…]Women’s work has always been awesome, just as the work written by people of color, minorities, and other classes of people who aren’t white men has been. The work of white men has been awesome, too, but it has benefitted from a system where their work has been assumed awesome, rather than graciously granted the chance to be awesome. The NBA improvements are, perhaps, in part because that fee guarantees that certain books are read and considered. That they have an equal place at the table.