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Mónica García Olvera, Library

Meet the Biblioteca
By Karla Ortiz

Originally from San Luis Potosí, Mónica is a newer member of the library. At the age of 27, she has passed through many obstacles that led her to end up working here.

As a child Monica liked to play with her brother and cousins, and she loved video games. Her love of reading began at the age of 11, when her 6th grade teacher asked the class to bring a book to form their first library. Her father bought her The Diary of Anne Frank, a book that Mónica fell in love with, and after finishing it, she continued reading the books of her classmates, until she finished all of them.

Her father had many, so she began to devour all the books at home. When she grew older and went to high school, she went to the library and read all the books that captured her attention. She applied for a degree in nutrition at the university, but once the results came out in the newspaper, she saw that she hadn’t been selected. She noticed a section with careers that had openings. Among them was library science. This caught her attention, and she applied for the degree. At first she did it only to study something. If she didn’t like it after a year, she would go out and try again for a degree in nutrition. The year passed, and Mónica loved her career, so she decided to finish her degree. It was a challenge for her because she had moments of doubt about staying in that field. In the end, her classmates, her subjects, and her love of the human side and taking reading to communities or people of scarce resources made her decide that was her destiny. She continued learning. In 2012 she will graduate and begin her struggle to find a place to work, which in these times is complicated even for engineers. Recent graduates encounter obstacles such as their inexperience and age. Mónica has found opportunity in jobs that were not in her field, such as commercial enterprises and administrative assistant. With determination and eagerness to get ahead, she continued searching. One day she saw information about the vacancy at La Biblioteca and, after thinking about all the effort and expense she had put into her bachelor’s degree, she was encouraged to apply and submit her curriculum vitae. When she showed up for an interview, she noticed that the atmosphere was very calm, and she felt that it was a good opportunity. Three days after the interview she was called and asked if she would be willing to live in San Miguel. Without hesitation she packed her bags and started looking for a place to rent.

It’s never easy to leave home and start from zero, meeting new people, paying rent, getting home, preparing dinner, and eating alone. It’s a nightmare that can only be overcome with time, another of the challenges she had to face. However, Mónica didn’t feel the change suddenly. Her sister spent five months living with her, and the pressure to live alone was less. After her sister left, she began to feel the reality of being alone, but she stayed strong. What kept her going was to think about the great opportunity that had presented itself, and now with video calls and text messages at any time, she feels the presence of her parents and siblings. Her work and schedule do not allow her to visit her family constantly, but occasionally she takes a break, even just to say hello.

At first her work was complicated because it wasn’t the same as what she had learned at school. The processes of organizing and classifying the books were different here, but little by little she was learning. Now she can tell us exactly what she does from day to day: her work consists of processing all incoming books for the library and for donation, sale, or bodega de sorpresas. She has to catalog, print labels and barcodes, and download the information from each book into the system so that people can find the books in the catalogs. Books that arrive badly damaged or are too old must be separated for recycling. If the books are very old or have some value, they are stored in a plastic bag to protect them from dust.

Mónica supports her coworkers in the various rooms. She covers the reception desk for two hours a day at lunchtime. Basically, she does a little of everything.

The question any reader might ask of Monica is her top three books. Mónica is very fond of The Diary of Anne Frank, because this book started her interest in reading and marked her destiny. Independently of all the criticisms and controversies that the book has suffered, she considers the story interesting. The Story Without End is one of the books that has attracted her attention, mostly because of the plot that develops in a world of fantasy. Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, a medieval mystery novel, became part of her list of favorites. Although she would like to buy many books, but instead she takes them out of the library.

Like any young woman, Mónica has aspirations to take advantage of what her work offers and to continue learning and generating more experience in her area to grow professionally. She would also like to study for a master’s degree related to her career or her interest in art history. She would like to travel to Berlin and learn about its history, related to the social problems and the wall that was once built to separate the Federal Republic from the capital of the Democratic Republic of Germany during the Cold War period.

Mónica, as a lover of reading, calls on young people to venture into this world where fantasy or fiction takes you to places never seen before and to get to know other lives that can only be reached through imagination. She would like to invite everyone to get away from reality for a while and get into other worlds by picking up a book.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The one who never reads, lives only one.” George R. R. Martin



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