SHSU Student Named ‘Librarian Of The Year’ By Texas Library Association
June 2, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
By Lidia Gutierrez
Sam Houston State University doctoral student Karina Quilantan-Garza received the 2022 Librarian of the Year Award from the Texas Library Association. This award, recently presented at TLA's annual conference in Fort Worth, recognizes a librarian who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and service within the library community.
“It feels surreal,” said Quilantan. “I commend all Texas librarians for their hard work and dedication to our profession. To represent the Texas Library Association and the entire state has been a very humbling experience.”
Quilantan has been a Texas educator for 12 years. She started her teaching career with Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District and has taught fifth to eighth grade. After earning her master’s in library science, she became the library media specialist at Jaime Escalante Middle School. Now, she is continuing her educational journey at SHSU by pursuing a doctorate in education with a concentration in instructional systems design and technology.
“When I was a classroom teacher, none of the campuses I worked for had a full-time certified librarian,” said Quilantan. “This was frustrating because I taught reading to bilingual students. It made me passionate about ensuring equitable access to language resources for my students. It was the best decision I ever made.”
Her passion as the library’s media specialist led her on a path to grow her digital expertise, creativity and technical skills. Her use of apps, websites, gaming, badging and other tools allowed her to successfully take her library completely digital and support students as they learned at home.
Quilantan uses platforms like Instagram to engage students and teachers with book recommendations, student work and community information.
“My professors and peers have been instrumental in helping me shape my philosophy of teaching and libraries,” said Quilantan. “Working alongside amazing professionals has been an integral part of the development of my academic identity. With the knowledge I have gained in my program, I am able to provide better library programs, effective professional development for my colleagues, and seek opportunities that align with my values.”
Quilantan plans to continue attending SHSU and become a role model in the Hispanic community.
“As a Hispanic woman, it is also important to me to set an example in my community that education is a gateway to limitless possibilities,” said Quilantan. “I am pursuing my doctoral degree in hope of becoming a university professor for library science or technology programs.”
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