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Library & Information Science Success Stories

Iris Cotto '06LS

Iris Cotto '06LS
Title: Children's Librarian, Worcester Public Library (Worcester, Massachusetts)

If you look up "children's librarian" in the dictionary, you may very well see a picture that resembles Iris Cotto. She's the complete "child-friendly" package—kind eyes, bright smile, petite stature, and big heart. She's devoted to enriching the lives of children and their families through her work as a children's librarian at the Worcester Public Library (WPL).

As the city's first Latina librarian, Cotto also feels a sense of responsibility for representing the WPL to the Spanish community and to other cultural groups. "I want Hispanics and other cultural communities in the city to know the library is here for them. Libraries are public places where everyone should feel comfortable." Cotto recently worked with the Worcester Public Schools to have library card applications translated into eight different languages, and she is responsible for securing diverse library materials in the arts, technology, world languages, and movies for the children's room. "I've done outreach presentations at the library for families and their children who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, and African languages. The more we can represent the library and its services to non-traditional visitors, the more we can encourage them to consider a relationship with the library that o¤ers literacy assistance, access to information, and literary enjoyment."

A professional with 25 years of experience, Cotto says GSLIS broadened her ideas about being a librarian and about the level of service she provides. "GSLIS exposed me to the importance of the work I do as a librarian and to new developments in my field. I have a greater sense of worth about my career and feel more passionate about my responsibilities. I now feel that I owe it to our patrons to be resourceful, accurate, and helpful."