Youth Services Outreach Librarian Olga Cardenas has been recognized by the American Library Association with a 2016 I Love My Librarian Award. She is one of only 10 librarians in the country to receive this national honor. Cardenas is recognized for her exceptional contributions to the community and ongoing commitment to transforming lives through education and lifelong learning.
Cardenas is commended for reaching beyond the walls of the library to deliver valuable library programs and services to underserved residents. As youth services outreach librarian, a position created less than 18 months ago, Cardenas has bridged barriers for families by engaging with parents in English and Spanish where they live, work, and pray. This innovative approach to family engagement is highly effective, leading to new partnerships between the library and businesses, service organizations, and schools.
With her visits to Juvenile Hall and the Juvenile Commitment Center, Cardenas connects with incarcerated youth through her passion for books and reading. She has visited agricultural and industrial workplaces, apartment complexes, and community events, distributing free books, issuing library cards and offering tips on how to incorporate reading into daily life. Through a twice weekly Pop-Up Library at the county's Women Infants and Children nutrition program, she offers library services right at the WIC office, and shares techniques parents can use to enhance their children's early learning and development.
Cardenas has worked at the Stanislaus County Library for more than 10 years, having held various positions at the Patterson, Turlock, Oakdale, and Modesto Libraries. The Friends of the Modesto Library nominated her for the prestigious I Love My Librarian Award because of her demonstrated commitment to sharing the love of reading and lifelong learning.