What Public Libraries Do – Part I

A new picture book, Dreamers  by Yuyi Morales relate the story of the author’s move to the United States, but is also an inspirational tribute to the value that Public Libraries add to a community. Imagine the power of coming to a new country and discovering a world of books that can be explored and even checked out free of charge! Morales shares these two powerful statements in the author’s note at the end of the story. “One of the most important things I learned at the library is that through books we can find our path and our purpose. . . Kelly and I were Dreamers in the sense that all immigrants are Dreamers: we enter a new country carried by hopes and dreams, and carrying our own special gifts, to build a better future.”

Reading this beautiful book reminded me of two other inspiring picture books that highlight the services Public Libraries have provided for immigrants through the decades.

Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora


Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora relates the true story of a special relationship between a librarian and the son of migrant farm workers. Tomas Rivera went on to become the first minority Chancellor of the University of California at Riverside.






The Storyteller's Candle by Lucia Gonzalez


The Storyteller’s Candle by Lucia M. Gonzalez introduces Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian hired by the New York Public Library system. This warmhearted Spanish/English bilingual story adopts the perspectives of two children who are inspired by Belpre to enter a library for the very first time. There is now an annual award given by the American Library Association named for Pura Belpre; the award honors outstanding authors and illustrators who portray Latino culture in books for children.