Laura Tadena

Laura Tadena

Laura (she/her/ella) is currently the Community Engagement Librarian at Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas. She says this position allows her to engage and build relationships with the community while also taking on exciting projects at the library. The position also builds upon her previous skills, ones that she had developed as a school librarian, Diversity Resident Librarian at the University of Texas, and the Library Management and Equity Consultant at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, with a chance for innovative leadership within an organization where the goals and mission aligned with her personal values.

She has also lived her personal values through her service. She was selected to participate in the American Library Association (ALA) 2023 class of Emerging Leaders. As part of her work, she is also the City of Austin’s Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) - Nature Smart Libraries strategy chair, which is a national initiative that seeks to create more equitable and abundant access to nature. Laura also contributes to the field by presenting, mentoring, and publishing in her field.

About her time in UNT’s Library Science program, Laura fondly remembers Dr. Daniella Smith’s classes as giving her realistic expectations about librarianship and providing skills that she could apply in her work. It was in Dr. Smith’s class that Laura learned about different library associations and groups that Laura could join, which later became instrumental resources that helped Laura grow her network and stay current with best practices in her area of work. Laura was especially grateful that most of her classes were online so that she could continue working while she finished the program. Laura also emphasizes that her biggest appreciation of UNT’s Library Science program was how intentional they were about embedding the UNT librarians into the different courses she took. Because of the program’s strong emphasis on citations and research, Laura felt confident in her ability to later teach those skills in her information literacy classes and publish academic literature and resources.

Her advice for current students is to get involved early to learn about the libraries through work and service, build a network, and take advantage of UNT resources. She says that the library science program and her experience through work and with library organizations gave her the courage to take on an MBA. In her MBA program, Laura is focusing on organizational development and management, which she hopes to build into her community development work and positively impact society.