Student Frances Marin Brings Reading Alive With Art

Community Profile

Frances Marin, one of 13 participants in the Librarians for Tomorrow program at SJSU, draws on her lifelong love of visual arts to “help bring literacy alive” for children and young adults.

Marin, who expects to graduate with her MLIS degree in spring 2010, teaches art classes to groups ranging from preschoolers to high school continuation students with grants from the Arts Council Silicon Valley. Her art classes often focus on projects that reinforce the students’ reading curriculum, such as creating book covers.

“I enjoy teaching art to young people” said Marin, who plans to work in a public library after graduation, and is considering specializing in children’s or young adult services. “With art, a lot of people think that there’s a right or wrong way to do it. While there are technical aspects, one of the things I enjoy about art is that there isn’t a right way and everyone can do it. It’s a matter of problem solving and knowing when to say it’s done.”

Marin also works part time as a page at King Library, which is the main branch of the San José Public Library system. Marin is fascinated with the library’s focus on having its branches serve as community centers, including offering exercise and cooking courses. She’s currently volunteering with Veggielution, an urban farming project in east San José, and would like to someday incorporate community gardening at libraries. “I’m really interested in how libraries can continue to push those boundaries,” she said.

Marin is currently taking a full MLIS course load, teaching art classes, and working at King Library, which doesn’t leave a lot of spare time. However, Marin, who speaks conversational Spanish, recently traveled with her father to visit family in Costa Rica. She has also explored Mexico, Belgium and France. Marin loves to hike and camp, spending two weeks last summer in the Pacific Northwest, including Olympic National Park and Squamish, B.C. outside of Vancouver. She counts Haruki Murakami among her favorite authors and is currently reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal Vegetable Miracle,” about Kingsolver’s year eating home-grown food.

The Librarians for Tomorrow program provides MLIS students with tuition scholarships, mentoring, and the opportunity to network with inspirational library leaders.The program is made possible by grant funds received by the SJSU library, in partnership with San José State University School of Information, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Using grant funds, SJSU is partnering with the San José Public Library and the National Hispanic University to recruit librarians from diverse backgrounds, and then provide them with financial assistance and other support as they earn their MLIS degree.