Poets Network & Exchange Shines the Spotlight on Michael Alvarez

Associate Directors

In January, 2018 I had a welcomed opportunity to interview  Bronx Book Fair Planning Committee member Michael Alvarez.

Michael​ ​Alvarez​ works in the Bronx, where he is currently the Associate Director for the Central Bronx Community Branches of The New York Public Library. A supporter and facilitator of literacy, lifelong learning and community engagement. He is a founding member of the Bronx Book Fair Committee. With more than 30 years of experience in public service with The New York Public Library, Michael has served the public, primarily in the Bronx and Manhattan in a variety of professional roles from Librarian, Library Manager, and Chief Librarian to Associate Director. He is a leader who is passionate about working with his colleagues in promoting the vast collections, educational programs and services that are expertly and freely offered by the staff at each of the branches of The New York Public Library.

What​ ​brought​ ​you​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​Book​ ​Fair?
As​ ​the​ ​then,​ ​Chief​ ​Librarian​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​Library​ ​Center,​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​Book​ ​Fair​ ​
in its​ ​infancy​ ​came​ ​to​ ​us,​ ​that is (the brain parents Americo Casiano and Ron
Kavanaugh) looking​ ​for​ ​a​ ​venue​ ​and​ ​the​ ​rest,​ ​as​ ​they​ ​say​ ​is​ ​history.​ ​ ​I​ ​am happy
each​ ​year​ ​not​ ​only​ ​to​ ​be​ ​the​ ​host​ ​venue​ ​but​ ​to​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​the​ ​year​ ​long
planning​ ​of​ ​the​ ​book​ ​fair.​ ​

What​ ​are​ ​you​ ​most​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​Book​ ​Fair?
I​ ​am​ ​very​ ​excited​ ​about​ ​the​ ​upcoming​ ​7​th​ ​Bronx​ ​Book​ ​Fair,​ ​as​ ​we​ ​are​ ​in​ ​the​ ​process of​ ​arranging​ ​several​ ​panel​ ​discussions​ ​and​ ​programs​ ​for​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​
ages.​ ​A​ ​few​ ​of these​ ​include:​ ​how​ ​to​ ​get​ ​published​ ​and​ ​reading​ ​recommendations​ ​for​ ​different​ ​age groups.

What​ ​would​ ​you​ ​like​ ​attendees​ ​to​ ​take​ ​away​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​Book​ ​Fair​ ​
and​ ​the 
Bronx​ ​Library​ ​Center?
Attendance​ ​to​ ​these​ ​fairs​ ​has​ ​steadily​ ​grown​ ​over​ ​the​ ​years.​ ​ ​The​ ​expectation​ ​is​ ​that attendees​ ​will​ ​get​ ​a​ ​chance​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​others​ ​while​ ​they​ ​actively​ ​participate​ ​in the​ ​programs.​ ​ ​The​ ​culture​ ​of​ ​reading​ ​is​ ​heavily​ ​promoted​ ​at​ ​this​ ​event.​ ​ ​My​ ​desire is​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​that​ ​is​ ​visiting​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​Library​ ​Center​ ​for​ ​the​ ​very​ ​first​ ​time​ ​to feel​ ​welcomed​ ​and​ ​have​ ​access​ ​to​ ​the​ ​rich​ ​resources​ ​on​ ​each​ ​of​ ​the​ ​six​ ​floors​ ​of​ ​the Center!

Does​ ​the​ ​Bronx​ ​play​ ​a​ ​role​ ​in​ ​your​ ​work/educational/cultural​ ​life?​
​If​ ​yes,​ ​please 
explain.
In​ ​my​ ​current​ ​professional​ ​role,​ ​I​ ​oversee​ ​12​ ​of​ ​the​ ​vibrant​ ​Libraries​ ​of​ ​the​ ​
Central Bronx.​ ​ ​As​ ​such,​ ​I​ ​have​ ​the​ ​pleasure​ ​of​ ​spending​ ​a​ ​great​ ​of​ ​time​ ​in​ ​this​ ​borough​ ​and seeing​ ​first-hand​ ​how​ ​the​ ​New​ ​York​ ​Public​ ​Library​ ​is​ ​impacting​ ​
lives:​ ​Early​ ​literacy instruction,​ ​Coding​ ​for​ ​teens,​ ​Adult​ ​Basic​ ​Education,​ ​Career​ ​Assistance,​ ​English​ ​for speakers​ ​of​ ​other​ ​languages​ ​and​ ​much,​ ​much​ ​more.

Please​ ​tell​ ​us​ ​about​ ​any​ ​current​ ​or​ ​upcoming​ ​projects​ ​you​ ​are​ ​working​ ​on​
​that​ ​we 
can​ ​look​ ​forward​ ​to.
Mentoring​ ​ at the ​ ​Library​ ​is​ ​currently​ ​being​ ​offered​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Mott​ ​Haven​ ​Library
​in the​ ​South​ ​Bronx.​ ​ ​This​ ​free​ ​program​ ​is​ ​provided​ ​for​ ​high​school ​ ​students​ ​with​
​a focus​ ​on​ ​College​ ​Readiness​ ​and​ ​Career​ ​Preparedness.

Launched in 2013, the Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the community of poets and writers in the Bronx and to connecting those literary artists to readers and book lovers of all ages. Through readings, workshops, and presentations. Our goal is to engage the community with a variety of literature and programs that will broaden access to Bronx literary artists, increase library usage, and encourage a love of books and reading.

The Bronx Book Fair takes place May 5, 2018 at the Bronx Library Center from 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM and is free and open to the public. Visit the BBF website
for updates at https://www.bronxbookfair.com.

©Lorraine Currelley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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