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 7th 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 highschool 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.