Elizabeth Negrete Gaylor | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

As a Mexican American child whose mother spoke only Spanish to her until she was three, Elizabeth Negrete Gaylor discovered her local library when her ESL teacher encouraged her to go there for more reading material. “To me [it] was a wondrous place that had infinite possibilities,” she says. Now she strives to create such possibilities for her patrons as literacy and outreach librarian at the Ardmore Public Library (APL).
Elizabeth Negrete Gaylor

CURRENT POSITION

Literacy and Outreach Librarian, Ardmore Public Library, OK

DEGREE

MLIS, University of Oklahoma, 2017

HONORS

ALA Spectrum Scholar, REFORMA Scholarship, both 2015

Photo by Douglas Gritzmacher

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Back-to-School Equity

As a Mexican American child whose mother spoke only Spanish to her until she was three, Elizabeth Negrete Gaylor discovered her local library when her ESL teacher encouraged her to go there for more reading material. “To me [it] was a wondrous place that had infinite possibilities,” she says. Now she strives to create such possibilities for her patrons as literacy and outreach librarian at the Ardmore Public Library (APL).

Negrete Gaylor was instrumental in founding the Ardmore Literacy Leadership (ALL) Coalition, of which she is board chair. ALL has brought together 14 partner agencies “that work to grow educational and literacy initiatives in and around Ardmore,” says library director Daniel Gibbs.

With nearly 80 percent of area children qualifying for free school lunch, Negrete Gaylor knew that “many lacked basic essentials…for a successful school year.” To that end, in August 2015, ALL helped launch the library’s first back-to-school Literacy Day, which provides school supplies; haircuts; dental, eye, and hearing screenings; immunization reviews; and more. The event grew from 350 participants to more than 900 attendees in 2017. “My mother needed programs like this to get me ready for school,” says Negrete Gaylor. “This is my opportunity to pay it forward and help ensure that all kids have an equal opportunity for school success.”

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