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I’m Giving Back …. It’s a Great Place to Be

Araceli hiking in Kauai

Araceli Acosta is the library story time lady we all wish we’d had as kids.

Acosta, a youth services outreach specialist at the Beaverton City Library, can be found on the library’s YouTube channel, entertaining Spanish-speaking children with her animated singing, and readings of favorites like “La oruga muy impaciente” and “Un elefante se columpiaba.”

The secret to her infectious videos? “I pick books that make me laugh and that I enjoy reading. The first thing kiddos will notice is whether or not you really like the book you’re reading to them.”

Araceli’s work with libraries began 13 years ago as a volunteer at the Hillsboro Shute Park library. Since then, she’s found opportunities in several of Washington County libraries, including Cornelius, North Plains, WCCLS and her current position at Beaverton.

“My one goal has always been to work with youth. And once I saw all the wonderful things libraries do for youth… I knew I’d found my place.”

Through her outreach she supports and shares early literacy practices with monthly visits to Pre-K and Head Start sites in the Beaverton area. It gives her particular satisfaction to “leave behind a bag of books that they can continue to enjoy.”

Preschoolers are her favorite age group, “They’re so talkative and imaginative.” She’s found her degree in psychology has come in handy for the background it’s given her in understanding youth development. “I got that degree because I wanted to help people and understand where they’re coming from.”

When she’s not entertaining and educating the children of Beaverton, Araceli enjoys time gathering and celebrating with family and friends and eating favorite foods like sopes, possole and enchiladas … and pizza.

“And the dancing … I love to dance,” Acosta says. She honed her skills when she was a teen, dancing merengue, cumbia and banda at weddings and quincean᷉eras.

She looks forward to when kids can return to the library. “I miss reading to families and children in person,” she says. Although she and her colleagues will be handing out books for children at free lunch sites during the summer, which taps into her passion for projects that promote equity and inclusion.

Asked about her future career goals, Araceli replies, “I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do. I’m giving back to the community who raised me and I’m working alongside people who are fun, kind and silly. It’s a great place to be.”