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Bringing a Passion for Social Work and Different Cultures to Youth Services

Bringing a Passion for Social Work and Different Cultures to Youth Services

Jovanna Sardineta Cotero, Bilingual Youth Services Library Assistant, discusses her favorite part of the job, an exciting new book from a beloved author and a woman she admires.
Woman wearing glasses and a mask, holds up a children's book about soccer.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting some of our incredible staff who work diligently on the front line and behind the scenes to provide WCCLS patrons unmatched library services.

Meet Jovanna Sardineta Cotero, Bilingual Youth Services Library Assistant, who manages the Spanish Facebook page and translations services. She is responsible for Books for Kids, a program that supports in-home childcare providers with tubs of books and activity sheets for early childhood education. She creates themed kits for member libraries to use in their storytime or other youth programs; kits may include books, crafts and other activities. She also assists with outreach programs like summer reading and countywide book distribution. She acts as the point person for the annual Día (Children’s Day/Book Day) promotion and serves on the WCCLS safety committee. 

Before joining WCCLS in 2015, she worked at Hillsboro Public Library where she focused on youth services and outreach. She sat down to talk with the editor of this fine blog to chat about her passion for social work, favorite part of the job and interest in learning about other cultures. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

WCCLS: What inspired you to work for the library?

JSC: My background is in social work. When I was studying at Pacific University, I helped the janitors learn computer skills and they asked me about different services. I found resources at Forest Grove City Library. That’s when I learned that public libraries provide a lot of resources besides books for the community, and I passed that information to the janitors.

Social work is my passion, and I was able to apply those skills to working for the library. I was so excited when I learned there is a social worker available at Beaverton City Library on a regular basis.

WCCLS: What is your favorite part of your job?

JSC: My favorite part is that it’s always changing. I get to do crafts, send materials to the libraries, create kits for libraries to use. It’s a combination of providing information and fun activities. It’s never boring.

WCCLS: What are you currently reading?

JSC: I just got a new book by Isabel Allende called Violeta. I’m looking forward to it. I really like Isabel Allende. Her stories are a combination of magical realism and history. Her characters are relatable and their experiences are familiar to what other people are going through. Her work is powerful and always offers something new. 

WCCLS: What does a typical weekend look like for you?

JSC: I like to be with family or friends. I like to explore new places, dance and learn new things. Right now, I’m trying to learn Chinese through Coursera. (In addition to being fluent in English and Spanish, she speaks German, though she claims she’s rusty.) I’m also into Korean culture; it’s very similar to my culture. Like Mexican culture, Korean culture values family and respect for the elderly.

WCCLS: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

JSC: I want to do a tour of Japan and Korea and visit Canada again. I was planning to do it in 2021 but it was all canceled.

WCCLS: Who is a woman you admire? 

JSC: Jane Addams, she is considered the mother of social work in the U.S. She traveled to Europe where she saw how the system was helping underserved people. She fought for civil rights for immigrants and women.

More from our Women's History Month staff spotlights:

'Libraries Are at the Heart of Everything I Love'

Creating Order Out of Chaos

Too Much Fun