“Don’t forget the magnificent sweep of the imagination and dreams of youth; when a boy comes only to a man’s shoulders, his dreams are tall. Through all the hardships and heartbreaks, these dreams often become realities.”- https://annabrones.com/2020/02/07/pura-belpre/
We honor the impact of Pura Belpré, the revolutionary librarian, storyteller, and puppeteer at the Education Library through a display and featured book on our Social Justice Book Gallery. Belpré was the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library where she started at the 135th St Branch (now Countee Cullen Regional Branch). There she would tell stories, including her now classic “Peréz y Martina”, in both Spanish and English. She used her tales and advocacy to introduce Puerto Rican children’s folklore to the library system and surrounding communities. She championed several library and outreach programs that ushered in the Puerto Rican and other Hispanic communities into the library. Through her work with the South Bronx Library Project at the 115th St. Branch, the library became a hub for New York’s Spanish-speaking community. Throughout her career, Belpré advocated for Spanish-speaking children and bilingual books as well as the self-identification of Puerto Rican individuals. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award which celebrates Latinx authors and illustrators for which Pura Belpré’s legacy has paved.
(Source: Hernández-Delgado, Julio L. “Pura Teresa Belpre, Storyteller and Pioneer Puerto Rican Librarian.” Library Quarterly, vol. 62, no. 4, Oct. 1992, pp. 425–440. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1086/602497.)
Written by Tyana Hendricks with Contributions by Christina Jones