Natalie Hernandez, Raising Bookworms


Little notes are often found slipped into the pages of books in the Mission Bell Elementary School Library.

Natalie Hernandez, EMCC, reading to a TK class in the libraryOccasionally, I’ll find a note in the book saying,  ‘This book is really good,’ said Elementary Media Center Clerk Natalie Hernandez. “It …makes my heart cry a little because these kids really do love these books.​

Hernandez has served as the Mission Bell librarian for the past three years. The job includes storytelling, creativity, and most importantly, sharing a love of reading with students. Ms. Hernandez always gives her all because she knows the impact and importance of her role. 

For some, the school library may be the only place students can regularly access books.

“Reading takes precedence in everyone’s life,” she said. “If libraries aren’t in schools it's hard for these kids to get access to books. The public library might not be far to some people, but it might be far to… other people and they won’t have access,...but they all have access to school.”

She often reminds students, “This library is yours.”

Ms. Hernandez herself always loved reading. 

“I grew up reading. My dad used to not like when I read so much because he would ​buy me a book and I’d finish it within a day or two.”

Understanding the importance of nurturing that love of reading, Ms. Hernandez makes sure her door is always open so that students can exchange books regularly – and not just during bi-monthly library visits. Students are welcome before and after school and during lunch and recess.

“I have seen an increase this year of kids coming in during recess to exchange books, ” she said.

Natalie Hernandez, EMCC in a group picture with a TK class in the libraryThe cheerful library environment at Mission Bell includes a makerspace where students can do hands-on activities. Ms. Hernandez usually ties the activity in with a book.  A recent project, for example, included making “podiums” out of popsicle sticks and clay to emulate the type that Dr. King might have used while giving public speeches.

Ms. Hernandez said she loves “knowing that the stories that they’re reading teach a lesson and they can somewhat connect to a character in these books.”

“Literacy, for me, is a major important part in anyone’s life. I want to help bring that to the kids.”


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