Meet the PLA Board

Meet Ramiro S. Salazar, President

Ramiro Salazar poses with “Smarty,” the San Antonio Public Library mascotI’ve had the honor of leading the San Antonio (TX) Public Library as its director since April 2005. Prior to that, I was the director of the Dallas Public Library and the El Paso Public Library. It's hard to imagine that I've been working in public libraries for close to 40 years. Throughout my professional career I’ve experienced and seen first-hand the evolution of public libraries. I still remember when the card catalog used to be the place to check the holdings of the library. I even remember checking out books manually. I have a deep-rooted passion for serving public libraries and have been fortunate to experience many accomplishments throughout my career. I’m most proud of the establishment of the new Latino Collection and Resource Center at the San Antonio Public Library’s Central Library. This Center serves as a cultural destination to learn about the contributions of Latinos across the U.S.

Why I wanted to serve on the PLA Board

I have devoted my career to making a difference at the local level and am now ready to embrace a broader role by serving at the national level. I feel joining the PLA Board will give me the opportunity to impact the library profession and, more specifically, public libraries in a direct and meaningful way. Public libraries are critical to advancing the democratic principles of our country. Preserving this key role of libraries has become even more important in our current highly divisive political era.

My vision for the future of public libraries

Libraries will continue to be more than a depository of books. I view libraries in the future as a welcoming place where folks from all walks of life can gather, join, connect, interact, participate, and be enlightened by the resources and services the library has to offer. This, in turn, will enrich people's lives and open opportunities for them. Libraries will continue to provide invaluable tools for building prosperity, confronting personal and global challenges, instilling creativity and innovation and serving as a safe gathering place for families and friends to meet and celebrate their cultural and civic lives.

My favorite book

I have several favorite books, so I will share three top choices. I read the Ernest Hemingway classic The Old Man and the Sea in middle school as a school project, and the imagery in that story has always stayed with me. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is another classic that resonates even today. Also, I love Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child by Elva Treviño Hart because the book describes a small Texas town similar to where I grew up. The author’s depiction of social and cultural experiences resonates with me on a personal level.

Somewhere I love to frequent in my community

My wife and I are advocates and supporters of the arts, and we enjoy frequenting the various art galleries, museums and public art exhibits in our community. Playing golf and fishing are two of my favorite extracurricular activities, so I enjoy very much experiencing the various golf courses and lakes in this area.

Photo: Ramiro Salazar poses with “Smarty,” the San Antonio Public Library mascot.