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Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez
Tallahasseean Maria T. Chavez-Hernandez holds a PhD from Florida State University (FSU), and degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and University of Puerto Rico. She has been a working librarian in Puerto Rico, at FSU, and at Florida A&M University. Most recently, was the internship coordinator for the FSU School of Information Studies. A native Nicaraguan, Dr. Chavez-Hernandez has served that nation as a FAVACA Internet consultant. During her five-year FAVACA volunteer tenure, she has also consulted in Belize and the Dominican Republic. Her work in Belize, for St. John's College, involved streamlining and connecting multiple information repositories such as the National Library Service, improving Internet skills, and enhancing student access to information resources. In the Dominican Republic, she consulted with a national disaster management agency to develop a research center for scholars, community and government leaders. During her most recent mission to the Dominican Republic, she worked with children's learning and cultural centers and had the occasion to discuss her ideas with President Leonel Fernandez who indicated interest in further consultation with the national library service.
LIBRARY SCIENCE FOCUS OF DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TRAINING. Susane Done, Education Manager at Fundacion Sur Futuro requested FAVACA's assistance to follow up recommendations made by Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez in October 2005. Fundacion Sur Futuro's goal is to train its library staff on the importance of organization and classification of the literacy centers resources which are used mostly by youth and children. Advanced training in cataloging and classification areas were the focus to achieve by resources centers for managing their own operations independently of the foundation. Dr. Chavez-Hernandez returned to the Dominican Republic on May 28-June 3, 2006 to conduct the follow-up training where 14 participants benefited from her knowledge and expertise. The training focused on the benefits of implementing the MARC library records system and its importance for organizing information and reference services; identification of selected web sites for reference services; collaborating among library staff in the region; holding periodic staff meetings among library professionals, and having active Internet service connections available for use by staff and library patrons. Dr. Chavez-Hernandez is on the faculty of the School of Information Studies at Florida State University and also serves as the school's internship program coordinator.
FUNDACION SUR FUTURO BUILDS SUSTAINABLE PROGRAMS. Fundación Sur Futuro's Julie McGinn-Rodriguez requested FAVACA's assistance to develop the capacity to run and manage operations independently of the Foundation. In the foundation's Educational Programs at the Learning and Cultural Centers in Santo Domingo and in the small town of Padre las Casas, youth participate in reading clubs and other pedagogical learning activities to strengthen local capacity, education, environmental protection and use of natural resources. The aim of these activities is to reduce poverty levels by addressing basic problems of inequality, access, low academic achievement, high repetition and dropout rates amongst youth in the communities of the southern region of the Dominican Republic. Return volunteer Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez, Tallahassee, traveled to Santo Domingo January 29-February 4th, 2006 to provide the technical assistance. Chavez-Hernandez visited the Foundation's operation centers, assessed their needs and made recommendations on how the Educational Program could be improved. Approximately ten people participated in the assessment and training at which time President Leonel Fernandez inaugurated the computer center "Centro de Lectura" at Padre las Casas. The main purpose of the center is to engage children and youth in activities which promote reading. Speaking with Chavez-Hernandez, the President expressed interest in having FAVACA provide training for the national library system headquartered in Santo Domingo at a future date.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC RECEIVES LIBRARY SCIENCE TRAINING. The Dominican Association for Disaster Mitigation (La Asociacion Dominicana de Mitigacion de Desastres - ADMD) received library management training for their newly established library and research center. ADMD is a not-for-profit organization established in 1996 to coordinate the disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts of governmental, businesses, and private entities. ADMD works to reduce the vulnerability of populations living in areas prone to natural disasters. The new research center located in Santo Domingo is utilized by researchers, university students, community leaders, and government officials. The Center's Director, Bernardo Rodriguez Vidal, requested assistance in the management of their expanded collection. Return volunteer, Maria Chavez-Hernandez, Professor of Library Science at Florida State University, Tallahassee, conducted the training September 25-30, 2005, which resulted in improved procedures to allow staff to better inform the public about disaster preparedness. Dr. Chavez-Hernandez has done research and conducted training seminars in the Central American region and is currently collaborating with the Royal Library of Sweden to develop a library network in Nicaragua. This volunteer consultancy was made possible in part by the generosity of the Jimmy Buffett Singing For Change Foundation, OUTBACK Steakhouse®, and CARRABBA's Italian Grill.
FLORIDA INFORMATION SPECIALISTS TRAIN BELIZEAN COUNTERPARTS. In 2002 Dianne Lindo, coordinator for the Charles T. Hunter Commission for Social Outreach at St. John's College in Belize City, Belize, approached FAVA/CA on behalf of the school's library department. The school maintained two libraries, one for each campus, and needed to integrate the collections and improve the management system. Florida State University School of Information Sciences colleagues, Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez and Kim Thompson, both of Tallahassee, consulted with the faculty and staff at St. John's in May 2002. The Library Committee started to implement the recommendations and has since seen an increase in the number of students utilizing the library. St. John's also received a donation of computers to establish a new lab within the library. Ms. Lindo and the committee hosted the team for additional training May 6-9, 2003. The team conducted training in on-line information resources for 16 librarians and faculty from institutions around the country. Groups represented included the National Library Service, the Association of Tertiary Level Institutes of Belize and the Ministry of Education. The team also assisted in developing a management plan for the new lab and met with the director of the School Wide Academic Network (SWAN) program of the Ministry of Education. SWAN is installing similar labs in schools throughout the country.
FLORIDA INFORMATION SPECIALISTS GUIDE LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT IN BELIZE. Dianne Lindo, coordinator for the Charles T. Hunter Commission for Social Outreach at St. John's College in Belize City, Belize, approched FAVA/CA on behalf of the school's library department. The school maintains two libraries, one for each campus, and greatly needs to integrate the collections and improve the management system. Florida State University School of Information Sciences colleagues, Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez and Kim Thompson, both of Tallahassee, consulted with the faculty and staff at St. John's April 27-May 2, 2002. The team worked with the Library Committee to assess needs and advise their counterparts on a transition plan for the libraries. They also met with representatives from other Belizean institutions to explore better cooperation among information resources with the National Library as the central coordinator. Thompson stayed on in Belize until May 6, to complete the interviews and collect surveys. In all the team met with about 25 professionals.
PROFESSOR OFFERS COMPUTER SKILLS IN HER NATIVE NICARAGUA. In response to a request for training from her native country Dr. Maria Chavez-Hernandez, Tallahassee, traveled to Nicaragua October 27 - November 4, 2001. Dr. Chavez-Hernandez offered a series of workshops on Internet features, email and effectively locating information on the web to four members of the Red del Medio Ambiente de Masaya (REMA) an environmental organization based in Masaya. REMA aims to serve as a coordinating point for the activities of environmental groups around Masaya. The training will be useful to their members in better utilizing the Internet to gather and share information. Dr. Chavez-Hernandez is on the faculty of the School of Information Studies at Florida State University and also serves as the school's internship program coordinator.