Episode 58: Claudia Samano-Losada loves libraries as much as she loves her communities
Claudia Samano Losado has many talents.
Early-childhood educator. World traveler. Life coach. Recreation–center owner. Dance-movement instructor.
But maybe most importantly, Losado is a fervent Oak Harbor Library supporter.
“I think I’m very passionate about a lot of things, and one of my passions is to share with others and to take and give in the same way,” said Losado, a member of the library’s board. “Since I have had so much from the library I’ve wanted to give back to, and this is a very good way to give back, but not just that, to know more about the library.”
What she gets from the Oak Harbor Library, she returns to the Oak Harbor community.
“It’s a way of connecting the community and the people with the same interests, so I’m connecting businesses, connecting families, connecting families with little kids, connecting families with teenagers,” she said. “So we are all in the same boat and it’s awesome for me to be able to share one thing from another.”
Losado grew up in Mexico City, where her future husband was visiting when they met and started dating. She has lived in the United States since 2002 and her husband’s military career sent them to California, Florida and Oak Harbor. She used the library in every community she lived in.
“I’ve been involved in every single place with libraries. What the libraries offer to the community in each state is amazing. Not everybody everywhere has the opportunity to have a library that offers free books to check out, free programs, help for the parents, so many things,” she said.
“When I moved to Washington state and I discovered this library system, I just fell in love. It’s the best experience I have had with libraries. The community needs to know. Because the community sometimes are not fully aware of everything the library can offer. It has been kind of like my job lately.”
Losado makes it a point to spread the word about all the services and programs the Oak Harbor Library and Sno-Isle Libraries offers to its customers.
“I think it’s important for us, for the leaders in the community, to spread the word of what things are happening, and good things are happening since I took advantage of that,” she said. “I want everybody to know what is happening at the library.”
When Losado says “community,” she sees a big picture. It’s the people who use the Oak Harbor Library. It’s the customers in her In Motion recreation center. It’s the island’s Navy population. It’s the people who live in Oak Harbor and the surrounding North Whidbey Island area. They all connect.
“I see it this way,” Losado said. “We have our own interests and our own little communities in Oak Harbor. We have a military community. We have people who go to the library every single Tuesday, every single Wednesday, and it’s the library community. My people, my families … it’s a small family that knows In Motion, that advocates movement, advocates physical activities. I see that some stuff connects us, however we need more connection. We need more connection between us, between all these little communities, between military, library, In Motion and all the places that are of course part of this community.”
Losado’s upbringing in Mexico, a year of study in Great Britain followed by time in Spain, plus her 18 years in the U.S. gives her an open mind about immigration issues and diversity.
As a child, she said she always looked for and saw the similarities in people, not differences.
Now she notices how many people focus on differences instead of similarities. She believes it complicates how we live as a society, “and how we express our interest as a community.”
“I think since I moved to the United States, I recognize something that I didn’t know before,” Losado said. “I recognize that some people look at you in different ways, and some people see differences you didn’t even know you had.”
While some have different opinions about diversity, Losado appreciates those who “take it as an amazing way to be in the same society, growing together.”
America is a diverse, multicultural nation, she said, but it’s becoming less cross-cultural. That only magnifies the perceived differences.
“I think diversity is (something) to celebrate,” she said. “If we all have a goal as a country, as a community, as a society, we need to embrace our similarities.”
She tries to instill that message to her movement and art students with the motto, “Our differences will divide us more, our similarities will make us one.”
“I also try to unite,” Losado said. “I try to give the message, it’s OK to be different, it’s OK to speak a second language, it’s OK to be in a multicultural family. It is OK. That will actually make us a better community, a better society, and it will unite us.”
Jim Hills is the library district’s Assistant Communications Director, Communications & Marketing. Jim is a storyteller who claims to still have some ink in his veins from familial connections with, and previous-career infusions from, the newspaper biz.
Ken Harvey is Communications Director for Sno-Isle Libraries. Ken brings broad professional experience from his service with Community Transit, Sound Transit, Reno, Nev., and several positions in radio and TV.
The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations.