How did you become interested in librarianship?
I was the first person in my family to go to college. I never really knew what I wanted to do for a career or study. I changed my undergraduate major three times before settling on history. When I officially changed my major to history, I was required to take a two-unit library research class. It was so useful, and I couldn't believe it wasn't required for all students. I wish I had taken it during my freshmen year. It never occurred to me that I could potentially do what this librarian was doing--teaching students how to research.
The following semester or two, I had an appointment with my academic advisor, a sociologist. After listening to me explain that I really enjoyed researching and my work as a writing tutor, he asked me if I had ever library school after graduation. I had no idea there was such a thing. I researched it, and I was smitten with the idea.
Describe the first time you worked in a library.
The first time I worked in a library was actually a fellowship in the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress through the Junior Fellows Program in Summer 2010. It was awing stepping into the Thomas Jefferson Building every morning. I got my first consistent library job as a bilingual library assistant in the children's department at the Stanislaus County Library, my local public library system, in Spring 2011. I was the Spanish story time lady and got to visit preschools.
This academic year, I will be involved in the Research and Professional Development Committee. Locally in Merced, I will be serving as the upcoming academic year's secretary.
What do you like best about being a UC librarian?
I've been a UC librarian for just under two months. l'm also a newish librarian; I worked as a sole librarian at a community college campus for three years prior to my appointment at UC Merced. I am in awe of the resources available and the research conducted by students and faculty.
Describe a recent or current project on which you are working.
One of my colleagues and I are working on a LibGuide for UC Merced's Common Read. This year's book is Steingraber's Living Downstream. We are compiling resources relevant to the book's topic that faculty members may want to use in their courses.
Describe your recent professional work outside of work, such as association work, writing, research, or anything else.
This last year, I served on ACRL's Instruction for Diverse Populations committee. The group is responsible for updating and promoting the Instruction for Diverse Populations Bibliography and the Multilingual Glossary. You can find this year's bibliography here: https://www.zotero.org/groups/acrl_instruction_for_diverse_populations_committee/items/. Some of the committee members, including Ernesto Hernandez from UC Irvine and myself, are presenting a poster about our work at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference at UCLA this August. The poster is called "Reading About Diversity: Developing and Reflecting on Inclusive Instructional Resources." You can find more information here: http://ndlc.info/program/Thursday_Posters/Reading-about-Diversity-Developing-and-Reflecting-on-Inclusive-Instructional-Resources.
What would you like the next big thing in libraries to be?
There are so many top issues for academic libraries--open access, data services, digital humanities, diversity, space planning, demonstrating our value in terms of student success, etc. From an instruction perspective, I would like for academic librarians to embrace the ideas found in the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Coming from a California community college, I understand librarians' concerns about demonstrating the value of library instruction with measurable student outcomes, but we can develop those together. I think the ideas are refreshing and offer something for everyone. Let's move the Framework forward!
Complete this statement: "One surprising fact about me is...”
... that I'm Latina. My mother immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico as a young adult in the 1970s.
Can you recommend a book or movie or tell us your favorite book or movie and why?
Believe it or not, but I am the worst at recommending books and movies. I am filled with librarian guilt when this comes up. In all seriousness, I do want to recommend the last book I read, Chief Bev Sellars' They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School (2013). It's a memoir about Sellars' experiences in a church-run school in Canada, whose aim was to strip native children of their cultures. While reading it, I thought about the parallels in the United States regarding communities of color. It offers readers a way to look at these issues from another frame of reference.