Olivia Olivares

Instruction & Outreach Librarian
When did you start in your current position?:
Feb 01, 2020
Years in LAUC: 
LAUC Role:
Vice-President-Elect of UC Merced's LAUC chapter

How did you become interested in librarianship?

I've always loved books. I was working at an independent bookstore in Tucson for pennies when I took a job at the University of Arizona Law Library purely for the salary increase and health insurance. To my surprise, I enjoyed it tremendously. After a year, I enrolled in UA's graduate library school.

Describe the first time you worked in a library.

I was a Reference Assistant and Interlibrary Loan Coordinator for the University of Arizona Law Library. I had no experience prior to being hired, but the librarians were willing and eager to train me, and I got an excellent legal research education while I worked there. The library had a varied clientele, from law students and faculty to practicing lawyers and legal assistants to members of the public representing themselves in legal proceedings. I had a grand time.

What is your current or recent role in LAUC, either locally or systemwide?: 

I'm the Vice-President-Elect of UC Merced's LAUC chapter, and will become the president sometime in the summer of 2021.

What do you like best about being a UC librarian?

It's a tossup between my coworkers and my students. My coworkers are warm, friendly, highly intelligent, and very funny. It's a joy to work with them. My students are simply impressive. I'm in awe of their commitment and drive.

Describe a recent or current project on which you are working.

I've just finished a book chapter to be included in an ACRL publication, "Teaching Business Information Literacy," in 2022. I'm still considering options for my next project, but it will probably be an integrative literature review about approaches to teaching writing online during the pandemic.

Describe your recent professional work outside of work, such as association work, writing, research, or anything else.

See above.

What would you like the next big thing in libraries to be?

I would like to see academic libraries become more cognizant of study space needs. If this pandemic and the accompanying closures of physical plants have shown us anything, it's that students greatly value and require the quiet study space and resources afforded by their campuses' libraries. Digital and electronic resources made it possible for libraries to continue to function during quarantine, but I'm now acutely aware of how many students rely on libraries to provide the physical space to sit comfortably and safely, to provide electrical power and secure internet connections for devices, and ready assistance from librarians and library staff when necessary. More attention and discussion should be given to physical space.

Complete this statement: "One surprising fact about me is...”

... my intense and enduring love for all things horror: books, movies, and so forth. When I was a very little girl in San Jose, CA, I watched great horror movies on "Creature Features" on KTVU 2 every Saturday night. When my family and I moved to Guatemala, I watched horror movies on "Teatro de Terror" on Friday nights. That's what got me started on my merry way. I had the first editions of Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella comics (we'd call them graphic novels today, I guess), and many of the earliest issues of Forry Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Movieland. My mother tossed them out because she didn't think they were appropriate reading for a young lady. I may forgive her for that -- someday. I greatly prefer supernatural horror (vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts) to slasher horror.

Can you recommend a book or movie or tell us your favorite book or movie and why?

I like movies about smart people doing smart things. So right now, my favorite movie is "Arrival," featuring Amy Adams as a linguistics professor who translates the language of the first alien visitors to Earth. I also like books that can communicate and explain scientific principles clearly to chuckleheads like me who didn't pay much attention in high school biology (there were cute guys in that class!). I recommend work by Sam Kean (The Violinist's Thumb; The Disappearing Spoon) and Mary Roach (Spook; Stiff; Bonk).