April 20, 2018

Sergio Chaparro Univazo | Movers & Shakers 2003

The Biggest Picture

Those who know Sergio Chaparro wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was a cataloging class, of all things, that piqued his interest in librarianship. He is as fascinated with the intellectual aspects of information science (“I loved learning how knowledge could be organized”) as he is an advocate for brick-and-mortar libraries.

Chaparro had just finished a BA in linguistics in his native Lima, Peru, when he decided to pursue a BA in library science. After graduation he worked for a few years in academic libraries, then applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue his MLS at Rutgers School of Communication, Information, and Library Science (SCILS), “because I was interested in the management of libraries, and in Peru there were no opportunities to study this,” he says. SCILS, with its many classes and opportunities for specialization, was a revelation for Chaparro. He credits the late Pamela Richard’s class on comparative librarianship for sparking a passion for international library and information policy issues, an area he has continued to pursue on the doctoral level.

“I have become convinced that information policies are a way for developing countries to promote knowledge,” Chaparro says. His dissertation examines Brazil’s information policies for electronic resources and their impact on academic libraries. He would like to foster a better understanding of the role libraries and librarians can play in Latin America, counteract the clerical stereotype of librarians, and promote the idea of public libraries “so that citizens will look at libraries as normal or expected.”

Chaparro has taught courses in information behavior, searching, and international librarianship and loves the high expectations of his students, their dynamism, and the rich diversity he’s found in classes at Rutgers.

Chaparro, who enjoys rock’n’roll and belongs to a local soccer team, describes himself as a permanent recruiter for librarianship. He even convinced his roommate, an English Ph.D. candidate, to switch over and get his MLS. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to think there might be something genetic in my passion for libraries,” says Chaparro, whose grandfather, German Univazo, was a librarian at Peru’s National Library.


Degrees: Ph.D. Anticipated, Rutgers University, School of Communication, Information, and Library Science, New Brunswick, NJ; MLS, Rutgers SCILS, 1997; BA, Library Science, Pontificia Universidad Católica Perú, Lima, 1992