April 23, 2018

Five Questions with Roberto Delgadillo

Roberto Delgadillo

Roberto Delgadillo

Roberto Delgadillo, Humanities, Social Sciences and Government Information Services Resources Manager at University Library, UC Davis, is one of the winners of this week’s I Love My Librarian Award. Library Journal caught up with him on the flight home.

Library Journal: Your I Love My Librarian nomination says you are particularly skilled at locating items related to Chicanos/Latinos that are usually overlooked and marginalized in the larger academic world. What are some of the resources and techniques you use to do this that might be of use to other librarians?

Roberto Delgadillo: I feel all too often that the increasing growth and posting of oral interviews, short documentaries, photo files related to the Chicana/o- Latina/o (C/L) experience on YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Delicious, to name a few, goes unnoticed by academics and their students.

Other resources not often used by the aforementioned academics and students alike are open access dissertations and research articles available through sites like the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) and Academia.edu. The difficulty, of course, is seeing how these various pieces fit in a larger research project set in motion by a research instructor or associated students but that’s where someone like me can greatly assist by locating existing print encyclopedias, handbooks, and bibliographies that help place these pieces in the overall scheme of C/L scholarship and then linking it to what I find or help instructors or students find via say Google Scholar and use of existing academic databases like Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, the Chicano Database, Ethnic Newswatch, etc.

For examples of sites that I used and continue to use for my students in C/L Studies, see http://ca-gold-reforma.org/selected-chicanlatin-studies-resources/.

LJ: How did you develop databases on the U.S.-Mexico border, why were they needed, and are they available to students outside of UC Davis?

RD: The databases came into being from conversations with Chicana/o faculty and graduate students whose primary focus dealt with health disparities, economic inequities, and criminalization of the undocumented along the US-Mexico border. To be sure, there are other aspects to C/L Studies, but the ones I noted tend to be most prominent. The databases are not yet available to students outside UC Davis, but that is something I and others are working towards changing.

LJ: What are your plans for your upcoming term as president of SALALM?

My immediate plans, as Vice-President/President-Elect, involve assisting the current President with selecting speakers and panelists for SALALM’s next annual conference. We were fortunate to have been invited by the University of Miami Libraries and Florida International University Libraries to have the 2013 conference in Coral Gables. Briefly, the general theme of the conference deals with the intersection of indigenism, pan-indigenism, and cosmovisionism within the context of indigenous studies in the Americas. We are interested in the exploration of indigenous peoples’ thought and action prior to, during, and after colonization.

My long-term plans in 2014, when I assume the SALALM presidency, involve the development and execution of a conference that will examine the intersection of citizenship, identity, and religion in Latin America. I also plan to continue with SALALM’s collaboration with REFORMA and associated bodies of the ALA.

LJ: What can academic libraries do to provide better service to historically underrepresented students?

RD: Outreach, outreach, outreach! It’s not enough to have a once-in-a quarter session with HU students. We must push and seek out HU students! Academic libraries can learn from public libraries that extend outreach services to similar populations. In addition, academic libraries should actively seek and push partnerships with other bodies within their universities that serve present and incoming HU students.

LJ: Do your mentorship activities inform or change how you practice librarianship?

RD: Yes! My mentorship activities attune me to the ever changing landscape of librarianship and the need to serve and be there for others when they leave the confines of the university or consider career choices. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had a number of mentors that freely gave me their patient counsel, support and kindness in the choices I’ve made. In turn, I feel the need to share and or empathize with others what I have learned not only as a librarian, but as an immigrant to this country, as a disabled person, and finally as the first in my family to earn a Masters and subsequently a doctorate degree. I feel energized whenever I find someone willing to listen to what I have to say or, conversely, when they seek me out! I don’t want my career to be known as what I refer to as a “Lord Poopington,” one who never goes beyond the library desk or is willing to share what life lessons informed them.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz (mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com) is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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