Interview with Salalm Scholarship Awardee: Sandy Enriquez

Sandy Enriquez, Outreach & Community Engagement Librarian...

Sandy Enriquez, Outreach & Community Engagement Librarian in Special Collections & University Archives at the University of California (UC) Riverside, was a SALALM conference scholarship awardee in 2019. Rachel Stein caught up with Sandy in January 2021 to learn about the impact of the scholarship on her career.

Did you know about SALALM before you applied for the scholarship? Yes, I learned about it from Angela Carreño, my mentor at New York University (NYU) Libraries. 

Where did you earn your MLS/MLIS and what was your area of specialization? Long Island University. I had no formal specialization but I was particularly interested in area studies and archives.

What drew you to the field of librarianship/archival studies? I love doing research and working with the public. I was interested in pursuing a career in higher education, but I didn't feel that a PhD was the right path for me. Librarianship provided me all the benefits of working in academia, along with the flexibility to incorporate collection development, community engagement, and other interesting areas. I like knowing that, in general, librarianship offers me a diverse set of skills and areas I can concentrate on. 

When did or when do you expect to graduate? I graduated in May 2019.

Do you have other graduate level degrees? Yes, M.A. in Latin American Studies from New York University (NYU).

How did you become interested in Latin America/Iberia? I am Peruvian-American, so I've grown up in both countries and was always interested in learning more about Latin America and that part of my identity. 

What are your language abilities and experiences studying and/or traveling in Latin America? Spanish is my native language, but since I grew up primarily in the U.S., I became more dominant in English. Today, I can still read, write, and speak Spanish, but not at a fluent level. I have also studied Quechua at NYU and Kichwa at UCLA, though I'm more comfortable reading and writing than speaking. I worked a contract position with a non-profit in rural Peru that focused on sustainable tourism and supporting Indigenous women's cooperatives (such as weavers, spinners, sewers, etc). Prior to that, I also did research in the Sacred Valley as an undergraduate student over the course of several summers.

While you were a graduate student, did you work with a Latin American/Iberian archival or library collection? In what capacity? Yes, I assisted Angela Carreño with the care and development of the Indigenous Media Collection at New York University. This collection originated primarily from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian's Native American Film and Video Festival (1979-2011). It contains several hundred works from Latin America, primarily from and for Indigenous communities. (You can read more about it here: 

When and where did you attend the annual SALALM conference? The University of Texas at Austin in 2019.

What was the most interesting or unexpected thing that you learned at the conference? I was going through my first job interviews around that time, so it was a wonderful learning experience for me to meet so many new librarians and get their insight and advice about job searching. The people I met were so friendly and open to giving me advice and helping me network with other librarians who were (or formerly were) part of the UC system. I really felt like a valued part of the community and it gave me encouragement to grow as a professional in this field. 

Did you give a paper or presentation at the conference? Yes, I co-presented with Angela Carreño about our work on the Indigenous Media Collection. We discussed the origins of the collection, our efforts to raise awareness/community engagement around the collection, and lessons learned. We also invited feedback and advice from the community regarding our current workflows and processes.

Was SALALM helpful in the development of your career? In what way? It is definitely helpful. Being a part of SALALM opened up many doors for me to engage with professional librarians and gain confidence in developing my own career in this field. As a student, there's often a sense of imposter syndrome, but participating in SALALM events helped me network and overcome a lot of those fears.