Interview with SALALM Scholarship Awardee: Amanda Moreno

When and where did you attend the annual...

When and where did you attend the annual SALALM conference?

My first SALALM Conference was in Charlottesville in 2016. I then attended Ann Arbor in 2017 and plan on seeing everyone in Ciudad de México next year!

How did you find out about the SALALM Scholarship?

Angela Carreño, my library school mentor, suggested I apply for the SALALM Scholarship in 2016.

Where did you earn your MLIS and what was your area of specialization? 

I received a dual masters in Library and Information Science from Long Island University and Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University in 2016. My master's thesis for my area studies specialty was on race and national belonging in Dominican Republic, and how tensions in this area play out at the Museo del Hombre Dominicano in Santo Domingo.

What  drew you to the field of librarianship?

I started working in libraries during my senior year of undergrad, when I was hired as a student assistant at the University of Miami Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection. I went from digitizing theater ephemera as a student to processing archival collections as a full-time Archives Assistant. After a few years in that position, I decided to go to grad school and I came back to CHC as the Archivist in January 2017. I was drawn to the ability to connect people with their history through the preservation of Cuban culture in the diaspora.

How did you become interested in Latin America? 

My family is Cuban-American, so while Cuba has always been close to my heart, working at CHC gave me a better understanding and more nuanced perspective on the Cuban exile experience.

While completing my master's thesis, I conducted field research in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

What experience do you have working with Latin American/Iberian archival or library collections? 

I have worked at the Cuban Heritage Collection as a student assistant, Archives Assistant and most recently as Archivist of the Collection. While at NYU, I was the Collection Development Assistant for Latin American Collections, working with Angela Carreño to grow the Latin American collections at Bobst Library and assisting with reference and instruction for undergraduate and graduate programs in the humanities.

What was the most interesting or unexpected thing that you learned at the conference?

Being able to meet my future colleagues before completing my graduate program was an amazing experience. Everyone was so welcoming and easy to talk to. SALALM is an incubator for collaboration, and I look forward to working with other institutions in my capacity as Archivist of the Cuban Heritage Collection.

What is your current position?

I am the Archivist for the Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries.

Was SALALM helpful in the development of your career? In what way?

SALALM was immensely helpful in developing me as a new Latin Americanist. I got to meet colleagues from other institutions that have inspired me to work on joint projects and think about developing new programs at CHC.