Interview with SALALM Scholarship Awardee: Daniel Arbino

How did you find out about the SALALM...

How did you find out about the SALALM Scholarship?

President Suzanne Schadl, who I had met previously while conducting research at the University of New Mexico, told me about SALALM and suggested that I apply for the scholarship.

Did you know about SALALM before you applied for the scholarship?

I knew very little. The scholarship opportunity is what motivated me to learn more.

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

University of Arizona. My specialization ended up being in special collections and archives.

What  drew you to the field of librarianship/archival studies?

I receive this question a lot and I don't know if there's any one particular answer. I think that first of all, when I was doing my PhD, that the library gave me a sense of wonder because of its ability to track down any book or article that I needed. That instilled in me a great respect for libraries that I always carry with me. Secondly, I enjoy wearing many hats in one day - to work as a community liaison, develop collections, conduct my own research, and to facilitate research for others. Finally, I view librarianship as a career that fosters creativity - whether it is in contributing to exhibits or finding solutions to problems.

Do you have other graduate level degrees?

PhD Latin American Literatures and Cultures (University of Minnesota)
MA Hispanic Literature (University of New Mexico)

How did you become interested in Latin America/Iberia? Describe your language abilities and experiences studying and/or traveling in Latin America.

In the past, I have lived in Querétaro, Mexico and I have also traveled to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and throughout Mexico for conferences, research, and coursework.

I have near-native fluency in Spanish and intermediate Portuguese.

Have you worked with a Latin American/Iberian archival or library collection? In what capacity?

Depending on how broad your definition of Latin American is, I have worked as both a researcher and intern at the University of New Mexico. In both cases, I focused predominantly on Hispanic voices in the state and how they have continued to affirm their identity in relation to the rest of the United States. I have also done archival processing on New Mexican collections at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.

When and where did you attend the annual SALALM conference?

I attended the SALALM conference in Charlottesville, VA in 2016. I plan to attend others in the future.

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

What surprised me most was the sincere kindness of the members at the conference. I found everyone to be most welcoming, supportive, and helpful. That is a very unique experience from other conferences that I have attended.

Otherwise, I enjoyed learning about the digital scholarship initiatives coupled with the workshop that was provided as well as the general theme of resistance and resilience that followed Torres Garcia. Presentations on collaboration and advocacy seemed very timely.

If you've graduated from the Master's program, are you currently working? Where, and in what job?

I began a position as the Librarian for U.S. Latina and Latino Studies at the LLILAS Benson at the University of Texas at Austin in June 2017.

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

Yes. SALALM was an affirmation of my career desires because it showed me that there existed a strong community of librarians with a specialization in Latin America, which was something that I gravitated to because of my own educational background. It provided me with a career trajectory that I could follow just by observing the network of junior and senior librarians. To that end, I believe a more tangential impact that it had on my career development was that it allowed me to meet and talk with other members who later considered me for a career opportunity.