“The only boundaries which define the teenage years are
boundaries of exclusion which define
what young people are not, cannot do or cannot be”
(Valentine, Skelton & Chambers 1998, p.5).
I come from Galicia (Spain) and am part of a family who immigrated to different Latin American countries to create a better life for themselves. Even though my closer family and myself grew up in Galicia, I soon became an immigrant myself: I left my family and region to do my undergraduate studies and have since become a sort of long-term nomad. Off and on, I have lived in different regions of Spain and Turtle Island, where I have finally settled, and where I am also still learning what being a settler means. I grew up in a country with a long history of colonization that was barely critically acknowledged or discussed, so I do have much to learn. I am white and sometimes read as a xeno, because of my accent, my customs, or even my writing style. I am currently able, but during a considerable period of my life I was (legally) visually impaired. I am also part of one of the first Spanish generations born in Democracy and I am constantly checking what that means, since I still grew up in a time and place where, for example, the political and social consequences of years of dictatorship (patriarchy and sexism, xenophobia, racism, fascism, extreme catholicism, homophobia, etc.) were not systematically/structurally discussed or tackled. This situation has made me very (self-) conscious of the many unconscious biases I still need to work through. I have been an introverted queer since I can remember, but I did not discover the right words to describe myself to others until I started going to therapy. I will always be a digital visitor, always trying to figure out and establish boundaries between new technologies and myself.
I was the first person in my family to finish a university degree; I was lucky to have a mother who always insisted on the need and value of having an education and supported my academic endeavours, even when most people did not quite understand my decision-making. I have been studying information and its contexts since 1995 and I have worked in special, public and academic libraries in different periods of my life. I have worked in cataloging and indexing, reference, instruction and digitalization projects. For the past 10 years, I have focused my research and teaching on topics related to reading, youth and public libraries, but I cannot stop being interested in issues of privacy/surveillance and the introduction of different technologies in libraries. I truly believe in the possibilities of public libraries as institutions that can create and support change in individual lives and the communities they serve, but not without questioning its origins and grounding their work in principles such as accessibility, equity, and inclusion. I have enjoyed much privilege and I have not shared the struggle of those who do not have a house, face severe financial crises, or oppression due to being racialized or financially poor. I am still always learning, about new things but also about what old things mean in new contexts.
My goal as an instructor is encourage a combination of reflection and self-reflection in future information professionals, in an attempt to cultivate responsible and critical practitioners. These future LIS professionals will be actors rather than reactors, regardless of the institutions they choose to work at. My teaching experience is extensive and started as a library assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, where I designed and provided instruction for graduate students. It was followed by workshops for public and school librarians at the Center for Information and Research in Children and Young Adult Literature, Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez (Salamanca, Spain). At the university level, as a sessional instructor I have worked at the Faculty of Library Science and Documentation (University of Salamanca), and I am currently working at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (The University of Western Ontario) and the Faculty of Information (University of Toronto). I have also taught as a visiting scholar at the Faculty of Journalism, Library and Information Science at the Oslo Metropolitan and as a full-time tenure-track faculty member at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (Queens College, CUNY).
My primary research lies at the intersection of young adults, reading, and public libraries, with an emphasis on reading practices related to comics. I am interested in the interplay between identity, culture, and social structures to study the complexity of an everyday activity such as reading for pleasure. These research interests materialize in a series of teaching topics: Youth Media; Public Libraries; Reading and Literacies; Reference and Information Services. Also, in 2018 I participated in the Library Freedom Institute, an experience that expanded and consolidated my interest and education in topics of privacy and surveillance related to libraries. In collaboration with Dr. Nicole Dalmer, we have recently finished an ALA funded project to create a selected reading list of comics and graphic novels that feature older adults as their main protagonists. It is available at our project blog.