Marisa Méndez-Brady | Movers & Shakers 2019 – Advocates

One of Marisa Méndez-Brady’s nominators, Christina Bell, Bates College humanities librarian, says she possesses two great traits: “equal commitments to serving her patrons and making the field itself better.” In her first few years after grad school, Méndez-Brady was often the only person of color at librarian meetings or on faculty. Like many academic librarians of color, she struggled with racism and microaggressions directed at her and thought about leaving the profession.

Marisa Mendez-Brady

CURRENT POSITION

Reference & Instruction Librarian/Liaison & Selector for the School of Critical Studies, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia

DEGREE

Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design, University of Maine, Orono, 2017; MSIS, University of Texas School of Information, Austin, 2014

FOLLOW

@msmendezbrady; @mareeeeeeeeeesa (Instagram); marisamendezbrady.com; mainecritlib.wordpress.com;
scholar.google.com/citations?user=iWp4mucAAAAJ&hl=en

Photo by Rod O'Connor

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Barrier Breaker

One of Marisa Méndez-Brady’s nominators, Christina Bell, Bates College humanities librarian, says she possesses two great traits: “equal commitments to serving her patrons and making the field itself better.” In her first few years after grad school, Méndez-Brady was often the only person of color at librarian meetings or on faculty. Like many academic librarians of color, she struggled with racism and microaggressions directed at her and thought about leaving the profession.

At the 2017 Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) #critlib Unconference, Méndez-Brady found a community of like-minded librarians of color who mentored one another. “For the first time I felt I belonged in this profession,” she says. “And I can honestly say peer mentorship is absolutely the reason I’m still [here]. I hope I can pay that forward.” As a result, she’s become a mentor to both peers and students.

While working at UCLA from 2017 to 2019, Méndez-Brady partnered with fellow librarian Jade Alburo (another nominator) to mentor graduate students of color in UCLA’s Information Studies program. By encouraging them to present and publish and coaching them through the processes used to build academic librarians’ careers, Méndez-Brady helps demystify institutional hierarchies that research has shown negatively impact marginalized peoples. “I’m so happy I could be even a small part of [the students’] professional journey and am humbled to act as a mentor to them and other[s],” Méndez-Brady says. With her move to CalArts in January 2019, she plans to continue both her mentoring and critical librarianship work on dismantling systems of oppression and racism in the academic library. “If I have helped one other person of color feel empowered in library spaces and [feel] like they belong in this profession, I count that as high impact,” she says.

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