Earlier this month, Library Journal named CalArts Reference & Instruction Librarian Marisa Méndez-Brady a 2019 “Mover & Shaker,” the trade publication’s annual award for “people shaping the future of libraries.”
For her “equal commitments to serving her patrons and making the field itself better” as well as her dedication to mentoring and empowering librarians of color while working to dismantle systems of oppression and racism in the academic library, she was honored alongside 53 other librarians representing seven countries.
Méndez-Brady joined the CalArts community earlier this year, and in addition to her role as Reference & Instruction Librarian, she is the liaison and selector for the School of Critical Studies. An East Coast native, her 14-year career in libraries and archives brought her west to UCLA Library in 2017. She holds a Masters of Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design from the University of Maine, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Haverford College.
In addition to her library work, Méndez-Brady has pursued personal scholarship applying a critical lens to theory and practices surrounding librarianship, with her current research focusing on the intersection of critical race theory and library and information science — recently distilled in the publication “We Here: Speaking Our Truth.”
Over the next year she’ll be co-authoring a chapter for a forthcoming MIT Press book, “Who’s Afraid of Race? Critical Race Theory in Library and Information Science” and co-presenting a panel, “Moving Beyond Race 101: Speculative Futuring for Equity,” at the national 2019 Association of College and Research Libraries biennial conference. In all of her roles, she will also be continuing her crucial advocacy work supporting and encouraging people of color pursuing careers in information science and libraries.
“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,” Méndez-Brady told Library Journal.
This year’s Movers & Shakers will be honored at the annual American Library Association conference June 20-25 in Washington, D.C.