Resident of the Month: Javier Sepulveda Garibay

Javier Sepulveda Garibay was the Librarian-in-Residence at Loyola Marymount University from October 2016 to September 2018. Javier is currently the Dance Preservation and Digitization Projects Librarian at the University of Southern California Libraries.

Tell me a little bit about your background. Where did you attend college? What degrees do you have? What programs (undergraduate or graduate) prepared you for your current position? Tell me about your position and what you do?

I attended UC Santa Cruz for my undergraduate studies, where I received my Bachelor’s degrees in Latin American and Latino Studies and Politics. I went on to receive my Masters in Library and Information Science from UCLA in 2015. My current role at USC is centered on the development of a Dance digital collection called the “Dance Heritage Video Archive.” My responsibilities involve outreach and communication with donors, clearance of rights for videos donated, and the creation of metadata for these videos before they are uploaded to the collection. My graduate studies prepared me to undertake my current role, but also my personal involvement in the Dance community.

What caught your interest about your residency ?

The opportunities to gain experience as an academic librarian in a program and environment that supported doing research, as well as the opportunity to stay involved at an academic institution were some of my primary interests in doing a residency program. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to get a job in academic librarianship without previous academic librarian experience and this opportunity better equipped me to continue in the field.

Before you became a resident, what were you thinking about doing professionally or academically?

At the same time that I was applying to my residency program, I was deciding whether or not to begin a doctoral program at UC Santa Cruz in Latin American and Latino Studies. I intended to study archives and dance as a doctoral student, but opportunities to stay involved in both fields, albeit separately, were available through the residency program. Ultimately, I decided on doing the residency program to get more experience working with archives, all the while serving as an advisor and artistic director to the Mexican folklorico student group at my institution.

How was the residency or job application process for you?

The job application process was not lengthy, but overall, it did require a lot of preparation time. I don’t remember if I had a phone interview for my residency, but I remember it being the first time I had to do an all-day interview. I had to give a presentation of 15-20 minutes in front of the staff which was I recall was daunting because no other interview I had done up to that point had gone beyond questions and answers. The staff was supportive and I did not walk away feeling like they were out to make me feel less for my experience. I was notified roughly one week later that I was offered the residency.

Do you have any comments or advice for current residents?

Take advantage of the opportunities that your residency offers to you at your home institution, but also be sure to get involved in the greater campus as well. Your residency offers you a lot of leverage when applying to grants and scholarships so be sure to apply to many of those as well.

How are you becoming or staying involved with the wider profession?

I maintain membership with some organizations like ALA, and I try to attend meetings for more local organizations when possible. Dues are generally expensive so it is difficult to remain involved with many larger organizations where it is obligatory. I stay in touch with colleagues I’ve met at conferences and I am subscribed to several listservs.

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