“Access to education was a huge family value when I was growing up. My mom was born and raised in Mexico and had to drop out of school to help care for her siblings when she was just eleven years old. My dad, a Utahn who grew up in a working-class community, was the first of his family to go to college.
The school-related traumas my folks experienced really influenced my decision to go into education. But it was when I read the American Library Association’s ‘Freedom to Read Statement’ in one of my undergrad classes that I knew I wanted to become a librarian. The statement was published in the early 50s as a response to the misinformation and censorship that was rampant in the U.S. during the McCarthy era—and the big takeaway is that libraries are obligated to ‘make available the widest diversity of views and expressions’ and to provide everybody in our society with equitable access to information.
My primary responsibility as a librarian at the U is to teach information literacy. For me, that means ensuring every student has equitable access to all of the resources, services and knowledge they need to accomplish their goals. I work mostly with students in the Beacon Scholars Program, which serves our first-generation students as well as students in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. But I’m happy to help any student in any program with their research needs.
I know how hard it can be to ask for help, but I try to communicate that when a student reaches out to me, they are never bothering me—even if it’s at 3 a.m.—that student matters to me and I’m always happy to help. My goal is to advocate for our students however they need me to, whether it’s getting resources from the library such as a Wi-Fi hot spot, accessing counseling on campus or even getting a meal. We have really important resources on this campus and every student deserves to know about them and be able to take advantage of them whenever they need to.”
—Adriana Parker, associate librarian, Graduate & Undergraduate Services Division, J. Willard Marriott Library