Alex on Being a Librarian Who Doesn’t Read
Alex Berrio Matamoros is the author of Information Literacy through Diversity: Instructional Techniques for All Identities and Learning Styles and a former Associate Law Library Professor & Emerging Technologies Librarian at City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law.
Why did you join AALL?
I have two mentors who I first got to know when I was enrolled in their legal research courses in law school. They both strongly recommended that I join AALL once I started library school because of the many educational resources that would help me better understand the roles of law librarians and trends in the field. I was fortunate to be hired to work alongside them before beginning library school and my employer signed me up as a member on my first day.
Why do you stay a member?
Connecting with the Association’s amazing members – many who I have gotten to know and learn from over the years – along with the educational and professional development resources that are offered year-round, are the main reasons why there’s no question in my mind that being a member of AALL is important to me professionally.
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
Being a part of the many communities within AALL – SISs, caucuses, chapters, and committees. Through my involvement, I’ve met many members who I have learned a great deal from while collaborating on projects. It has also allowed me to step into leadership roles and hone skills that will forever be valuable professionally. In my first year, I met many CS-SIS and ALL-SIS members who I remain close to. The Latino Caucus, which I eventually chaired, helped me make some great connections with many members with a shared background or interest in legal information issues that affect the Latinx community. When I moved from a Boston academic law library to one in New York City, joining a LLAGNY committee helped me make many professional connections rapidly and eventually led to service on the Board. As a member of the AALL Diversity & Inclusion Committee, I have worked on many matters that are important to me personally and to AALL’s diversity and inclusion goals. I look forward to chairing next year and continuing the Committee’s great work in recent years.
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
I caught a cold during the 2016 Annual Meeting and presented a session with the extraordinary Debbie Ginsberg on the last day. I wasn’t entirely sharp because I was feeling sick and taking cold medicine and made a few mistakes that I quickly caught and joked about. The audience laughing along helped keep my energy up and got me through the presentation. That moment solidified my belief that AALL members are a kind and supportive bunch.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love to travel and spend at least one weekend a month someplace other than home. I enjoy getting to meet new people, see new places, and learn first-hand about various cultures and how daily life is different for people around the world. I’ve flown at least 100,000 miles a year for several years now, crisscrossing the US and visiting over 30 countries.
What book(s) are you currently reading
I like to joke that I’m a librarian who doesn’t read. Instead of reading books, I listen to a lot of podcasts and the occasional audiobook. I’ve found podcasts to be a great way to continue being a lifelong learner, and some of my favorites are 99% Invisible, Freakonomics Radio, Latino USA, Note to Self, Radiolab, Reply All, and Science Vs.
What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?
My favorite city in the world is Medellin, Colombia, and I try to get there as often as I can. Although my parents are from Colombia, I didn’t travel there until this decade because of the past armed conflict. It’s now safe to visit Colombia and Medellin is an amazing place that’s been completely transformed from the crime-ridden city seen in Narcos to a modern city full of culture, arts, nature, and perfect weather.