UNM associate professor and Curator Suzanne M. Schadl has been chosen as the new President of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials which works to collect, preserve and provide access to information from and about Latin American, Iberian and Caribbean countries. 

As Schadl’s primary duty is to oversee conference planning, she will be presiding at a conference hosted by El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City, she said. 

“My colleagues at that institution do all of the local event planning while I work on the more theoretical aspects of mapping out subjects and methods for sharing ideas,” Shadl said. 

Part of this work requires developing and promoting a theme and reaching out to both current and potential members through periodic messages, invitations, collaborations and publications, she said.

Schadl will also preside at meetings of the executive board, working with a team which includes the executive director, the previous president, the vice president and the members at large to administer, direct and manage the affairs and property of SALALM, she said. 

In terms of conference planning, Schadl’s goals are to design a conference theme and program that encourages sharing differing experiences, perspectives and or resources, she said. 

“It's important to understand that there's no single or easy encapsulation of a collective human experience,” Schadl said. “Frankly, I don't think we can be human, and we sure can't be creative problem solvers across borders or communities, without thinking more critically about our connections and disconnections with people whose experiences and stories are different from ours.” 

For this reason, the conference Schadl will preside at will be designed to encourage librarians, archivists, book vendors, curators, scholars and artists to engage critically with one another around specific sites and sources, she said. 

Schadl said she is fortunate to have some great SALALM colleagues who are working with her to collaborate with Digital Humanities 2018, who are also meeting in Mexico City just before SALALM to expand perspectives across their organizations in the form of workshops or collaborative projects, she said. This may include a Wikipedia edit-a-thon that brings together Mexican, U.S. and other national experts.

Schadl is a big fan of accidental luck and hopes the serendipity of meeting in Mexico City 50 years after the Massacre of Tlatelolco provides another instructive opportunity for thinking critically across communities about disputed and controversial spaces, she said. 

The many stories and documents circulated bring people from different places, professions and experiences together to see, listen, hear, read and ideally understand one another from our varying perspectives with the end goal of being more equitable, Schadl said. 

“That's essentially my professional raison d'etre, which is why I work in libraries and archives with materials in all formats from many academic disciplines from and about many different places and peoples throughout Latin America,” she said. “It's also why I'm involved with SALALM and it's precisely what I want to give back to the organization; a deep respect for a diversity of resources, ideas and information.”

Schadl’s background and ability to communicate between languages, organizational structures, national boundaries and disciplines finds her open to seeing where this opportunity takes her, she said. 

“I'm grateful to have at my side stellar people in the SALALM, UNM, Latin American studies and Humanities communities,” Schadl said. 

Schadl said she sees everything as a learning experience, and it’s what excites her about her new position. 

“I'm really excited to work with a great team of people at The Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas at El Colegio de México,” she said. “Their library is one of the most extensive in Latin America, and they have been incredible partners.” 

Schadl sees the importance of UNM's Latin American Collection to range in significance to the UNM public and surrounding community as it means very different things to different people, she said.

“Past and present voices from the region lend perspective seen through a multifaceted lens and heard in varied languages which have a way of opening doors that can't be closed or revealing images that can't be unseen,” Schadl said. “To me that's what learning and growth are about moving outside of our comfort zones and readjusting our perspective with reference to others.” 

Nichole Harwood is a reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.