Referencing Pride and Empowerment
Upon a visit to the reference desk at Wisser Library, a student will not only be greeted with a smile but an offer for a cup of coffee. As a reference and instruction librarian, Adrianna Martinez, MLIS, is dedicated to making everyone who visits the library welcome. “[I want to create] an environment of inclusion from the moment someone enters the library, being respectful of pronouns every time someone approaches the reference desk, thinking critically about my language when giving directions, or even just being friendly are all ways that I, as an individual, can make the library space more open,” she says.
Martinez says she became a librarian because she cares about lifting up different voices. “When I studied history in my undergrad, what I loved most was exploring different perspectives; engaging with those different narratives and voices that make up our shared histories,” she says.
As a librarian, she feels she can help expand the narratives the New York Institute of Technology community can engage in as well as teach in a way that uplifts the voices that need lifting. “Using your voice to lift up others that have not gotten a chance to be heard is an essential way that we can build community,” she says.
This fall, Martinez will take on the role of advisor for the Pride Association on the Long Island campus. “I am very excited to be someone the students can rely on, especially the LGBTQ+ students,” she says. “I look forward to working with them to help create more safe spaces and have conversations on campus about safety and inclusion.”
Martinez is willing to support organizations in whatever way she can. “I am able to create allyship through collecting lendable materials about self-discovery, queer history, and tools for understanding,” she says. “I am able to celebrate events like National Coming Out Day, and Pride, as well as by engaging the LGBTQIA+ community outside the library.”
To commemorate Pride month in June, Martinez organized a book display featuring books on LGBTQ+ topics, and on June 23, NYIT participated in Long Island Pride. “Wisser Library is deeply rooted in the idea that acceptance and allyship is a key part of conversations that will happen at NYIT and at all higher education institutions.”
Martinez’s work centers on currency through cultural relevance as well as finding ways to make challenging subjects more engaging through various workshops from connecting the rap game and diss tracks to the research process and literature reviews, to how to use OpenStreetMaps to create digital projects and do humanitarian work. In October 2018, she along with Diana Moronta, librarian at the New York City Campus Library, and Vanessa Viola, librarian at the Art and Architecture Library, introduced the concept of an open education ecosystem to the community. “We each discussed the open movement, open access, open education resources as well as open data,” she says. The trio will continue the conversation at the Open Education Conference this fall where they will present their work.
Also this fall, Martinez and Jeanne Strausman, chief medical librarian at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, will host an event where students can learn how to administer the life-saving drug Naloxone (Narcan). “All of this work is in an effort to empower the NYIT community to better themselves and the people around them.”