Get to know Miguel Ruiz (MS '13), Latino engagement librarian

Miguel Ruiz

Evanston, Illinois, has a growing Latino population—over 10% according to 2015 figures. Building connections with the Latino community served by the Evanston Public Library is what Miguel Ruiz likes best about his job.

Where do you work and what is your role?

As the Latino engagement librarian, I connect with our Latino community in order to develop relevant resources and services. It’s truly an amazing role that fits my skill sets and interests exceedingly well. Previously, I was the e-learning librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I managed the library system’s online instructional design and information literacy portfolio. 

What do you like best about your job?

I truly enjoy connecting directly with our residents throughout the community. I spend a lot of time outside of the library learning about their lives, interests, values, and families, which makes me feel connected to our community both personally and professionally. My position provides the flexibility to dive in and learn about the authentic needs of our community in order to set the library as a community leader and expert.
 
Why did you decide to pursue a degree in LIS?

I am privileged and fortunate to have had incredible mentors throughout my life. I started as a shelver at my hometown library, the DeKalb Public Library, at the age of 16. The director at the time was incredibly insightful and helped me understand librarianship as a profession. I had similarly encouraging and supportive mentors at the University of Illinois as an undergraduate student, where I worked at the Undergraduate Library. These experiences, along with internships and informational interviews throughout my undergraduate career, solidified my interest in the profession. 
 
How did the iSchool help you get to where you are today?

The School and University provided access to numerous opportunities in the form of internships, professional development opportunities, graduate assistantships, an extensive alumni network, and great professors. I received theoretical and practical experiences through my coursework (a special shoutout to Dr. Nicole Cooke and Dr. Robert Burger) that I transferred directly to work experience in the form of a graduate assistantship at The Career Center Library.  The iSchool's career advisors, in tandem with its alumni network, connected me to meaningful opportunities, which helped me land my first professional job after graduation. 
 
What advice would you like to share with iSchool students?

I strongly urge all students to seek volunteer opportunities, practicums, graduate assistantships, and/or other work experiences related to information science that complement their coursework. On that note, students should find ways to connect their coursework (projects, assignments, or the literature) to their work outside of the classroom. These are the type of experiences that not only engage students deeper in their understanding of the coursework and their development as a future information professional but are also key additions to their portfolio that they will be able to build on for years to come, especially as they pursue job opportunities and promotions. 
 
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy running and biking along the Chicago Lakeshore. As a designer in a previous life, I also enjoy spending time developing my amateur photography and graphic design skills. During the week you'll find me listening to podcasts on my commute to work, or hitting the arcade for my skee ball league. During the weekends, you’ll likely catch me enjoying a cold craft beer in a beer garden or catching a local festival. Chicago winters mean lots of Netflix and catching up on my favorite books—narrative non-fiction and post-apocalyptic novels. 

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Four alumni named 2019 Movers and Shakers

Four iSchool alumni are included in Library Journal’s 2019 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes fifty professionals who are transforming what it means to be a librarian. Jarrett Dapier (MS '15) and Gwen Evans (MS '02) were honored in the Change Agents category; Heather Thompson (MS '13) was honored in the Educators category; and Anton Chuppin (MS '99) was honored in the Digital Developers category.

Movers & Shakers 2019

Ferreira appreciates scholarship, Leep program flexibility

For Kelly Ferreira, receiving a Leep Scholarship has made "a world of difference." When she enrolled in the MS/LIS program, she was employed at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Illinois. However, she had to leave her position when she recently moved with her partner across the country. Now working as a library technician at Eastern Florida State College's Palm Bay campus, Ferreira appreciates the flexibility of the Leep online option as well as her scholarship.

Kelly Ferreira

ISAA seeks nominations for annual awards

The iSchool Alumni Association (ISAA) is seeking nominations for three distinguished awards. The awards are given annually at the iSchool alumni reception held at the American Library Association conference. The deadline for nomination is April 1, 2019.

Muhammad honored by BCALA for excellence in librarianship

Fayrene Muhammad (MS '01) has been selected as the 2018 winner of the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship. The annual award is presented to the librarian who has made significant contributions to promote the status of African Americans in the library profession. These contributions may include, but are not limited to, research and scholarship, recruitment, professional development, planning or implementation of programs, or advocacy.

Fayrene Muhammad

Linda C. Smith named Illinois Library Luminary

Professor and Executive Associate Dean Linda C. Smith (MS '72) has been named an Illinois Library Luminary by the Illinois Library Association (ILA). This distinction honors individuals whose efforts have made a significant contribution to Illinois libraries. Smith's nearly 50-year career began when she came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library Science (now the School of Information Sciences) in 1971 shortly after graduating summa cum laude in physics and mathematics from Allegheny College (PA). She received her MS from Illinois in 1972 and spent a year at Washington University School of Medicine Library in St. Louis as a trainee in computer librarianship. She then earned an MS in information and computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1975 and a PhD from Syracuse University, School of Information Studies in 1979. 

Linda Smith, Professor and Executive Associate Dean