The UCSB Library recently welcomed a new curator to oversee its California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives (CEMA), which houses primary research materials that document the lives and cultures of Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Chicanx/Latinx, and Indigenous populations throughout the state of California.
Angel Diaz, who joined the Library’s Department of Special Research Collections as the CEMA curator in February, said she has always had a strong interest in California history and its peoples
“To work with materials that showcase a history I identify with was a big draw,” said Diaz, who is Mexican-American and was born and raised in California.
Diaz brings a wealth of experience both in librarianship as well as education. She previously served as the University Archivist at Penn State and as a UCLA Library Special Collections processing archivist.
She earned her Master’s in Library and Information Science from UCLA and a Master’s in Education from the University of San Francisco. Diaz is also a founding member of the Los Angeles Archivists Collective, a grassroots organization founded in 2014 to encourage professional development and skill-sharing at the local level.
Diaz is also a 2020-21 fellow in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership and Career Development Program. Prior to her experience in libraries, Diaz was a public school teacher in the Bay Area for five years.
While interning at the California Historical Society, Diaz organized old newspaper collections by county and, in the process, accumulated niche and invaluable knowledge about the entire state. She majored in history as an undergrad and grew up visiting various locales across California. This experience prepared her well for her current role.
Diaz looks forward to growing the already robust collection, which is widely used not only by scholars but also by grade school educators and museum exhibitions.
“There is a lot of new art being produced, especially in this time of political and social action,” said Diaz. “I want to keep a lookout for artists that are working during this time and continue to use our network to grow our collections.”
She seeks to maintain existing connections, such as the relationship between CEMA and the Chicana/o Studies Department, and build new ones. Diaz worked closely with student groups throughout her time at Penn State and hopes to do the same thing at UCSB.
Angel recently moved to Santa Barbara, having spent her first few months in the role working remotely. In her spare time, Angel enjoys gardening, reading, the outdoors, and spending time with her husband and dog Wylie.