What Roberto Meant To Us

Roberto C. Delgadillo joined the Latinx Talk Editorial Board in 2017. It was a year of transition for us, from a site run by women and for women since 2010, Mujeres Talk, to one that could engage multiple Chicanx and Latinx studies communities and gender expressions as well as the broader project of Ethnic studies in U.S. higher education. In the spirit of the change, we not only changed our name but we expanded our editorial team. Our colleagues Miguel Juárez and Miroslava Chavez-Garcia recommended Roberto. Miguel first met Roberto when they were both candidates for a curator position at Texas A&M University and enjoyed his intellect, inquisitiveness, and great sense of humor. When Miguel departed Latinx Talk, he recommended colleagues Roberto and Isabel, because he knew that they would both bring their library strengths and scholarly expertise to the publication. Miroslava had known and worked with Roberto during her UC Davis appointment, where he was always ready and willing to lend a hand to students or assist with faculty issues.

Having grown up in a place where the only people with the same last name as she were cousins, Theresa Delgadillo was delighted to reach out to another Delgadillo and was surprised to learn that he wasn’t from Mexico, but from Nicaragua! Roberto agreed to serve on the Editorial Board for Latinx Talk and remained a generous contributor to the site for the past five years. He helped us to build the site into one of value for Latinx studies through his many contributions to calls for papers, reviewing submissions, and especially by offering his expertise, along with Isabel Espinal, on our indexing and Mini-Readers projects from 2020-2021. These latter meetings were opportunities for Theresa to get to know Roberto better and she so enjoyed chatting with him about student research projects and exhibits, and thinking about the genealogy of our site, Latinx Talk, in the longer history of Chicanx and Latinx studies digital communication platforms dating back to the listserv launched by librarians Theresa Marquez, Roberto Vasquez and Beto Calderon in the late 1990s. He had a sense of the place of our project in the history of Latinx studies, and valued work happening in this field across all disciplines. Our project, just as earlier digital projects, is one fueled by selfless dedication and activism in advancing our fields in a higher education landscape where funding for Latinx studies projects has been extremely rare.

Working within these constraints was a challenge that Roberto repeatedly met with dedication, humor, advocacy, and resilience. He invested time in our most important resource: each other. His attention to relationship-building was not limited to networking with important people but evident everyday in the respect and support he offered each and every student and colleague with whom he worked. During one of our meetings to discuss the indexing and Mini-Readers project, Roberto took the time to get to know the undergraduate student on the project, Rosa Amador, questioning her about her goals and interests, and Roberto eagerly spoke with her about MLIS programs and offered to write recommendations. Theresa says “I will never forget his very obvious joy at meeting and engaging with a young scholar, which is exactly how we hope all of our students are greeted by those in academia, and I see from the many tributes offered by his colleagues, that Roberto, indeed, excelled at working with young scholars.” Equally important, he did it from a selfless conviction of the need to support the community.

We join Roberto’s colleagues and friends and family everywhere in celebrating his life and contributions, including tributes from UC Davis Library and REFORMA. We share select testimonials, with permission, below this post. These many remembrances also serve as inspiration to us to keep going in the work we are doing.

Building Chicanx and Latinx studies has only come into being and grown through the dedicated work of multiple professionals, though the work of these many professionals often goes undocumented. In his lifetime, Roberto’s work was recognized by his peers in several ways: he was President of the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) from 2013-2014 and in 2012 he was awarded the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.

Roberto’s expertise was so valuable to advancing the indexing and Mini-Readers project for Latinx Talk, ensuring that this publication would continue to be accessible and useful in Latinx studies, and we honestly would not have made as much progress as we did on it without his advice and support. We express gratitude for him in the Acknowledgments section of every Mini-Reader. He nurtured the fields in which he was an Information Sciences expert (Latinx and Latin American Studies) and promoted library resources in multiple fields in his capacity as a UC Davis Librarian through physical exhibits, bibliographic resource pages and sites, and encouraging students and peers with good cheer and humor at professional conferences and book shows. Through this largely undocumented and unacknowledged work, Roberto touched many lives and made many contributions to building Latinx studies. Although we always dreamed of getting a grant that would allow our national Editorial Board to gather and strategize in person over the future of the site, we made do with Zoom before it became the go-to platform for remote meetings. When the COVID19 pandemic hit and plans for an in-person gathering were further postponed, the possibility of meeting in person was again delayed. Several of us regret never having had the opportunity to give Roberto a big hug for all he gave us and meant to us.

Our professional connection led to our personal connections on Facebook, where Roberto’s skill at relationship-building was evident in his steady stream of humorous and playful posts through which he invited us all to step away from the stress and laugh, to laugh with each other, to enjoy each other’s company even if only virtually. We looked forward to those even if we didn’t always offer an answer to his “caption this” exercise. And in his spirit, we ask you to join us in celebrating Roberto C. Delgadillo by captioning this photo in the Leave a Comment section (at the top of this post):

Roberto holding up a book titled Unprofessional Behavior
Photo courtesy of LaTrice A Brown.

Professional Tributes to Dr. Roberto C. Delgadillo:
Example of excellence in Latinx librarianship

“A Constant Light” – by REFORMA

REFORMA is the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking

Remembering Dr. Roberto C. Delgadillo

Yesterday we learned about the untimely passing of one of REFORMA’s most vibrant members, Dr. Roberto C. Delgadillo. Roberto was a Research Support Services Librarian at the University of California, Davis Library where his areas of emphasis included: Chicana/o Studies, Cinema, English Language and Literatures, Latin American Studies, Military Science, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures.

Born in Managua, Nicaragua, Roberto’s family moved to the United States in 1975. Roberto held a BA in Modern German and Russian History from UC Santa Cruz, and a MLIS and a PhD in Modern Latin American History, both from UCLA. Roberto is survived by his wife, Robin Gustafson, who is also part of the REFORMA family. Our sincerest condolences to Robin.

Aside from being an unwavering long-time REFORMA member, Roberto was a President of SALALM, the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (2013-2014) and one of the few REFORMA members to have received the The Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award (2012).

Roberto was an active player in REFORMA’s California Gold Chapter when it was active and was working toward its reinstatement prior to his health complications.

Many remember Roberto as a friendly person who had an incomparable sense of humor. He was a constant light during conference times and was a supporter of so many library organizations and groups. More than anything, he was a great friend and mentor to many, always welcoming students and professionals to reach out to him if they ever needed support.

Roberto’s wife Robin shared in a heartfelt message, “He had a huge and open heart – he absolutely loved his profession and colleagues – more than anything he loved helping students navigate their college experience – he was truly a 24/7 librarian, often answering those 2 am questions from desperate students.”

In a profession that is so close-knit and scarce in representation, Roberto was an example of excellence in Latino librarianship who proudly served his community of students and lifelong learners.

For REFORMA, the profession, and the UC Davis community, Roberto’s is a devastating loss. We remember him fondly and will continue to honor him, like others who have gone before us, in our mission and the work we all continue to do.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to EveryLibrary or SALALM, two organizations close to Roberto’s heart.

¡Roberto Delgadillo, presente!

REFORMA Executive Committee

David Lopez (he/him/él)
REFORMA, 2022-2023 Vice-President/President-Elect

“More than anything he loved helping students navigate their college experience” – by Robin Gustafson

Roberto and his wife Robin.
Roberto and his wife Robin.

Dear, dear family, friends and colleagues who loved and cherished Roberto and are heart-broken by his death as I am,

Some of you may know he battled significant health issues over the past several months. You all know he was a fighter, but these issues proved overwhelming. He told me he did not want anyone to cry at his death (we all know this is NOT possible!)

I am in shock and unable to articulate what his loss means to me. He was the smartest, funniest, most generous person I’ve ever known. He had a huge and open heart – he absolutely loved his profession and colleagues – more than anything he loved helping students navigate their college experience – he was truly a 24/7 librarian, often answering those 2 a.m. questions from desperate students.

He did not want a traditional memorial service. True to who he was, he wanted people to gather and have a good time – a party. One of his greatest pleasures in life was to help those around him laugh and enjoy themselves. He would always station himself in a room where he could greet old friends, colleagues, and newcomers alike.

There will be a private family service as well as a celebration of his life, date TBD.

Much love and thank you’s for your condolences, tributes, and memories.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to EveryLibrary (https://www.everylibrary.org/) or SALALM (https://salalm.org/donate), two organizations close to Roberto’s heart.

Robin Gustavson
[Roberto’s wife]

“Cool Demeanor and Gentleness” – by Nelson Santana

When do you tell someone that you love them? Hopefully at some point while having the opportunity to communicate with them.

I met Don Roberto—as I affectionately call him—in 2014. At the time, I was one of that year’s SALALM Scholarship recipients. I met him via phone weeks (most likely months) prior to that year’s annual conference in Utah. Actually, Don Roberto is one of the reasons why I continued to attend the yearly SALALM conferences, because I yearned to spend time with him.

The year 2014 is one of the fondest of my life: I left my position at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, where I had been working for seven years, to purse graduate studies at Rutgers U. That same year, I obtained my graduate degree in librarianship, one year and three months after completing my first graduate degree. In 2014, I also received several fellowships, scholarships, and due to these awards, had the privilege of traveling across the United States to attend conferences such as SALALM and ALA.

However, something magical happened that year: I was formally welcomed into the SALALM family.

Going back to Don Roberto, I recall our conversación. We spoke over the phone for what I felt was an extremely long time, yet I felt as though I was speaking to a friend I had known for years and not once did either of us rush the conversation. The call’s purpose was to inquire whether or not I was willing to present on “Dominican Republicans”—I kid you not, Don Roberto used this phrase. Of course, he meant to say “Dominicans” or “people from the Dominican Republic.” I share this detail not to tarnish Don Roberto’s memory, but to illustrate how special of a conversation we had and the uniqueness that made him HIM.

During that conversation, his cool demeanor and gentleness convinced me to present at SALALM. It was not until after the conversation that I started freaking out about having to present in front of the largest crowd I would experience up to that point in time.

Don Roberto was one of the people I looked forward to seeing at the yearly SALALM conference. His work ethic was unmatched (e.g. former SALALM president and also served as the organization’s sole rapporteur general for years) and his kindness had no boundaries. One is not awarded the “I Love My Librarian Award” without touching hearts.

Over the years, we would speak over the phone, especially as his health declined. We never rushed our conversations, devoting all attention to one another while on the phone. La última vez que conversamos fue unas semanas atrás, cuando pedí ayuda con un artículo en LA-LA-L, siendo Don Roberto una de las personas que respondió mi mensaje (y también llamó) para dejarme saber que le escribiera a él cuando necesitara ayuda con algo.

SALALM will be different moving forward.

Paz a su alma. Mis condolencias para Robin y familia.

Don Roberto, you will be missed.

Gracias,
Nelson Santana

Prof. Nelson Santana, MS(LIS), MA (Study of the Americas)
Assistant Professor / Deputy Chief & Collection Development Librarian
Bronx Community College of The City University of New York
President, Library Association of The City University of New York (LACUNY)
Treasurer, Dominican Studies Association (DSA)
Co-Rapporteur General, Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials ​(SALALM)
2022 CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Fellow

“Extraordinary Lens and Vision” – by Sandra Ríos Balderrama

Aye Roberto. Where did you go, so soon? Leaving us behind?

Robin – my condolences to you, his life partner, one he chose and you chose him and I send love and gentle strength. How beautiful you two are and were…with stacks of books, as gifts, for every Valentine’s Day, every birthday, every holiday. Such a photogenic couple sharing the joy in life.

Whew. Roberto, I loved your knowledge and love of poets and poetry and your knowledge of WWI and WWII and so much more. We discussed Edna Vincent Millay and the Nicaraguan poet she loved. Essentially I always learned from and with you, every time we had time to share.

When my niece went to UC Davis, years ago, you said you would be there for her. When I asked if it was OK to connect you with a young Latinx trans man who was thinking of obtaining an MLIS, you said “of course, Sandra.”

So many moments but one with Sara Martinez and you at FIL discussing our love for Moleskine mini-journals…the lined ones, the blank ones, the one with the wrap around cord to keep our thoughts and epiphanies safe.

You took a lead in creating/restoring the California Gold chapter of REFORMA and loved SALALM and ALA and touched a million and one and more lives in ways I will never know.

You were hilarious and out-of-the-box and I used to purposely seek out your point of view just because I valued your extraordinary lens and vision.

I know your health struggled. Yes, I thought you’d always come back, return, boomerang with gusto back into our lives.

So today, I read and feel deep sorrow for and with our profession, for and with our mysterious and beautiful world. I had no idea how much your life touched my being. We are supposed to party and celebrate you. It’s so hard right now, but we will get there.

To Robin, your family, and every place you stepped and pondered and shared and laughed and listened and told…I offer my humble condolences, love and gratitude.

I know the Ancestors received and embraced you with a hearty hug, so happy to receive your joyful and playful spirit in the Sky World.

May you Rest in Peace, Love, and Power.
Thank you Roberto.
Gracias Hermano.
You were a Great One.

Robin. With love, I hold space for you and thank you for your presence and connection with Roberto and all of us.

Love,
~Sandra
Sandra Rios Balderrama
Arizona
Former President, REFORMA

“Esa gran voz radiofónica que tenía” – by Jesús Alonso-Regalado

Roberto playfully peering over a display board.
En la FIL.

As many of you, I still feel in shock.

Whenever my phone rang (not often anymore), it was a good chance it was Roberto calling to chat. He will never respond to my emails. He will just read them and call me right away.
Leyendo los comentarios de muchos de ustedes puedo ver como tuvimos una experiencia similar con Roberto. Siempre recordaré su voz, esa gran voz radiofónica que tenía. Y cómo nos hacía reír. Su generosidad era enorme. Esa voz reconfortante, de ánimo. En un mundo de tanto email y tantos mensajes de texto, estas llamadas de Roberto nos ayudaron tanto! Siempre recordaré las veces en las que le pedí ayuda y me brindó su mano generosa. En varias ocasiones terminé experimentando cosas por las que Roberto ya había pasado y sus consejos fueron fundamentales para mi.

Creo que de manera formal o informal Roberto fue un mentor magnífico para muchos de nosotros. Acabo de leer el mensaje de Pamela y me pregunto si una buena manera de honrar y recordarle puede ser llamar a nuestro mentorship program con su nombre y apoyar de alguna manera este programa con alguna actividad que apoye iniciativas de mentorship en nuestra organización.

Roberto, te recordaremos en una semanas en la FIL. Te buscaremos en el lobby del hotel donde ibas recibiendo a tantos bibliotecarios según regresaban de la feria. Vivir la FIL sin ti no será lo mismo. Muchos sentiremos que tu voz todavía se escucha por esos pasillos de la FIL.
Siempre entre libros.

Jesús Alonso-Regalado, Subject Librarian
History
Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies
Romance Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University Library
University at Albany, SUNY

“He Made So Many of Us Feel Welcome and Cared About and Seen” – by D. Ryan Lynch

It has been more than 36 hours since I learned of Roberto’s passing and I am still in shock. I cannot imagine SALALM (or FIL) without him. I cannot imagine a world in which he won’t be picking up the phone to congratulate or encourage new SALALMistas. I cannot imagine how we will all pick up his burden and give to SALALM in so many ways.

Twenty four hours ago, I thought I had unique, personal experiences with Roberto: him buying all of my drinks one night during my first SALALM, him calling me within five minutes of me sharing on social media that I had gotten a job. I have realized, however, that this was the same experience that so many SALALMistas and REFORMAistas and others had. He made so many of us feel welcome and cared about and seen. He was generous with advice and gentle with criticism.

Now I am lucky enough to work with graduate students and meet with many more through the conference attendance scholarship. Just as Roberto and so many others have paid for my drinks, meals, and taxi rides and offered me so many hours of time (the most valuable gift of all), I try to do my part. I don’t think of Roberto every time I take students to lunch or help someone with a job application, but I do tell them that I hope they will pay it forward. And while I am disappointed that there are already SALALMistas who will never know Roberto, I am confident that so many of us are paying forward his generosity and example that his spirit will live for a long, long time.

Ryan

D RYAN LYNCH, Head of Special Collections & Librarian for Brazilian Studies
Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection
The University of Texas at Austin

“Brilliant, Funny, Sarcastic and Well-Spoken” – by Max Macias

I am stunned.

Roberto was one of the most real people I know.

He was brilliant, funny, sarcastic and well-spoken.

I think he could hold a conversation on almost anything and was generous with his time and knowledge.

He encouraged me and was always supportive of my work as well as the work of many others.

We have lost a gem!

Much love to Robin and his family!

I am truly sorry for your loss.

Max Macias
Technology Trainer and Instructor in Information Literacy
Portland Community College
Portland, Oregon
Lowrider Librarian creator & co founder and editor of Librarians with Spines

“A Great Conversationalist, Librarian, and Friend” – by Suzanne Schadl

Photo by Suzanne Schadl.

All, like many of you, I am still processing the absence of Roberto in our lives going forward, and looking back on his presence and the impact he made. I too felt welcomed to SALALM in large part because of Roberto and I appreciated his biting humor, generosity, and intelligence. Among the many memories racing through my head, is Roberto the reader – perhaps the counter to his festive exuberance, but part of what made him such a great conversationalist, librarian, and friend! Roberto really loved to read, and found his match in Robin. He also loved the German language, and as I think of his life on the painful occasion of his death — and during these days of the dead (as pictured in the attached, someone has included his photo on the altar in the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress) — I find myself stealing words from Rainer Maria Rilke – translated to English in A Year with Rilke: Daily Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke: “The great secret of death, and perhaps its deepest connection with us, is this: that, in taking from us a being we have loved and venerated, death does not wound us without, at the same time, lifting us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and of ourselves.”

Rest, in power and pride, and with love friend!

Suzanne Schadl
Chief of the Latin American, Caribbean and European Division
Library of Congress

“He Was Also a Mentor” – by Mike L. Marlin

This is indeed very sad news. I can remember many a time Roberto caused me to laugh out loud at a serious moment in an ALA meeting.

He played a vital role on the 2016-17 ALA Conference Accessibility Task Force. His contributions from a mobility perspective were invaluable!

He was also a mentor.

Adios, hermano.

Mike L. Marlin
Director, California Braille and Talking Book Library
American Library Association Councilor at Large

“Knowledgeable Librarian with a Heart of Gold” – by Paloma Celis Carbajal

Roberto was the perfect model of a great and very knowledgeable librarian with a heart of gold who was always grounded and ready for a good laugh.

The SALALM conference program that he planned was an excellent introspective exercise to better understanding who we are as an organization and the importance of the relations we forge with our professional peers. He showed us also about the importance of extending our networks to peers outside of academia.

I admired his years of commitment and dedication as our organization’s rapporteur and loved his calm and cool way of reciting our organization’s bylaws or Robert’s rules of order during executive meetings.

We will never be the same without him but we are also better thanks to him.

¡Que la tierra te sea leve, querido Roberto!

-Paloma

Paloma Celis Carbajal
Curator for Latin American, Iberian, and U.S. Latino Collections
The New York Public Library

“Beamed with Enthusiasm for Serving Communities and Growing Collections and Access” – by Elissa Miller

So sad to receive this news.

What would many (15 plus) years of FIL Guadalajara be without seeing and gathering with Roberto?

From the “early years” back at Hotel Plaza del Sol to the more officially organized ALA trips, Roberto was a spark for sharing among so many. How many conversations we had on the “floor” and in those hotel lobbies, musing on our professional endeavors, discovering “tesoros” at the booths, making friends from near and far along with non-stop laughing and chismeando for hours?

You knew that you arrived when Roberto appeared in Guadalajara. He so naturally created the space for organizing shared tours and serial late night parties after days of “work.” Throughout, Roberto beamed with enthusiasm for serving communities and growing collections and access. He could carry on a conversation on the most current topic along with the seemingly up til then most obscure tidbit.

We were thrilled when Robin started coming to FIL, sharing her charm and accompanying us over those years.

Thank you Roberto for all the joy and friendship.

Love to Roberto’s family, colleagues and our community of bibliotecarixs.

I’m smiling seeing Roberto’s bright eyes along with the tears,

Roberto Presente!

Abrazos,
Elissa

Elissa Miller
Former Associate Director, Collections
District of Columbia Public Library

“Did Not Hesitate for a Second” about “Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading ‘Illegal Aliens’” – by Jill Baron

I too feel immense shock at this news and join you in grieving Roberto Delgadillo’s untimely passing.

Roberto seemed to me a permanent fixture of SALALM, a colleague whose constancy and dedication strengthened the organization and served as an example for others to follow, and whose patience, good humor, and command of Robert’s Rules kept things on track during Executive Board meetings. Who knew Robert’s Rules better than Roberto??? He was of course so much more than that, as many of you have so beautifully described.

Many have spoken to Roberto’s generosity, and I’d like to add a story to the mix. I reached out to Roberto last year to see if he would be willing, in his capacity as an ALA Council member, to move the “Resolution on Replacing the Library of Congress Subject Heading “Illegal Aliens” Without Further Delay” that Tina Gross, Violet Fox, and I co-wrote. He agreed and presented it to Council during the 2021 Annual Meeting. Debate that ensued over the resolution was contentious and difficult and the Council voted to move the resolution to the Committee on Legislation for further study. It was a frustrating outcome, but I’ll always be grateful to Roberto for his unwavering support before, during, and after the meeting. Yes – like others have recalled with fondness – we had so many phone and zoom calls to prepare and then process after the fact! I so appreciated that Roberto did not hesitate for a second to use his access to the ALA governing body to support this work, and that is an inspiration.

Let’s build on Roberto’s legacy of generosity and mentorship. Que descanse en paz, Roberto.

Jill Baron (she, her)
Research Librarian
Baker-Berry Library
Dartmouth College

Filmmaker, Change the Subject

“His Bibliographic Essay on ‘La Frontera: The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands’ Has Been Downloaded Over 750 Times” – by Anne Doherty

Dear RCL and RCL: Career Resources Subject Editors:

It is with great sadness that I share news that Roberto C. Delgadillo died earlier this week. Roberto has served as the Resources for College Libraries subject editor for Latino/a Studies since 2012. He was the Student Services Librarian at the Peter J. Shields Library at the University of California-Davis, supporting research in Chicana/o studies, cinema, English language and literatures, Latin American studies, military science, Native American studies, philosophy, political science, religious studies, and Spanish and Portuguese languages and literatures. Roberto was a 2012 recipient of The New York Times I Love My Librarian Award and was deeply involved in service to the profession, including as President to SALALM (2013-14) and as a member of ALA Council.

Over the past decade, I asked Roberto for a number of favors and he always agreed, going above and beyond the standard RCL editorial responsibilities – usually giving me helpful advice along the way. His RCL bibliographic essay on “La Frontera: The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands” has been downloaded over 750 times since 2018; last year he joined me and other RCL editors for a panel on “What Subject Librarians Can Teach Us About Managing Collections”; and he was profiled in a “Faces of RCL” marketing campaign, including joking that he defies the librarian stereotype with “no cats…[and] no cardigan.” In the days before Zoom was omnipresent, Roberto would call me periodically just to chat and to make sure “everything looked good” with his RCL editorial work and inevitably our conversation would lead in many directions, from LOC subject heading language to the state of Spanish-language acquisitions. Ever the bibliographer, he usually had a library cart filled with books in the background during video meetings.

Many of you may know Roberto from RCL subject editor discussions or through SALALM, ALA, REFORMA, APALA or another library network. Roberto was a dedicated and generous colleague and I will miss working with him. I extend my deep condolences to his wife Robin Gustafson and family, his UC Davis colleagues, and the many others in the library community touched by his lively spirit.

Anne

Anne Doherty
Resources for College Libraries (RCL) Project Editor
Choice Magazine

“Roberto’s Life Could be a Book” – by Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros

I read the news this morning and cried. I only knew Roberto from a few casual encounters. He was one of the first people I met from SALALM and always looked forward to seeing him at the next gathering. I appreciated his humor, wit, and great stories. At Austin, we got rained out together walking between venues and we started swapping stories about our childhood. I thought Roberto’s life could be a book. He was the best of us, a colleague you wanted in your corner, a dedicated researcher, creative with his librarianship, dedicated to serving faculty and staff, and someone whose advice (about anything) was always insightful. His social media posts were the best!

I am sad that he is gone and I will look to his example to guide how I want to show up as a person and as a colleague.

I hope there will be a way to honor him/name something after him. I just want to keep him around SALALM with us and let his legacy and his life work serve as a lasting example.

I am learning so much from his life, about what really matters in our work and also all the places Roberto was contributing to, like the Latinx Talk editorial board. What a humble person and dedicated advocate, if only all Library and Information Studies leaders could be like this! He certainly left a clear path about how to support and empower a community.

I am sorry to everyone for the loss of this great man. Thank you for letting us know of his passing.

Abrazos,
Pamela

Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros
Assistant Professor, Latin American, Iberian, and Latino/a Studies Librarian
University Libraries
Ohio State University
Contributing Editor at The Librarian Parlor

“The Best Start… I Could Ever Ask For” – by Gabriel Antúnez De Mayolo Kou

I just joined SALALM this year and Roberto became my mentor. We had an amazing conversation, with valuable suggestions about how to develop my career. As a Ph.D academic who just entered the Library Studies world, his comments and suggestions were valuable to introduce me to the network and community he was so proud to be part of. He made me feel I will be always be welcome here, something that I felt since day one. As I told him (and he laughed), “You guys have the best email chains ever!” And I am sure he was proud of it.

Although I feel sad that I could not share more conversations with him, I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet this wonderful person. He was the best start in SALALM I could ever ask for. Gracias, Roberto.

Gabriel Antúnez De Mayolo Kou
PhD Candidate (ABD), Hispanic Studies Program
Department of Romance Languages & Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis

“You made my college experience a positive one…” – by Raquel Narrea

There are so many things to say about Roberto. He was a kind soul. He inspired many students to  pursue their dreams. He motivated and believed in us.

My heart sank when I learned of your passing. Thank you for your humor, your advice, and your support. You made my college experience a positive one by making it less intimidating. I learned something new every time I spoke to you.  You are truly missed!

Raquel Narrea

UC Davis Alum

“Muy generoso” – by Loida Garcia-Febo

Mis condolencias a la esposa y la familia de mi querido amigo Roberto C. Delgadillo. Mucha luz y un abrazo fuerte, Robin Gustafson🙏🏻 Conocí a Roberto en la Feria del Libro de Guadalajara probablemente en el 2002. Excelente persona, consejero, muy generoso, inteligentísimo, con un gran sentido de humor. La noticia es devastadora. Se le hechara mucho de menos🕊

También, muchas gracias a David López y a REFORMA EB por el emotivo obit recién publicado.
En solidaridad, Loida
Loida Garcia-Febo
International Library Consultant
Former President, American Library Association
Former President, REFORMA

“Gracias, Roberto” – by Isabel Espinal

The week of October 31, 2022, the week of Día de los Muertos, my email inbox and Facebook timeline were flooded with tributes to my Latinx Talk Editorial Board and librarian compañero Roberto Delgadillo. I’ve known Roberto for many years in REFORMA and then in SALALM and Latinx Talk, but in his death I got to know him even more through all the stories that were pouring forth. I felt especially privileged to be in so many different spaces with this person such that I was privy to different aspects of his life, to be a witness to how he deeply touched so many different people through his actions. I send my condolences to his wife Robin and all the writers here who had such intimate connections with him.

As Editorial Board member, I got the idea to publish these tributes here on Latinx Talk so Roberto could be shared with the greater Latinx community and with the world. Modifying slightly a statement in one of the tributes, I am grateful to Roberto for providing us this beautiful example of excellence in Latinx librarianship, for offering us a way to showcase the power of Latinx librarians for Latinx studies and in the lives of Latinx people.

I want to thank all the writers who gave permission for their tributes to be published. And gracias, to you, Roberto: through these stories, in your death, you are teaching us all how to live. You are still teaching.

Isabel Espinal
Latinx Talk Editorial Board member

Librarian for African Studies, Afro American Studies, Latin American, Caribbean & Latinx Studies, Native American & Indigenous Studies, Spanish & Portuguese, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Former President, REFORMA

One comment

  1. I just learned of this over-email, over-the-phone and over-USPS friend Roberto Delgadillo’s passing. What a loss to all and anyone whose library collections and personal conversations benefited from his generosity in lively interactions and information sharing.
    I recently read a cartoon that included the statement “I like the sound policy makes when I break it” or something to that effect. He opposed banning, hiding, or not sharing truths based on library policy. Thanks again for a copy of that dvd Roberto. I haven’t told anyone, 😉
    but it helped our library researcher publish their paper. Travel well, my friend, YOU, your humor and pleito, will be missed. A grateful colega. EPD

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