Welcome Christopher!

June 13, 2023

College Library is pleased to welcome Christopher Perez to our staff as a new public services librarian. In this position he will provide research support (through reference, instruction, and outreach) to undergraduates who are learning the foundations of the research process. A recent graduate of the iSchool at UW-Madison, Christopher has held positions at Verona Public Library as well as completing a practicum at Monona Public Library. He has significant teaching experience, including as a TA for the iSchool undergraduate course, Information Divides & Differences in a Multicultural Society. In that role he managed instruction in both a fully online (pandemic) course experience and the transition back to in-person classes.

Christopher received his undergraduate degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, completing a self-designed major in Storytelling Studies that combined his interest in speech & debate and performance. (Christopher participated in forensic competitions from 7th through 12th grade, eventually becoming a state champion.) He credits Dr. Angela Hurley with helping him design a course of study that included classes in English literature, theatre, communications, and psychology. He remains fascinated with oral storytelling – why it is an essential human experience and its power to move an audience.

These skills served Christopher well when he moved to Madison and joined AmeriCorps, working for the Dane County Human Services program “Partners for After School Success.” For two years he mentored up to thirty 6th to 8th graders, improving their literacy and explaining the research process. When he became a teaching assistant in graduate school, Christopher found that middle-schoolers and undergraduates have a lot in common. Both groups are in a transition phase and often test their limits in a new environment. He enjoys having the opportunity to challenge their preconceptions and biases. A firm believer in the Socratic method and small-group discussion, Christopher finds it most rewarding when students also serve as instructors to their peers. He likens his role in the classroom to that of a coach, guiding students to a deeper understanding of the material.

Christopher will also be part of ongoing conversations and organization-wide efforts to ensure that the library and its collections are welcoming and reflect a variety of student perspectives, with specific efforts to raise the visibility of voices and experiences of people with marginalized identities in our spaces. Christopher is constantly reflecting on these ideas and what they personally mean to him, “I have been wrestling with my identities for as long as I can remember, and now that I find myself in a position with ‘Diversity’ in the title it has generated inner conflict with my relationship to that word. What exactly is a Diversity Resident Librarian? Am I what people envision? Am I what I envision?” He expanded on this theme, noting, “I am a person who is physically disabled, neuro-atypical, and of Puerto Rican decent. However, depending on the context, like who I am around, I am all of these identities at once, only some of them, or none of them. To some, I am entirely white passing, and all my disabilities are invisible, other times they are definitely not. Finding a balance within myself will always be a struggle, and I think that’s okay. It’s okay for me to be unsure, for me to be conflicted, and for me to keep reflecting and asking myself ‘Who am I?.’ Meanwhile, I’m just going to keep doing the best job I can to help others.”

When not at the library, Christopher enjoys gaming in of all its varieties – video, board, card, improv, and table-top role-playing. He is also an avid bicyclist and brewery aficionado. College Library is delighted to have someone of Christopher’s caliber lend their talents to our mission to serve undergraduates at UW-Madison. Please join us in welcoming him to the library.