We’re thrilled to announce our 2022 participants for the inaugural Equity Mentorship Program. It was a true pleasure to meet and get to know our finalists during a rigorous application and interview process. We're very excited to see how each participant engages with the curriculum and incorporates it into their daily lives and future careers. 

METRO’s Equity Mentorship Program supports BIPOC students and early professionals in the library and archives field. Our intention is to present a curriculum that will aid BIPOC in their careers, while creating an opportunity for collaboration, community, networking, and mentorship. This program will take place from October 2022 through June 2023, with Zoom classes concluding in December 2022 and a scholarship for additional continuing education available to be used through June 2023.

Here are the 2022 Equity Mentorship Program Participants:

Gabrielle Afable is a librarian from Chicago. She studied Linguistics and American Studies at CUNY's Brooklyn College and Library Science at Pratt’s School of Information. Gabrielle is currently the program assistant for the NYPL Jail & Prison Services Department, which serves patrons incarcerated in New York and across the country. She is also a founding member of the P.I.T. Collective, a space providing books, records, music lessons, and media preservation services to its neighbors in South Williamsburg. Gabby's work reflects her interest in libraries as sites of political education and the pursuit of non-proprietary models for resource sharing and distribution. 

Nic Caldwell (he/they) is a Metadata Specialist at the New York Public Library, where he is concerned with increasing access to libraries and special collections for underrepresented communities. His interest in library work is to challenge the boundaries of who has access to knowledge, who creates history, and whose stories get to be told. Nic is a 2021 graduate of New York University, with a Masters in Library and Information Science and a Masters in English Literature, concentrating in Special Collections and African American literature.

Olivia Newsome (she/her) is currently pursuing a dual Master’s degree in Archives and Public History at NYU and Library and Information Science at LIU Post. Olivia focuses on critical archival theory and how to apply disability theory to our work as information professionals. She previously earned a Bachelor degree in History from NYU, where she focused on Black history, Atlantic history, and Women’s and Queer histories with minors in American Sign Language and Indigenous Studies.

Raquel Parrilla is currently a Graduate Assistant (GA) at the University Libraries of St. John’s University Queens Campus, where she is also pursuing her M.S  in Library and Information Science. As a GA, Raquel is currently working on a Zotero LibGuide for incoming students and assisting with reorganization of the St. John’s University Archives in preparation for future digitization. With a special interest in children’s and young adult librarianship, she is looking forward to serving the children of Queens as a Children’s Librarian. Raquel previously graduated from CUNY-Lehman where she studied English Literature and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

When not working or studying, you will find Raquel running around with her 8-year-old daughter and 2-year-old mini-Australian Shepherd, seeking out any excuse to be in nature, listening to podcasts, and, often, in the kitchen. 

Roxanne Russell is a Guyanese-born New Yorker who has worked for The New York Public Library for many years in branches in Midtown Manhattan, Central Bronx, and the East Village. She has worked in both adult and children’s services during her time as a Library Information Assistant. Being raised in the South Bronx and her prior experience working in low-income neighborhoods gave Roxanne an understanding of the disparities in the socioeconomic status of individuals in various neighborhoods in New York City. As a result, she returned to her Bronx roots by accepting an offer in children’s librarianship, as she saw a need for service in underserved communities.

Roxanne graduated from the MLIS program at the University of Denver in Spring 2022. She is currently a Children’s Librarian at West Farms Library. Roxanne is also currently part of The New York Public Library’s Romance Book Committee, where she contributed to NYPL’s Best Books for Adults 2021 and impending Best Books for Adults 2022. 

We are extremely grateful to work with an exciting and knowledgeable group of professionals to lead each class. They are: 

  • Dr. Kawanna Bright, Assistant Professor of Library Science at East Carolina University
  • Jessica Hochman, PhD (As part of We Need 2 Talk)
  • Tonya Leslie, PhD (As part of We Need 2 Talk)
  • Diana Moronta, Instruction and Technology Librarian at New York Institute of Technology-Manhattan Library
  • Rob Simmons, Director of Social Services and Public Safety at Oak Park Public Library (IL)
  • Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, Assistant Curator and Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Engagement at New York University Division of Libraries


Program Managers

Traci Mark, Program Manager: Equity, Archives & Media Preservation (tmark@metro.org)

Davis Erin Anderson, Director of Programs and Partnerships (deanderson@metro.org)

Nate Hill, Executive Director (nhill@metro.org)