In the Tufts-Skidmore sede, every classroom, or “aula,” is named after an important woman in history. Thus, the Tufts-Skidmore library is named after María Moliner. María Moliner was a Spanish librarian and lexicographer. She is known for having published the “Diccionario de uso del español.” She also presented the Second International Congress of Libraries and Bibliographies with “Rural Libraries and Library Networks in Spain.” Unfortunately, she was never admitted as part of the Real Academia Española despite such achievements.
I have several of my classes in the María Moliner Biblioteca which may be why I love the room so much. My Heritage Spanish class is always held in this room, and so is my Identities and Intersectionality in Spain class. Both the “Queer and Questioning” and “Students of Color” affinity groups that I am part of also take place here. The room is so cozy, and the shelves are filled with books and board games available to all students. The books that I have read from the library so far have, for the most part, been written by Afro-Spanish authors, either because the books were assigned to me for my classes or because of my interests.
One of the books I borrowed from the library was, “Y tú, ¿por qué eres negro?” by Rubén H. Bermúdez. The book has also been translated into English. This was a required reading for my Identities and Intersectionality in Spain class, so of the two copies available in the library, I borrowed one. Since Bermúdez is a photographer, the book is comprised of several photographs with captions beside them. Each caption tells a different story, beginning with the first time he had ever been called “black.” The photographs and their captions tell different stories of what it was like for Bermúdez to grow up as a black person in Spain. He even came to speak to my class and present to us his book and discuss the meaning behind it. I was able to relate to his experiences while seeing myself represented in his photography. Throughout Bermúdez’s presentation, I felt the same sense of home that I feel when I am slouched on a couch in the María Moliner Biblioteca.
It makes me very proud to know I am being represented in the sede, and representation is what ultimately makes the library my favorite spot. Different books cover different intersections, and some function as glossaries to help define intersections and other terms good for properly discussing marginalized groups. From all the incredible women the classrooms are named after to the different sections of literature available to us in the library, I feel very seen and validated. It feels amazing to see books like “Ser Mujer Negra en España” (“Being a Black Woman in Spain”) by Desirée Bela-Lobedde as soon as you enter the library. Works like this one or Bermúdez’s help me to feel less alone in my experiences here and give me an opportunity to check in with myself and my relationship so far with Spain. We are already at the half-way mark of the fall semester, and I am stoked to see what this second half will have in store for me!
Nicole—or Nico for short—is an Afro-Latina from the Bronx, NY who dabbles in poetry, prose, photography, and vocalism. She has published two books to date, both written in English and Spanish. She is currently attending Skidmore College with hopes to obtain two bachelor’s degrees for Spanish and Linguistics. Her ultimate goal is to someday open a school for deaf children in the Dominican Republic. She uses her writing to discuss taboo topics, like what it means to be a woman of color today’s world and how that shapes her perception.