Nadia Mira Orozco-Sahi (she/they) is a queer person of color and a first-generation American. They are currently working at the University of New Mexico, which sits on the traditional homelands of the Pueblo of Sandia. They completed their MLIS from the University of Denver in 2021, and in 2022 they were named an ALA Emerging Leader. They are currently the ALA-APA Councilor for the New Mexico Library Association, Chair-Elect of the Rainbow Round Table, a member of the ALA EDI Assembly, and chair of the Orientation Committee for the New Members Round Table. Nadia is a wife and a mother to three kids. They are a firm observer of a 4 o’clock tea time, a life-long morning person, and a late-comer to libraries, having preferred bookstores for most of their life. (Don’t worry – they’ve come around!)
1. What made you want to be part of the IFRT?
News of the challenges and bans have been on my radar for quite a while, and as a member of the queer community, I have found the current climate to be very alarming. Just a few years ago I had the optimism to believe that my children would grow up with literature that more closely reflected their family and their identities. I know that my children still will – they have the privilege of educated moms who will seek out and protect their right to any resources they seek – but that’s not true for every child. Being part of the IFRT is a step I wanted to take to become more involved and proactive, rather than silently reactive.
2. What is your favorite part about being in IFRT?
I am a relatively new member of the IFRT, but so far, I have appreciated how willing IFRT members are to reach out to each other, lend support, engage openly and respectfully about difficult issues, and invite others to do the same. The community is my favorite part.
3. How do you keep up-to-date with IFRT happenings and concerns?
I stay up-to-date with IFRT primarily through ALA Connect and the Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) blog. Recently, I started following IFRT on Instagram. I find the Intellectual Freedom News on the OIF blog page to be especially thorough, well-organized, and a good way to stay informed not only about what is happening with the Round Table, but also what is happening around the country, resources to respond to issues, and overviews of what is being published and talked about. I appreciate the depth and breadth of that snapshot with sources ranging from ALA, NBC to Verge and Teen Vogue. I check in with the BookRiot Censorship section, but find IFRT’s to be a much better encapsulation of what is happening.
4. If you could meet your favorite banned book character, who would you meet and why?
I spent a long time thinking about this – much longer than I spent on any of the other questions in this spotlight. Alana from Saga? Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind? One of Maurice Sendak’s Monsters? I think as a child this would have been easier to answer. Lyra Belacqua, Scout Finch, Hermione Granger… But as an adult? I’d much rather meet the people who have been banned – authors like Maia Kobabe, Alison Bechdel, Maya Angelou, Allen Ginsberg, Marjane Satrapi, and the kids profiled in Beyond Magenta. People who are told their experience, their lives, their identities are inappropriate or harmful when shared with the world.
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians; serves as a channel of communications on intellectual freedom matters; promotes a greater opportunity for involvement among the members of the ALA in defense of intellectual freedom; promotes a greater feeling of responsibility in the implementation of ALA policies on intellectual freedom.