We are pleased to announce the promotion of Librarian Sylvia Reyna as our new Librarian II Archivist for Texana/Genealogy Special Collections. Sylvia has worked for SAPL for nearly 19 years and has been a valuable member of the Texana/Genealogy team since 2007.
Sylvia first became a Certified Archivist in 2015 and with her ongoing commitment to the archival profession, she successfully re-certified with the Academy of Certified Archivists in 2022. Archival certification is important for strengthening the integrity of the archival profession and ensures a standard of excellence in historical preservation and access to primary resources and collections.
Sylvia’s personal and professional connections to the community are very deep. She is frequently sought-out by civic, historical, and genealogical groups to present on topics including Hispanic genealogy, Indigenous groups of Bexar County, preserving family documents and photographs, as well as her ever-popular historical Eastside cemetery tours.
For those of you not familiar with Sylvia, below is a short Q & A designed to further introduce her, both personally and professionally.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in San Antonio at the Nix Hospital, and I lived here until I was in my mid-20s, that was when I decided to leave in order to pursue my archaeological career.
What university did you earn your master’s in library science from?
I received my master’s from the University of North Texas.
What led you to working with archives?
As I was thinking about leaving archaeology, I thought working with archives would be a perfect segue into a very related field.
Can you tell us about a collection you have enjoyed working with?
That would have to be the Gloria Cadena Hispanic genealogy collection. Her research methodology included going south in “los archivos de Mexico” and collecting all the family history information and then making sure it was accessible to all folks here in San Antonio by donating the collection to the San Antonio Public Library. The fact that it is regularly being utilized has made such a difference for people researching their family history.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
If you have a passion, pursue it, it will make you happy and it won’t feel like work. Beyond that, our library patrons are so appreciative when we can help them with an answer they may have been seeking for years and that allows them to have closure, it’s very fulfilling. ‘“Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
What’s something you’ve recently learned about yourself?
Two things come to mind. First, a familial surname has ended up not being what I thought it was. Second, knowing that if I really want to learn something, I can learn it, I just need to do it, to dive right in, not just stick in a little toe.
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
While I was in Hawaii doing archaeology, I thought about pursuing a PhD in World Religions. The multi-cultural diversity within the communities there that you are exposed to on a regular basis really opened my eyes to religions beyond Christianity.
What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
Archives are the gift of one generation to another, they reveal another story, I’m looking forward to perhaps collecting records of marginalized histories and connecting documents in the collection to one another.