Baylor Grad Heads State Library, Archives
Gloria Meraz, B.A. ’90, was named Director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and State Librarian of Texas last summer. She is the first person of color — as well as the first Hispanic woman — to be the Texas State Librarian since the role was created in 1909.
Meraz, who earned a bachelor’s in museum studies at Baylor, earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995. She worked as a docent at Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library, where she developed exhibits for the library.
After completing her master’s, Meraz was an archivist for the Texas Library Association and eventually became the association’s communications director, a role she held for 17 years. Thereafter, she joined TSLAC as assistant director in 2016. She began her current role Sept. 1, 2021.
“Being at the helm of the agency puts me in a position to really make changes and improvements for the people that we serve,” Meraz said.
According to Meraz, the mission of TSLAC is to assure that Texans have the information resources needed to live productive and informed lives. The organization’s four primary functions are to manage the state’s archival records, support library development throughout the state, help public agencies maintain their public records and provide nonstandard book forms for those with disabilities through the Talking Book Program.
“Libraries are such a treasure trove of opportunities because of the different resources, programming and talent,” Meraz said. “I love that every single day brings a new way of helping people.”
Meraz knew she wanted to work in the cultural field as early as high school. She grew up in El Paso, where her parents exposed her to educational opportunities that piqued her interest in the field. Meraz said one of the most meaningful things about her appointment as director is that it would make her parents proud.
As the first person of color to fill this role, Meraz said she is honored because her appointment validates her hard work and may inspire young people entering the field.
“There has been so much attention — and deservedly so — on inclusion and diversity. If my appointment can inspire or mean something to young people, and they can see themselves in me, for that I am very grateful,” Meraz said.