Monday, April 8, 2013

Filipino Librarian: Maria Cecilia Ingusan Ayson

The blog's Ms. April is Maria Cecilia Ingusan Ayson of the Filipinas Heritage Library. She graduated BLIS in UP Diliman and is currently pursuing MLIS in the same university.

She will be traveling to San Diego, USA to receive the "Diane K. Foster International Student Travel Award 2013" sponsored by Science-Technology Division & Special Libraries Association (SLA) - Asian Chapter. This award will be presented at the SLA Annual Conference on 9-11 June 2013.

a. What's your lib story? Describe how you made the choice of majoring in LIS and what was college life like for you as a LIS major. You can cite challenging stories and success stories while studying the course.

To be honest, my becoming a LIS major in UP Diliman was quite accidental.  It took me a while to discover LIS as I was originally an English major, then I shifted to Business Administration, until I found myself taking a career guidance exam.  The results said that I should consider a career in LIS, among other fields (which I really can't remember by now).  I felt that being a Librarian suited me since I'm an introvert (very stereotypical, I know), but I also thought it was a logical choice since it was based on a scientific test and so I pursued it.

I found college life more enjoyable as a LIS major than in my previous college courses. Since the UP Institute of Library and Information Science (UP ILIS) was a very small unit (compared to the other colleges in UP Diliman), the atmosphere was very friendly and homey.  I found new friends and many students like me who somehow had a second lease on college life--a chance I took full advantage of.  It was in LIS where I became a University Scholar (which I previously thought I wouldn't be able to achieve). Having a clean slate, I was inspired to excel in my studies once again.

b. What has been the greatest challenge you've faced so far as a licensed and working librarian? Why do you say it's a challenge?

Being in a corporate environment, the greatest challenge for me was the constant need to emphasize the importance of the library and the amount of work involved, especially the work behind the scenes because not many people are aware or appreciative of that. Also, there is always the need to challenge the librarian stereotype.

Our library also has a lean staff so multitasking is a challenge. I do all sorts of library work, from Technical Services to Reference Service, and many others, including handling of some special projects of the library. It’s a challenge to be able to perform and accomplish all those tasks but fulfilling as well because I’m able to learn a lot along the way.

c. What is your area of expertise in LIS?

In the Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) I perform various library tasks but the major ones are Selection & Acquisition, Cataloging & Classification, and Reference Service.  I also have some background and experience on Archives, particularly on paper conservation.  I could also handle basic website administration, particularly content management tasks. 

d. What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?

Apart from formal LIS education, a LIS professional should also have the following skills/traits: attention to detail, eagerness to read and learn, interpersonal and communication skills, knowledge management skills, adaptability to new technologies, and willingness to serve. Being a bookworm is also good because it means you are exposed to the literary universe and could recommend a lot of good reads or share bits of information to library users.
e. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?

Intangible rewards I get from being a LIS professional include unlimited access to a wide range of interesting books and materials, and discovery of random bits of information and knowledge that I encounter while helping clients find the information they need. Also priceless is the appreciation from the library users I was able to help.  I was also exposed to communities in the provinces through one of our special projects, the OurLibrary project, wherein we travel to different areas in the country to help develop community libraries.

Various opportunities also came my way… I was able to speak in conferences organized by professional library associations, worked with interesting personalities (including celebrities) for special projects, and in a couple of months, I will be able to attend an international conference due to a grant sponsored by an international library association.

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