Filipino librarian for this month of August is Mrs. Venus Ibarra Guyos. It seems that Mrs. Ibarra Guyos has been studying all her life. She has an AB in English and a BSED in Library Science degrees. She holds a masters degree in Library and Information Science and is currently pursuing PhD studies. A true scholar indeed! She is connected with the University of St. Louis, Tuguegarao.
a. What's your lib story?
Spanking new from college, I picked English teaching as my first job. I lasted for a semester. The following term, I was offered a scholarship by University of Saint Louis (USL) Tuguegarao. The scholarship covered studying in Saint Louis University (SLU) Baguio, gratis, 50% grant on lodge and uninterrupted salaries (!). Plus who would not like Baguio’s freezing breeze? There was nothing to lose, only another diploma to gain. So there, Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Library Science went underway. Fast forward to 2006, I graduated and became the 5008th librarian in the Philippines. 5008th! What a dearth!
College life in USL, I thought, was difficult. I didn’t know, it would pale in comparison to what awaited me in SLU. I had two daily struggles: getting up and taking a bath. Much of the difficulties in library science academics came from my long unspoken distance from libraries. Not that I hate libraries. It’s just that I have never developed any affiliation with any of it for the past 20 years or so of my life. It took a semester to know and eventually fall in love with it. Then just like the ocean, the love grew deeper as I moved farther.
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?
Five years throwback, I used to manage a Grade School Library and I was alone. My only aid came from two working students who would render 4 hours a day. Plus, I implemented a no-noon break expanded library hours: 7:00 am to 6:00. Plus, plus, I launched a Library Reading Program with Grade 1. Plus, plus, plus I had part-time teaching units as English Instructor at the College Department of USL. That was quite a job. Physically exhausting! Yet, I didn’t know I could do much until then.
c. What is your area of expertise in LIS?
I would have to say reader services. I like being in touch with clients. I enjoy conversing with them and assisting them. I love teaching and coaching them. I also take pleasure in coming up with and/or adopting cool ideas on how to make the Library more attractive to clients.
d. What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?
A library professional must be a reader. Library profession is a Survival of the “Readingest”. I would always tell my students, reading is the core of our profession. Let’s get hooked with it.
e. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?
I have had the rare opportunity of attending 1, 2, 3 or more seminars every year, which fortuitously have been held in many tourist destinations in the country. I was part of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (2009) visiting countries like Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei. To this date, I am thinking, the uniqueness of my work is one major reason why I was chosen as a participating youth. Admittedly, I couldn’t have explored the different cities of the Philippines if the expenses were on me. I have seen great libraries, met great librarian and the doors to reading and books opened wide. Working in a Library, I have the luxury of free reads. I am literally crowded with books, how about that?!
When I’m with other professionals, I feel like, I’m the only one who knows what I know about my field and I’m guessing I’m pretty good at it (shameless plug). I know a little of what they know or have read and heard a bit of it somehow. But they? They don’t know have the slightest clue of what I do. (Pun unintended!) Librarianship is awesome! Exclusively ours!