Our featured Filipino Librarian this month is Virgilio Medina Jr. He is currently working as a school librarian in an IB school in Qatar. In this interview, he shares his experiences working abroad in an international school.
Vjay, as he is fondly called by friends and colleagues, tells us where he gets the time and inspiration to write research papers in spite of being a busy practicing school librarian.
What is it like for a Filipino librarian working in a foreign and international school?
Working in an international school is such an invaluable experience as I am dealing with a diverse community with different needs and demands. Aside from this, I also get the chance to understand their cultural background and to position myself on what type of library services I can offer to them. Its indeed a great blessing to be part of a vibrant community where lifelong learning is the utmost priority.
I love collaborating and working with young learners as I believe this is the best opportunity for me to engage and stimulate them in the process of learning.
What challenges and exciting things do you encounter in your work as a school librarian in an IB School?
The most challenging experience of working in an IB school is to implement programs and services that support the research needs of the community as an integral part of the IB curriculum. Some libraries that I had worked for, research was being done by the faculty, or in a higher education. In an IB-based setting, however, the library plays a significant role in helping students become an effective researcher by providing a library instruction program and promoting the library as a source of information.
How do you manage to write academic and research papers, despite your busy schedule?
I am the type of person who prefers to stay at home and reads books during my free time. This could be one of the reasons why I can allocate my free time in making an academic paper and in writing professional papers. Lastly, I am active in participating in various school libraries-based meeting and networking as I believe this is a good start to further develop my skills and strategies in serving my community.
My research interest focuses on Digital Literacy and how this can be marketed in promoting libraries.
What is your advice for Filipino Librarians who wish to try their luck in working in a school library abroad?
For those who are aspiring to work abroad, I'd like to encourage you to just have faith and never underestimate your capacity in making a big difference. Just believe in yourself that being Filipino will not hinder you to conquer your dreams and even to be the best librarian you would like to be. Filipinos are known to be hardworking, passionate and most importantly, people who do not simply give up no matter how difficult the circumstances are. Hence, being a Filipino is something you should be proud of. "Kung
nagawa ko, mas kayo niyo!"
ess you on your ende avor! Keep on dreaming and aiming for the best!