Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love a Librarian: Living and Loving the Challenges of the LIS Profession

Darrel Friend as many people call him graduated from UP SLIS 2009. He is currently enrolled in the MLIS program of the UP School of Library and Information Science. He is a lower Grades Readers' Services Librarian of De La Salle Zobel since 2009. He is a storyteller; blogger; friend and yes, demigod.

He writes about the unending challenges of being a librarian. This he experienced early on as a LIS major at the UP Diliman. Now, he has learned to live and love every bit of challenge that the profession throws upon his path.

As I have mentioned in some of my posts, I never really dreamed of becoming a librarian and honestly, I was never really a fan of books. They were just a waste of time for me. I'd rather be watching a movie or sleeping than straining my eyes with those lines which I did not appreciate. BUT. That was way before. I've changed [I think!]. And this pivotal event in my life took place when I was still in college, trying to enjoy the best of both worlds: studying and partying [in the sense of having fun, enjoying extra-curricular activities, non-acad stuff and the likes].

[Don't worry, I would not elaborate much on the "studying" part because I know, I know, it seems a boring topic]. Studying means complying with all the academic requirements, the tedious jobs of researching [when in reality I was just surfing the Net for Mangas] and then submitting a one-page paper [well, that was what I remember as far as abstracting is concerned. Accuracy. Brevity. Clarity. Peace. Serenity (and I sounded like Fergie)]. I could still remember the nights of cramming. Attending classes in just cargo shorts and flops. Treading the campus from end to end just to realize that you didn't have a class. Well, that was how my life as a plain college student went. But I was never a just-a-plain college student.

What made my life in college worthwhile and what made me stay in LIS and eventually pursue a career as a librarian, as far as I could say and as honestly as I could explain, is being part of an organization: UP FLIPP, or the University of the Philippines Future Library and Information Professional of the Philippines.

I could still remember when ate LC Fernandez [in her jumper and thick glasses] and Veronica Silagpo[the girl with a boyish attitude, which scared me] approached me along the then UP ILIS corridors asking me if I have some time for an orientation. I declined the invitation because I said [as an excuse] that I still have a next class. Those were the days that I was still totally doubtful of my course. The usual scenario in a General Education [GE] class went like:

Classmate: What's your course?
Me: (with hesitations) LIS
Classmate: What's that?
Me: Library and Information Science
Classmates: Ooooh. So you love reading?
Me: (...)

I thought to myself that it would have been a hell lot easier if I told them that my course is BA or Eng'g or ComSci!!! That was why I conditioned myself that I would soon get out of that college [ILIS] and shift to a better-sounding course [BA or something engineering]. But since ate LC and Veron were too eager, they tried to invite me once again for an orientation of what their organization is all about. And this time, I gave in.

Of course, I underwent the usual application process before one is admitted to the organization: number of tambay hours, sigsheets, activities, etc. But I guess what made UPFLIPP different was the fact that one would not feel alone in the course of application. More so, one is not left alone in the crusade of uplifting the field of Library and Information Science and upholding our rights to be called as professionals. I suddenly realized that we all come from a common ground and are directed to a common goal: the fact that we want to change the view of people towards librarianship and to break the bad stereotypes that have been associated with librarians.
I think that is why up until now I choose to stay in the LIS profession. Aside from the fact that being a library and information professional is not a dead-end job, and the law of supply and demand dictates that if there is a high demand [for librarians] and low supply [of licensed librarians], unemployment would not be a problem, the field of library and information science continues to pose challenges. As information continues to evolve and develop, the role of librarians continues to adapt to changes as well. [Wait, why am I being so serious? Ha Ha] Likewise, aside from the fact that I am enjoying my work with my "kids" around is the reality that my friends and orgmates are and will always be there, upholding the same principles we share and continue uplifting our course and our profession.

Nowadays, if people ask me what I do for a living, I proudly and humbly say that:
I am a [Demigod] Librarian *wink*

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