Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love a Librarian: Pinoy Librarian Idol

Audrey Anday, librarian and independent researcher wrote about her librarian idol, Vilma Anday. This essay is more than a reflection on Audrey's great love. It is her homage to her mother who passed away a couple of years back due to cancer. 

Audrey Anday is completing a
scholarship grant in Europe (2010-2012)
Love transcends time and space. And yes, it conquers all. Even death.

What it means to rise above the rest...my librarian Idol?  

To some the word Idol may connote positive impressions and to some it may mean negatively since to have an idol is to have something or someone to worship. So as not to be confused, I searched online on the meaning that would set the tone for this essay. I choose this definition of Idol from all that was provided in http://www.dictionary.net/idol : "an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept" or a person or thing greatly loved or adored.  

When I was requested by my former classmate (MLIS, UP Diliman)  and good friend Zarah Gagatiga to write something for her blog, I had mixed emotions. This was not the first time she requested me to write something and be one of her guest contributors for her blog. I would always politely say, I will try but never made one for her, so now I hope to write one.

Choosing from among the "topics" she gave us, I was moved to write about this "librarian idol" whom I was blessed to know and love - my mama - Vilma Anday. 

She was a simple woman who had dreamt of finishing a good degree because she knew that education is the only treasure that can not be taken away from her. She did everything she could to achieve her dreams, even if that would mean living away from her family, being independent while living with her not so close relatives, sharing household chores and work  as student assistant to make both ends meet. She strived hard to reach her goal and yet remain grounded on her values and principles. She did not changed so much in terms of her attitude and view of how she should live her life.  

Vilma Anday with classmates from High School
From being a library student assistant, she rose among the ranks and attained the top level management position through hard work and perseverance. She always shared with me that you need to pass through every step of the ladder and such climb is not easy one. She has always believed in going through the proper process, no favoritism, no red tapes, just pure and sincere accomplishment of what is asked of her.  It is not mere luck that you are where you are, it is the sum of all that you have done, training that you have attended with the drive to complete the tasks at hand.   She was never afraid to learn new things. She was trained to become an educator but she became a professional librarian after being exempted from taking the Board Exam for Librarians. She continued her studies while juggling with her many roles as a mother, a teacher, a colleague, a friend, a sister and a daughter who served God during church services and remained an industrious student who had always been open to ideas and perspectives. She was not a techno-savy librarian but she read and wrote about many things about her expertise and has a good grasp of the core information she needed to explain how such techno related stuff should be done.  

And I saw her perform all those duties and responsibilities with such great poise and patience and grace.

Professionally, she had always exuded that aura of an "ideal" librarian who never came to work late, never wanted to be served, open to whatever her subordinates opinions and suggestions were. She never raised her voice in discussion, calm and level headed even during arguments. She was a good team player and a team leader. As a staff, I saw how she respected her supervisors and as a manager, I saw how she remained humble and rooted to that fact that, a top position is merely an icing on top of the cake and the important core is that she is a librarian who is expected to perform as one.

She was aware of her strengths and admitted her weakness and still valued contribution of others for the benefit of the whole group. Power had never been her weapon to look down on people and press them down, instead she used it to help people become better individuals by trusting them as her co-equal and believing in their own capabilities and talents.  

Audrey with Mom, Vilma
Personally, she has played her role as mother in the same manner she has played her role in the professional arena but with more compassion and the kindness of heart. She rarely scolded her children. She embraced them in spite of their imperfections and acknowledges the diversity their personalities. She cried with them during clashes of ideas and arguments but still loves them just the same. She tried her best to treat them fairly and equally and understood their diverse moods and sentiments.

Similarly I saw how patient and submissive she was to her husband too. How she valued her husband as her partner, not wanting to rule over him in his absence in the home, how she remained contented with her achievement and not wanting to attain more to surpass every milestone except to see her family safe, well provided for and secured in their home. She had so many opportunities of landing a high paying job outside her workplace, but she choosed to live a simple life in the company of her family and colleagues. Looking back now, she was happy with her choices.

I remember when I was young, every time they found out I am related to her, I feel like I am an important person. Little did I know that until I grow up being related to her would land me in the same profession. Many have told me I must really have idolized her that I was following her footsteps. I sometimes find it hard to accept and believe because I had my own dreams, and I was trying to make my own path. I admit it was quite difficult to move out of her shadow and prove my own worth but looking back at how she has lived her life I am so blessed and privileged to be with my idol.

Given that chance to serve her, take care of her, talk to her and spend her last few moments with me, I came to that realization, no matter how I avoided things, I will be forever connected to her, and somehow I am 90% like her in every way since I came from her.  I am so blessed to have that intimate encounter with her where I get to know not only her mind but her heart as well. I thought I did not want to be like her because I knew for a fact that I am so much her opposite. But my involvement during her last few months showed me the most important lesson of my life, she has always thought of herself last, even if she needed to think of how she could recover and feel better, she was still performing her great passion, being of service to her family and her community...she remained my mother...our interests, our feelings and our concerns are always above hers.

Even if she was about to go, she was praying that God still extends her life for us. I saw how big her heart was to accommodate not only her family but so many other people more. I also saw how big her mind was, to understand and know which things should matter most in life.  She practiced what she has learned inside their home, applied lessons from her school and relationships and lived the faith she profess be it in her personal and professional life. She has always shared with me that no matter what field you play in, there will be forever struggles and intrigues, pains and sorrows and that one should not be disheartened. As long as you know yourself, you perform your role in the way you know and yet still open to suggestions for improvement, you will find that the passion to excel in all you do will not die down, instead it will lead you to where you should be.

I did not dream to be a librarian like my mother who did not really planned to be like one too. I realize we both wanted to be teachers but fate brought us where we should be. Now that she “graduated” from life, I feel bad not having around to confide my personal and professional thoughts with. But during such silent contemplation and reflection, her life truly serves as an inspiration for me to follow.

Vilma Anday with the
Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. BOT
Though I might not live to be like her even 1% of who she was and what she has attained, I know I learned a lot from her through the wisdom she has shared. She fought a good fight, lived a good life and until the end, silently and gracefully walked towards the light that led her to the final destination...the real home where nothing else matters but love and great love.  

To my Mama, who has been the greatest gift that I have received, thank you for showing me what it takes not only to be good person but exemplify how a true professional should think, act and stand in times of jubilation and in times of struggles and challenges. To some you are not a perfect embodiment of a person to admire or idolize but to me, you are one Pinoy Librarian Idol I am proud to say I shared many good memories and had close encounters with.

I love you Mama...


Anonymous said...

thanks for the opportunity to honor Mama! God bless you in all your endeavors! hugs!

Anonymous said...

thnx ate neng for rminding us about mama.... mama,i know u r n God's side now.. see u there... not now... but n d future

Anonymous said...

God bless you all and your efforts.
Heart touching story

mylyn said...

hi audz, this is a very touching story. i am really missing our college days. -mylyn (your blockmate)-

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