Monday, September 30, 2013

Filipino Librarian: Veronica Silagpo

As we bid goodbye to September, the blog features Ms. Veronica Silagpo, a BLIS graduate of the School of Library and Information Science, UP Diliman as the Filipino Librarian of the month. She is pursuing MLIS in the same university. Right now, she enjoys providing reader's services to middle school students of the International School Manila.
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. 

 LIS was my first choice when I took the UPCAT. It was my aunt (who had a Librarian friend) who told me that the course offers some good opportunities. During my freshman year though, it was a struggle for me to actually love the course I have chosen. People were like “anung pinag-aaralan nyo dun?” or “ano yun?” when I describe to them my course. I felt like my course was treated as inferior. I actually thought of shifting. Luckily, I met some members of UP Future Library and Information Professionals of the Philippines. They were people who understood my dilemma and I found the organization’s cause – to promote and develop the LIS profession– very noble, so I joined them. Joining UP FLIPP played a very pivotal role in my life as a student of LIS. I became an officer and was tasked to recruit more members. It was more than a responsibility for me, though. Helping out students who felt the same way that I did when I was a freshman became a passion. I consider seeing the people whom I’ve talked into staying and finishing the course then as happy LIS professionals now as one of my successes. 

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? 

 I was 19 years old when I started working and like many fresh graduates, I too, started as a wide-eyed idealist. I was very keen on being the best librarian that I could be. Sadly, I met so many who exemplified the stereotype of librarians early on I really thought that they are like dinosaurs, things of the past but to my chagrin, they aren’t. Add those who were really unhappy with their jobs and those who attended seminars only to catch up (or gossip) on their former colleague’s life or for the free travel opportunities. They were so disappointing and disheartening. I found myself angry at these people who were the reasons why people look down on my beloved profession. It actually affected me so much at that time. It was kind of a struggle for me to reconcile what I have been telling others when I was still in the University and the reality that was the LIS profession. I remember telling people that libraries and librarians have evolved. That the stereotypes no longer existed, that LIS professionals are now hip and cool. Now, years later, the realization sank in - that those people existed and would probably still exist in the future to remind us of what we shouldn’t be. And for that to happen, we need to keep ourselves in check, to always be the best in what we do. 

c. What is your area of expertise in LIS? 

 Reference and Readers’ Advisory Services. I take pleasure in those little chitchats with library patrons. I enjoy those “aha!” moments whenever I help people find what they’re looking for and I love giving book recommendations. I believe that we are all readers. If someone says that they hate reading, then they haven’t found their book match yet. Spreading the love, love, love for reading is one of my advocacies in life. 

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

 Pleasing personality? Hahaha. Kidding aside, excluding degree and license, I really think that a heart for service should be the primary requirement for LIS professionals. An open mind and being adaptable to change would really help, too

e. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional? 

The endless THANK YOUs, smiles and little notes of gratitude are somewhat the most fulfilling rewards I have received from this profession. I usually get little knick knacks and gifts, too. Also, I get kids professing their love for me almost every week, so it kind of keeps my love tank full.

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