Monday, October 14, 2013

Filipino Librarian: Darrel Marco

This month's Filipino Librarian is Darrel Marco, school librarian at Xavier School Nuvali. He has been a school librarian for four years and enjoys every minute of working in the school library environment. Mr. Marco is a BS LIS graduate from UP Diliman. He has presented papers on school librarianship in local and international conferences.

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 never really my first choice. I really wanted to be in a course where there’s moolah after graduation (really really wanted to shift out of LIS to BA or Econ). But because of a relative abroad, less exposure to courses other than engineering, medicine or law, and as an obedient son, I selected LIS as one of my preferred courses for college. Little did I know that I would eventually love LIS not just as a course but as a profession.

One of the main reasons why I stayed in LIS was my involvement in UP FLIPP (Future Library & Information Professionals of the Philippines). I applied as a member of the organization during my Freshmen year, second semester.

During my college days, especially in my General Education subjects, the usual scenario would be:
Classmate: Hey!
Me: Hi!
Classmate: What’s your course? (based from my experience, my classmates would usually be asking for your course without even asking for your name. haha!)
Classmate: What’s that?
Me: Library and Information Science
Classmate: So, you love reading books?
Me: Meh @.@

After all the application process, friendships built, values formed, goals set, challenges won – I realized that it was not just me who had that kind of experience; that I was not the only one who’s typecasted as a bookworm because I was an LIS major and that I was not alone in the battle of upholding our course.

The greatest challenge really for me was to explain the “unexplainable”, especially to my relatives. I really found it hard to make them think outside of the box that not because I was a LIS major, I would definitely end up as a solitary-all-the-time-reading-creature-while-stamping-books-and-hushing-noisy-people. In short, with condescending tone, “Ano yun??! Librarian?” But all those perceptions changed when I became a member of our student council, where my LIS identity was reinforced, and eventually graduated with flying colors (PINK and FUCHSIA!).

Studying the course was not really a walk in the park and if one has determination and willingness to learn theories in librarianship and eventually, put them into practice, LIS would be a fun course to take.

If you love providing information to other people (most of my students find this impressive since I can answer most of their questions), or, describing and classifying books and other resources (this works especially for the OC-OC in me),or, you simply want to make a difference in a person’s life since library science is a service-oriented profession, then choose to be a librarian.

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 work as a school librarian.

School librarians are also teacher-librarians.

So, while I function as a librarian doing the technical stuff such as cataloguing and classification, doing reference services, designing library bulletin boards and current awareness services, delivering resources to my users who are usually teachers and students, I also function as a teacher. AND IT IS NOT EASY. [Emphasis]. There will be preparations of lesson plans, curriculum planning, [almost] sleepless nights because of preparations of presentations, lesson proper, classroom management, behaviour and discipline plans, and I must admit, I was never prepared for them during my first years. It was only through constant exposure, experience and practice that I was able to acquire those skills [Emphasis … AGAIN].

I guess there was a lapse in teaching those necessary skills since when one graduates as an LIS major, s/he will not simply be a librarian, and that there are many different types of libraries that an LIS graduate can choose to work in. During my college years, I never really thought of being a school librarian, it was only after graduation when I saw that opportunity and grabbed it, and I never regretted it even once. What I really want now is for school librarianship to be recognized as a discipline, wherein librarians function not only as librarians but they are also EXPECTED to have skills and functions of a teacher.

c. What is your area of expertise in LIS? 

Uhmmm… As I have mentioned above, as a teacher-librarian, one needs not only the “technical” skills of being a librarian but at the same time, the skills of a teacher. Furthermore, I believe that the LIS field is a very practical field, where one learns and encounters problems and tries to solve those problems through practice, practice and practice. A librarian cannot simply live in a paradigm of dogmatic theories. Theories are best tested when put into practice.

To answer the question (haha!), I can humbly say that I am starting to work on teacher-librarians’ roles in the promotion of having an information literate society i.e. integration of teaching pedagogies, technology, and IL skills (which I believe librarians should have) and their application in real life.

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

As frontliners in an information society, I believe LIS professionals should continue to be adaptive to changes. Information come and go. They continue to add up and bloom and soon, there will be an information boom. LIS professionals need not only acquire and provide information for themselves and for their users but they also need to be critical of the information that they receive and disseminate. Information literacy skills are the vital skills that LIS professionals need to have nowadays. Since we deal heavily with information and its dissemination, we need to know how to evaluate them, synthesize them and eventually share them for the common good.

READ. Not just to enhance your technical skills as a librarian.
READ. Not just to be up-to-date. but also
READ. for leisure and entertainment.
READ. to know which materials to recommend to your users, and
READ and enjoy!

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

I was able to travel to Europe and represent our country!
I was able to share my experiences to students of LIS
I was able to meet new friends in the LIS field and other related fields.
Good books!!! (YA novels and children’s books, who’d say no to them?)
Hugs, hellos, and smiles from my students. Nothing beats that!

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