Here is part 2 of Ms. Elvira Lapuz's interview. SLIA is privileged to have her voice heard through the blog since hers is one that has been seasoned by time, professional practice and experience. May young librarians who read this post, as well as the previous one about Ms. Lapuz, find inspiration from her library and librarian story.
What is your area of expertise in LIS?
I have been with the U.P. Library close to 23 years and I have been assigned to a number of sections and units. I was first assigned at the Humanities and Reference Section now two separate units, the Arts and Letters Library and the General Reference and Electronic Resources Section. I had a stint at the Indexing and Bibliography Section. I was the Acquisitions Librarians for more than ten years and was also assigned at the Social Sciences Library for three years. I should say that I could claim expertise in Library Management, Collection Management and Reference and User Services.
What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?
More than the degree in LIS and the PRC registration and license, it should be a given that an LIS professional should be someone with keen interest in people. Librarianship despite all these ICT developments is still very much a people oriented profession. It is not one for those who are not in any way able to relate, sympathize and empathize. Short of saying that a Librarian should have the bedside manner of a healthcare professional, mindful of vocal tones, body language and has the ability to communicate and deal with all types of personalities and age groups.
Today’s LIS professionals should also be one who could easily adapt to fast changing information technologies. Librarianship gives no leeway for those who continue to live in the Dark Ages or under the rock. There is no excuse for not being able to be in the know, be it about the current trending topic or the latest mobile gadget, an LIS professional should be someone who could embrace technology and all its benefits and tricks.
What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?
The greatest reward that this profession has me given is the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream of being able to travel and study outside the country. The trainings, conferences and seminars I have attended made it possible for me to visit institutions of higher learning in countries like Belgium, Austria, New Zealand, Vietnam and Singapore. And because I was able to participate in these programs I was also able to share new knowledge to students and colleagues as I have also had the opportunities of being a lecturer and speaker in conferences and seminars conducted locally.
I was able to fulfill academic requirements when I finished my BLS and then my MLS. I passed the licensure examination. I have had opportunities for continuing professional education and development through grants and scholarships both here and abroad. I have served in a number of professional organizations which also enabled me to do outreach and extension services. At this stage of my career, I could say that I have reaped ALL the possible rewards one could easily think of.
The profession has been good to me.
Note: Apart from being the head librarian at the Reference Section of UP Diliman's Main Library, she is also a Senior Lecturer at the UP School of Library and Information Studies. She earned her BLS and MLS from the UP SLIS. She is a past President of the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians, Inc. (PAARL) in 2009 and Vice-President of the PLAI-NCR 2011-2012.