Working as a librarian for more than nine years now, the Valenzuelano blogger, mom of a bubbly kid, and miniature pinscher enthusiast describes librarianship as one exciting field. “It is very dynamic. Like a well loved adventure book, you just cannot wait to know what is on the next page. ” She says. Let us learn more about Rochelle Salonga-Silverio, our Filipino librarian this month of May.
Rochelle Silverio graduated cum laude at the University of the Philippines Diliman and has also completed her MLIS there in 2011. At present, she is the head librarian of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela and is a lecturer at UP-SLIS. You will find her writing about life as a Valenzuelano at the One Valenzuela blog.
1. What's your lib story? Describe how you made the choice of majoring in LIS and what college life was like for you as an LIS major. You can cite challenging stories and success stories while studying the course.
A: I first entered the University of the Philippines as a student of Occupational Therapy. I believe that during that time, my Tatay’s medical condition then influenced me to sign up in the course. After two semesters and a field exposure in summer, I realized that the medical field was not for me. Among the courses open then was the Bachelor of Library and Information Science of ILIS (now SLIS). After my initial talk with Prof. Rosalie Faderon, I knew from then on that I am destined to be a librarian.
My parents respected and supported my decision to take the course. College life went on smoothly. Mabait akong estudyante. I guess the only minor hitch that I encountered then was a missing grade in a particular non-LIS subject. I even had to go to the professor’s house because she was not in the best of health. Naabutan ko pa siya na naka-dextrose! Good thing, she still had my grade. I could have repeated the subject.
Yet not all roads run smooth. My Nanay was diagnosed with cancer a few months before I took the licensure examination. I vividly remember how I did my final review at her room in PGH during the 2 day examination. Though she is fighting her own battle then, she still made it a point to be there for me. I consider that as the biggest hurdle that I had. Learning that I got the highest score a few days after is the icing on the cake.
2. 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?
A: Many librarians might agree with me that financial limitations would make it to the upper end of their daily challenges. It is a challenge since you have to do more with less. Some might just give up and say “kulang ang budget eh”. In my point of view, this type of idea enables one to think. It makes you more ingenious on how to carry out a certain plan or activity.
As Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”.
3. What is your area of expertise in LIS?
A: I am a forever fan of children and young adult literature! During my college days, I used to foresee myself in a school library. I worked in a private school right after I graduate. Masayang kasama ang mga bata! Yet with the idea of paying back to the city that I have been living in for almost three decades now and in consideration of proximity of my home to the workplace, I opted to become a college librarian in a local university in Valenzuela. Though I had to leave the school library scene, I still make it a point that we acquire materials on children’s literature since the university offers Elementary Education. To add, I also got a growing personal collection at home, which I share with my daughter. After I got my MLIS, UP SLIS gave me the opportunity to teach children’s literature.
I can say that you can count on me in the areas of library management, cataloging, and children’s literature.
4. What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?
A: “I thought that the librarian profession was among the easiest.” a comment a new acquaintance told me as we were discussing our jobs. I still meet people who still do not know that librarians need to undertake board examination and those who still think that our work is just limited to guarding books. Though various campaigns and activities held in the librarianship field had helped change such views, I guess many still hold these ideas about the profession.
Other than taking the library science course, passing the licensure examination, and having that innate characteristic of wanting to search for answers, I believe you have to have the spirit to be an LIS professional. You should have the fortitude to show that you are not “just” a librarian.
5. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?
A: Just like many of our colleagues in the field, I have received a lot of blessings. I have been given commendations; met a number of authors and illustrators; taught and shared what I love; and travelled to quite a number of places.
But I guess the best rewards that I have ever received from being an LIS professional are genuine compliments from library patrons whom I have helped with their searches. Knowing that I have made their lives a bit easier by finding answers to their questions is, as the familiar photo commercial says, definitely priceless.