Monday, August 25, 2014

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Mary Ann Jimenez Salvador

Mary Ann Jimenez Salvador, Reference and Information Services Librarian of DLSU  Dasmarinas, Cavite shares with us her LIS: Love, Inspiration and Sacrifice.

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. 

Taking Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in Library Science was far from my mind. In fact, I never thought that a course like this exist. When I enrolled at PNU my desire is to become a science teacher. I preferred Biology or General Science. But my fate led me to this path when I served as a student assistant in the PNU Library. Prof. Ruben Marasigan was the one who enlightened me about the LS profession. He boasted to me and my fellow student library assistants that 100% of their LS graduates were successfully hired as a librarian right after graduation. This motivated me to embrace the LS profession. In addition to LS, I also took Art Education as my specialization course which nurtured my creative inclinations. I could say that I am one of those lucky students from our LS batch (1994) who always got recommendations from our professor whenever a school or institution looked for a part time cataloger. This gave me additional income to sustain my studies, plus I was able to practice and apply the theory that I’ve learned from the classroom. The Good Shepherd Convent in Cubao, Rogationist Seminary in Pasay and the Learning Child in Ayala, Alabang were the places that help strengthen my foundation in the LS profession during my college days. Luckily, the latter hired me after graduation and allowed me to practice my profession there for two years, as a librarian and as an art teacher. 

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? 

For the first nine years, I’ve worked as a one-woman librarian. It was a very challenging task because I was the one who started building the library and library collections in my first and second job assignments. Starting a library is like giving birth to a new baby. It was painful at first because you have to start everything from developing vision –mission –goals to designing policies, doing technical and mechanical works, simultaneously promoting as well as preserving your collection. However, as your baby grows into a child it becomes easy, meaningful and fruitful, especially if you were able to provide and answer the need of the researchers and implement successfully your plan. Working solo-librarian strengthened further my knowledge and values of the profession specifically, on working independently. After going solo for several years, I decided that it would also be better to work in a bigger library with other librarians. I can say that working in a university library is more challenging: you have to balance work and your relationship with people – your partners – namely: students, colleagues and other stakeholders. It also tested your leadership ability specifically in handling people. 

What is your area of expertise in LIS? 

For ten years now, I’ve been serving the readers’ services unit, now I’m in-charge of the Reference and Information Section and concurrently, the head of the creative team of the library. My RIS and Creative teams are also responsible for marketing the library services. On top of reference services, I’m fortunate to handle the Airwaves Research: the official Library On-Air, The Bookshelf:  official newsletter of the AEA and the gallery. These three marketing platforms of the library squeeze my/our creativity to the fullest – from program/project conceptualization to implementation to evaluation. It also allows me/us to think outside the box incorporating the concepts of information fluency and bibliotherapy. Finally, these activities hone further my curatorial and project management skills which I acquired and fostered when I was still at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and as co-founder of an independent/alternative creative venue in Cavite. 

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

For me, there’s no requirements and preparations needed because when you do that you already close the door of possibilities to others who would like to try this path. In LIS profession all you need is Love, Inspiration, and Sacrifice. Love for learning and for discovering new things. This profession offers a lot of possibilities and opportunities, but when choosing the opportunity we have to match it with the right competency. This is the reason why learning must be a continuing pursuit in this profession. Next is being an inspiration to others. We should have the capability to influence and persuade people – our fellow library personnel and our clientele become our partner in whatever library advocacy we’re planning to do. We cannot accomplish anything without them. Also, we have to walk our talk. If we want to inspire others, we should start it with ourselves. Last is Sacrifice, do not give up. Fight for your dream and work hard for it. Remember that there’s no success that happens overnight, it always comes with some sort of sacrifice. If we want to thrive in the LIS profession all we need is L for Love, I for Inspiration and S for Sacrifice. 

What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional? 

Hearing directly from the mouth of our students that their view of the library changed 360 degrees after library orientation is more than winning a lottery ticket. Other are bonuses like a smile on their faces after tutoring them on how to use online resources, a simple thanks after guiding them on how to use OPAC, and congratulations for another successful library exhibition. These are some of the rewards that you will get from being LIS professional which cannot commensurate with material reward. 

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