35 Never Looked So Good: APALA Celebrates Anniversary with Symposium

(San Francisco, CA) In celebration of its 35th anniversary, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) will hold a one-day symposium entitled “Building Bridges: Connecting Communities through Librarianship & Advocacy” at the University of San Francisco’s McLaren Conference Center on Thursday, June 25th, 2015.

“We are celebrating and commemorating this milestone in a city that has a deep history and strong presence of Asian Pacific Islanders,” said Gary Colmenar, one of the co-chairs of the APALA 35th Planning Committee. “We are holding this symposium to reflect the work APALA has done in the past and continues to do so. The theme for the symposium reflects what we have been doing to accomplish the organization’s mission. We serve as a bridge between library, archives and museum professionals with the APA communities.” The APALA Symposium will be held right before the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition, June 26-30, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Additional programs and cultural events are slated during the ALA Annual Conference, June 26-30.

The keynote speaker is Valarie Kaur, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, and interfaith leader who centers her work on storytelling for social change. She has led campaigns on hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, marriage equality, solitary confinement, and the open Internet. Valarie Kaur believes “the way we make change is just as important as the change we make.” She currently serves as Media and Strategy Fellow at Stanford Law School.

Founded in 1980 by librarians of diverse Asian and Pacific ancestries, APALA has long been committed to supporting and providing greater visibility for Asian / Pacific American (APA) professionals in the areas of libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) and advancing services to APA communities.

Early bird registration starts January 27, 2015 and ends April 3, 2015

For more information, updates, and registration, visit http://apala35th.apalaweb.org/

Event Details:

Who:                Asian Pacific American Librarians’ Association (APALA)

What:               35th Anniversary Symposium entitled “Building Bridges: Connecting

Communities through Librarianship & Advocacy”      

When:              Thursday, June 25th, 2015, 8:00 A.M. to 7:30 P.M.

Where:                        University of San Francisco’s McLaren Conference; Registration


Attached:                   Keynote speaker Valarie Kaur – biography

Valarie Kaur

Valarie KaurValarie Kaur is a civil rights lawyer, documentary filmmaker, and faith-rooted organizer who helps communities tell their stories and organize for social change. She has made award-winning films and led multimedia campaigns on a wide range of issues: hate crimes against Sikh and Muslim Americans, racial profiling, gun violence, marriage equality, immigration detention, and solitary confinement. Valarie is a regular television commentator on MSNBC and opinion contributor toCNN, NPR, PBS, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times. She has reported on the military commissions at Guantanamo and clerked on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Valarie founded Groundswell Movement of 100,000 members, the nation’s largest multi-faith online organizing community known for “dynamically strengthening faith-based organizing in the 21st century.”

A Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary, she serves as a national Sikh voice who teaches on movement-building for students, organizers, and interfaith groups. She also works with the U.S. State Department to bring these tools to activists around the world, most recently traveling and teaching throughout Myanmar. She earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, where she founded the Yale Visual Law Project to train future lawyers to make films for social and policy change. She is currently the Media and Strategy Fellow at Stanford Law School, where she helps build the movement to keep the Internet free and open, especially for under-served communities.

The Center for American Progress lists Valarie among 13 national progressive faith leaders to watch. She has been called “a standout figure in the world of interfaith organizing and activism and one of eight Asian American “Women of Influence.” A prolific public speaker on college and university campuses, she was also the youngest to deliver the Baccalaureate Commencement Address at Stanford University.

Valarie lives with her husband and filmmaking partner Sharat Raju and their baby boy Kavi Singh in Los Angeles. She believes that “the way we make change is just as important as the change we make.”

For more information on Valarie, visit her website at http://valariekaur.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter at @valariekaur.

Attached: APALA35th Press Release [pdf]

New website launched for APALA 35th Anniversary & Symposium

It’s time to start getting excited!

In anticipation of next year’s upcoming APALA 35th Anniversary & Symposium, we’ve launched a new microsite:


There you’ll find all the latest news and information about our 35th Anniversary & Symposium in one handy place. Check it out now and bookmark it for future reference ease.


And in case you missed it, the deadline for submissions has been extended to October 31.

We know you’re awesome, so how about sharing what you know or have done with the rest the rest of us? Don’t wait, submit today!




The 2014 Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians: Personal Vision

by Annie Pho, Rose Love Chou and Karen Gau

The Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians (MIECL) is an intensive, one-week professional development program intended for librarians from underrepresented groups in the first three years of their professional careers. Several APALA members attended the 2014 Institute last July and offered to share some of their takeaways in a series of web articles. In this last of three article installments, Annie Pho (University of Illinois at Chicago), Rose Love Chou (American University), and Karen Gau (Virginia Commonwealth University) reflect on MIECL’s discussions on personal vision.

image of the members of the Residency Interest group of the Association of Research & College Libraries

Some participants of MIECL 2014. Photo credit: DeEtta Jones

When we attended MIECL, the moderators DeEtta Jones and Kathryn Deiss introduced the idea of crafting a personal vision. They described it as being analogous to a horizon — compelling, inspiring, yet unreachable. It should provide you with a directional force that takes into account all aspects of your life, including your career, health, family and finances.

Why are you interested in crafting a personal vision?

Annie Pho (AP): Crafting a personal vision is really useful because I see it as my guiding philosophy. It guides me in terms of how I approach my career and life choices. Upon listening to DeEtta and Kathryn talk about crafting their own personal vision, I realized just how important it is for an individual to do because it helps you stay on course with what you are doing in your life. At the same time, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach because I realized I had never thought to craft my own personal vision before. I left MIECL with more questions than answers. I am still trying to craft my personal vision, but I know that it’s there. It’s up to me to articulate it.

Rose Love Chou (RLC):  Learning about the concept of a personal vision was very helpful to me. I think the question of “where do you want to be in five years” is used too often, even if it’s just rhetorical. I’m not really a binary thinker and tend not to see things in black and white. I really live in the grey area, so the concept of a personal vision that serves as a compass, rather than a checklist, really resonated with me. Instead of only creating goals to reach, a personal vision helps me develop and express my purpose.

Karen Gau (KG): The question “where do you want to be in five years?” hasn’t been particularly helpful for me either. Just over five years ago when I was an office manager for a manufacturing company, I didn’t imagine that being a health sciences librarian was in my future. Having a personal vision can help me focus on the impact I want to have and guide me with making good, forward-moving choices, even when unexpected career and personal obstacles present themselves. So if I end up on a very different path from where I thought I’d be, my personal vision can still act as a compass to help me achieve a meaningful purpose that I’ve defined for myself.


What is a meaningful vision and how do you craft one?

AP: When you are thinking about vision, you have to think big. If your vision is “be a library director, or move up in management,” then it’s not big enough. Your vision should be so big, that it’s unattainable. Like the horizon, it should move away from you as you walk toward it. Life can be pretty unpredictable, so a meaningful vision shouldn’t be shaken if something happens that you had not planned. I see a meaningful vision as something that influences not only my professional career, but also my personal life. In terms of how to craft your own vision, I started asking myself why I do what I do. Why am I a librarian? What do I want to contribute to not only the workplace, but society? What would make me happy in my life?

RLC: For me, a meaningful vision has to help me figure out how I want to be a leader and what I want to do as a leader. It has to help me turn my aspirations into action. One of the things that stuck with me from MIECL is the idea that the intention to lead, rather than just drifting into a leadership role, is important. Some questions to consider to help discover your purpose and voice: What are your personal values? What do you think and why?

KG: These are all great points. Touching on what Rose said, MIECL made it clear that knowing yourself is key to crafting a meaningful vision, too. For example, what are your strengths and weaknesses? How do they affect your way of making an impact?


How does one manage the gap between your Ideal and your Actual self?

AP: This can be a really tough thing to do. I know many librarians who hold themselves to a really high standard, but sometimes it’s just not sustainable to be going at full-speed 100 percent of the time. You’ll never be your own ideal, but that’s why crafting a personal vision is so important. You work toward your ideal self, but you also have to be OK with failing sometimes. That’s how we move forward in life.

RLC: Managing the gap is another concept I learned from DeEtta that was incredibly helpful.  The gap is the space between your Ideal and your Actual. Use the tension between these two to create goals. Do not measure yourself by comparing your Actual to your Ideal. Measure your progress by comparing your Actual to where you were previously.

KG: I think managing this gap between your Ideal and Actual self is key to having a good work/life balance, which is very important to me. I wonder if, on the flip side, integrating work/life balance into your vision as a value could help with managing this gap.

Image with "dream big" written in the sand.

When you are thinking about vision, you have to think big. If your vision is “be a library director, or move up in management,” then it’s not big enough.

Have you created a vision for yourself since MIECL?

AP: Ever since I returned from MIECL, I’ve been thinking about how to articulate my personal vision. It’s really hard to really know what you’re working toward. For me, I tend to make my progress by trying to deal with what is directly in front of me, and I don’t always take the time to look up and ask myself what is on the horizon.

KG: I’m working on mine, too. I’ve been talking about it with my MIECL mentor, whom I continue to meet with every month.

RLC: I feel like I am perpetually thinking about my vision. While I have some aspects of it down (mainly when it comes to family and personal life), I’m still working on the vision related to my career.


Editing assistance provided by Jaena Rae Cabrera and Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow.

Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy

By Sofia Leung

In anticipation of the 2015 APALA President’s Program, Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy, we provide a brief introduction and resource guide to the topic of Asian international adoption. The program will feature Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and author of Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America, and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System and the Vice President of the Association of Korean Adoptees of Southern California. They will use the new film by award-winning filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, as a discussion prompt to such issues as assimilation, family, community, and advocacy within the larger framework of international adoption.

There are number of books, films, exhibits, organizations and more that delve into the subject. This list is by no means comprehensive and is meant to be a starting point to help you explore the conversations happening around Asian international adoption. We have provided a short description of some of the resources.


Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging by Eleana J. Kim. Designed by Heather Hensley. 2010 Duke University Press.

Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging by Eleana J. Kim. Designed by Heather Hensley. 2010 Duke University Press.

  • Choy, C. (2013). Global Families : A History of Asian International Adoption in America, Ebook library (OCoLC)63128143.
  • Jerng, M. (2010). Claiming Others Transracial Adoption and National Belonging, Ebrary Academic Complete (OCoLC)54646987.

Jerng presents the history of transracial adoption in the United States, beginning from 1851, with the first adoption law in Massachusetts. He is interested in how transracial adoption disturbs traditional ideas of family, nation, and race.

  • Kim, E. (2010). Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Volkman, T. (2005). Cultures of transnational adoption. Durham: Duke University Press.

This is a collection of essays that covers both the personal and scholarly perspectives of transnational adoption and explores the cultural issues of race, kinship, belonging, and identity . While it spans adoption from many different parts of the world, Korea, China, and North America are particularly well-explored in this book.

Other Notable Scholars

  • Sara Dorow
  • Kay Ann Johnson
  • Rita Simon
  • Jane Trenka
  • M. Elizabeth Vonk
  • Barbara Yngvesson


  • Hwang, D. (2000). Trying to find Chinatown : The selected plays (1st ed.). New York: Theatre Communications Group.
  • Lee, M. M. (2005). Somebody’s Daughter. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Lee, V. (2001). Princess June: A novel. Santa Barbara, CA: Fithian Press.
  • Scott, J.C. (2002). The lucky gourd shop. Denver, CO: MacMurray & Beck.


  • Dolgin, Gail. (2002). Daughter from Danang. United States: Balcony Releasing.
  • Dossing, K., Engbo, Johan, Henriksen, Jacob Kwon, & Vesselbo, Nikolaj. (2007). A baby business (VAST: Academic Video Online). Copenhagen, Denmark: Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
  • Futerman, Samantha, Miyamoto, Ryan. Twinsters. United States: Small Package Films.
  • Gardner, Janet, Theam, Sopheap. (2013). Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey. United States: The Gardner Documentary Group.
The only picture Sayon Soeun had of his family in Cambodia. After more than 35 years, he has recently reconnected with his siblings. From the film Lost Child: Sayon's Journey.

The only picture Sayon Soeun had of his family in Cambodia. After more than 35 years, he has recently reconnected with his siblings. From the film Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey.

This documentary tells the story of Sayon Soeun, a child soldier abducted by the Khmer Rouge and eventually adopted by an American family. After over 35 years, he reconnects with his siblings, who he had presumed dead. This film is currently being shown in select locations: http://www.lostchildthefilm.org/screenings/

  • Knowlton, Linda Goldstein. (2011).  Somewhere Between. United States: Ladylike Films.
  • Lee, Barb. (2005). Adopted. United States: Point Made Films.
  • Liem, Deann Borshay. (2000). First Person Plural. United States: Mu Films.

Liem’s first documentary.

  • Pham, Quoc Thai, Gardner, Janet. (2001). Precious Cargo. United States: The Gardner Documentary Group.
  • Wang-Breal, Stephanie. (2009). Wo Ai Ni Mommy. United States: eyewang Pictures.


Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies exhibition at the Presidio Officers Club.

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies exhibition at the Presidio Officers Club.

  • Operation Babylift: Perspectives + Legacies, closes Dec. 31st, free admission

Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., Main Post, Presidio, San Francisco


Details the 1975 evacuation of Vietnamese children to San Francisco and the military base that became a processing center. You can see this now or when you’re in San Francisco for ALA!


APA Library Leader Interview — Daniel Tsang, Distinguished Librarian and Data Librarian, University of California, Irvine

by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow

A leader in librarianship need not be in administration or management. This feature essay on an Asian/Pacific American library leader focuses on Daniel C. Tsang, currently Distinguished Librarian and Data Librarian at University of California, Irvine, where he is also Bibliographer of Asian American Studies, Political Science, Economics, French & Italian, and the Orange County Documents.  I met Dan a few years back. Recently, he visited my current place of work, University of California, Riverside, where he gave a series of talks on data librarianship and union work as a librarian at a public university. I was very inspired by his body of work and message.

Following his presentations and several  brief, inperson discussions with him in mid-March 2015, I initiated an email conversation with Dan in mid-April 2015. I sent Dan the questions we send to all our library leader interviewees, which focus on his background and his thoughts on library leadership and diversity. This article provides an edited, perhaps too brief, version of Dan’s responses.

~ Melissa Cardenas-Dow, Web Content Subcommittee Chair


Melissa Cardenas-Dow (MICD): Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career to-date?

Daniel Tsang (DT): I grew up in Hong Kong and I came to the U.S. in the 1960s. My mom was born in the U.S. but went to Hong Kong after university. Then, being the period of turmoil with the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War, I became an activist when I became a librarian. I started working at Temple University’s Contemporary Culture Collection in 1978. I was totally immersed in the alternative press as a contributor, editor, and collector, both personally and professionally.  I have been a bibliographer at the University of California Irvine Libraries for almost 30 years.


MICD: What ways do you see yourself as a diverse professional?

DT:  I am immersed both professionally and personally in documenting social change.


MICD: Please describe an instance in which diversity played a beneficial role in your library work.

DT: Our newspaper collection at University of California, Irvine was very Euro-centric and I managed to get involved in a newspaper committee that changed the policy so that we collected more broadly.  Earlier, at the Philadelphia Free Library, I raised a question why they weren’t preserving the Philadelphia Gay News. After that, the library administration began microfilming it.


MICD: Has it been challenging to move up the leadership ladder?  How did you make the move from middle to upper management?

DT: I’m not in upper management, actually. Just a senior line librarian.


MICD: How does diversity influence your leadership style?

DT: I think I am more aware of how people get excluded and how certain cues from people of color are misread as concurrence. So I try to be more open to nonverbal cues.


MICD: What attributes do you look for in future leaders?

DT: Non-rigid styles and willingness to listen.


MICD: Are these the same skills, talents and qualities you recommend diverse professionals develop as they seek new leadership positions? Please explain further.

DT: Definitely, one can learn from anyone.


MICD: What advice would you give to young professionals, especially those from diverse backgrounds?

DT: Be passionate about what you believe in. Speak out, but be strategic in what you say and do.  Find someone who can be a mentor in the library.


MICD: How about advice for midcareer professionals, especially those who are interested in moving into higher management?

DT: Do not forget your roots or the union!  Don’t turn anti-union.


MICD: What message would you give to library administrators regarding the value of diverse leaders and how they might grow under those leaders within their organizations?

DT: Try not to find token leaders but value each worker as an individual.  Offer praise not just criticism.


Editing assistance provided by Molly Higgins.

05/28/2015: This piece was edited to indicate the correct names of library locations where Dan made change efforts. Many thanks to Dan for pointing out our errors. ~Melissa

APALA President’s Program

APALA President’s Program will feature a dynamic discussion between Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC-Berkeley and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System. They will examine the issues raised by Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, a new film by award-winning Berkeley-based filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, in the larger context of international adoption and reflect on universal questions of identity, assimilation, family, community, and advocacy. Excerpts from the film and a personal introduction especially produced for this program by Deann will be shown. The APALA President’s Program is co-sponsored by APALA and VRT.

2015 Asian/Pacific American Librarians (APALA) Election Results

Dear APALA colleagues,

Congratulations to our incoming Executive Board members, who will be serving under the leadership of incoming President Janet Clarke, and thank you to all of the candidates who ran for office! All terms will begin after the 2015 ALA Annual Conference.

Vice-President/President-Elect: Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada
Secretary:  Anna Coats
Member-at-Large (2015-2017):  Ariana Hussain
Member-at-Large (2015-2017):  Brian Leaf


Continuing Terms

President: Janet Clarke
Treasurer :  Dora Ho
Member-at-Large (2014-2016): Melissa Cardenas-Dow
Member-at-Large (2014-2016):  Paolo Guxilde
Immediate Past-President:  Eileen Bosch

Executive Director: Ven Basco
Best,Nominating Committee,
Eugenia Beh (Chair)
Jade Alburo
Ven Basco

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