APALA Travel Grant and Scholarship Award Recipients Announced

The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Scholarship and Awards Committee announced the following Travel Grant and Scholarship Award recipients during the ALA Annual Conference 2013 in Chicago:


Travel Grant Recipient: Linda Nguyễn

linda_nguyenI’m a 2013 MLIS graduate from St. Catherine University and 2011 Spectrum Scholar of the American Library Association. I currently work as a Communications Associate at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and am a Zine Collection intern at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College Library. My professional interests include transformative social justice, cultural production & preservation, and multiliteracies.


Scholarship Award Recipient: Christina Nhek

linda_nguyenMy name is Christina Nhek and I am pursuing a Master’s of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in Art History from California State University, Long Beach. My areas of interest are in archives and public librarianship. Perhaps one of the most important influences that have shaped the person I am today is my upbringing in a bicultural environment. As a child of refugee parents, access to resources were limited, mainly due to the lack of knowledge about available information. Growing up, my parents have always placed a great emphasis on education. Although our economical situation was limited, my parents believed that through hard work and sacrifice, I would be able to achieve success in anything I chose to do. One of the reasons why I want to pursue a degree in the Library Science field is to promote the importance of Khmer cultural awareness within the community. I want to help people find resources to develop their personal and educational growth. I believe in helping to enrich and educate the younger generations by providing good library resources to help their future endeavors.


What’s Your Normal?: A Discourse of Own Realities at ALA Annual 2013

If you’ll be attending ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago, learn about our essay series and join the conversation to share what your normal is.


What’s Your Normal?: A Discourse of Own Realities

Time: Saturday, June 28, 10:30am-11:30am
Location: Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Jefferson Park 10B
ALA Scheduler: http://ala13.ala.org/node/10928


Last year, APALA launched What’s Your Normal?, a new essay series that highlights the diversity–e.g., ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality, (dis)ability, citizenship, socioeconomic status–within the Asian and Pacific American category and offers snippets of what is “normal” for the writers. With this program, we will continue and broaden the conversation and provide a forum for constructive discourse – using personal narratives as starting points, we will not only create awareness about individual realities and identities but discuss them within the larger social contexts and come up with practical and positive ideas and action items. So, what’s your normal? Let’s talk!


Based on the concept of a conversation about our different definitions of what is “normal” for us, this program takes some overarching categories of diversity and serves them up for discussion, as well as for brainstorming for practical service and program ideas.

We will begin with a very brief introduction to the What’s Your Normal? essay series and how it serves as the impetus for the session’s discourse. We will then form small breakout groups, with each group focusing on a specific topic; the bulk of the session will be spent on this part. At the end, we will reconvene, share the main points and outcomes from the discussions, and prioritize ideas to be pursued.

At least three topics will be discussed at this session. The pre-determined topics are: 1) racial, ethnic, and national identities 2) gender identity and sexual orientation, and 3) health and disability status. Depending on interest and the number of attendees, one or two additional topics may be added; attendees will vote on which topics to add. Ideas for additional topics include: generational identity (age), religious affiliation and identity, immigrant and refugee status and identity, and socio-economic status; attendees are free to add their own topic ideas. While there will be facilitators for the pre-determined topics, we will need volunteers to facilitate the additional topics.


APALA President’s Program at ALA Annual 2013

If you’ll be attending ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago, be sure to mark your calendars and join us for the APALA President’s Program!


Pushing the Boundaries: LGBTQ Presentation and Representation of/by Asian/Pacific American Writers

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
Jackson Park 10A
Details: ALA13 Scheduler

Sponsored by APALA and GLBTRT, this program focuses on the representation, or lack thereof, of LGBTQ members within the spectrum of the Asian/Pacific American (APA) community, particularly in literary works by APA LGBTQ writers. It also discusses the movement of presenting and representing APA LGBTQs in literature through activism and agency, whether as an individual or as a group pushing the boundaries within and outside the walls of APA and LGBTQ communities.

Program speakers include: authors Malinda Lo, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Dwight Okita and MOONROOT zine collective members Sine Hwang Jensen and Linda Nguyễn.

Malinda Lo (Speaker)
Malinda Lo is an award-winning journalist for her work in LGBT media. Her debut novel, Ash, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist and a Nebula Award Finalist. Her next novel, Huntress, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and another Lambda Finalist. Malinda lives with her partner in California.

Mary Anne Moharanj (Moderator & Speaker)
Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of BODIES IN MOTION, a Sri Lankan-American novel-in-stories (HarperCollins) and nine other titles.  BODIES IN MOTION was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, has been translated into six languages, and was selected for the One Book, One Truman program at Truman College.  Mohanraj was a recipient of a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for Asian American arts organizing, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, a Neff Fellowship in English, a Steffenson-Canon Fellowship in the Humanities, and the Scowcroft Prize for Fiction. Mohanraj is Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction writing and literature at the University of Illinois, Associate Coordinator of Asian and Asian American Studies and Executive Director of both DesiLit (www.desilit.org), an arts organization supporting S. Asian and diaspora literature, and the SLF (www.speclit.org), an arts organization supporting speculative fiction.

Dwight Okita (Speaker)
Dwight Okita is a Chicago native and third-generation, gay Japanese American. He started out writing poems in first grade because he couldn’t write compositions. Tia Chucha Press published his poetry book CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT. He has written stage plays which were produced in Chicago including THE RAINY SEASON, RICHARD SPECK, and the collaborative play THE RADIANCE OF A THOUSAND SUNS. Okita was featured in a documentary for public TV called “Out & Proud in Chicago.” Currently, he is focusing on novels: His first novel THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and his second novel THE HOPE STORE is entered in the 2013 Amazon contest.

Linda Nguyễn (Speaker)
Linda Nguyễn is an MLIS graduate, queer artist, and member of the MOONROOT zine collective living in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sine Hwang Jensen (Speaker)
Sine Hwang Jensen is a graduate student, activist, and dreamer from Baltimore, MD working towards an MA in History and an MLS at the University of Maryland, College Park with a specialization in archives, records, and information management. She is passionate about cultural heritage preservation, and Asian Pacific American history. She works as a racial justice facilitator and women’s health teaching associate at Johns Hopkins University and is a member of the MOONROOT zine collective.


Download the PDF flyer:

APALA President's Program Flyer Image


Early-Bird Pricing Ends Today for APALA Social Events!

Dear APALA members and friends,

Act now before APALA’s ALA Annual social events before early-bird pricing ends and register now!

Sign up form for both events: www.apalaweb.org/registration


Friday, June 28, 2013 (12PM–3PM)

Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial (Cambodian Association of Illinois)
2831 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Enjoy a guided visit through the Cambodian American Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial on Chicago’s North Side. Our visit will include South East Asian finger foods and snacks. The museum staff is excited to host us! Established in 2004, the Killing Fields Memorial is the only memorial of its kind outside of Cambodia. The museum and memorial aim to raise awareness of the Cambodian genocide, and human rights more broadly, and celebrate the renewal of Cambodian community and culture in the United States. A portion of APALA’s tour price will be donated to the museum. Additional donations are welcome.

    • Early-bird registration (on/before June 10):  $20 for APALA members / $25 for non-members.
    • Regular registration (June 11–June 24): $30 for non-members / $35 for non-members.
    • Public transit from the Loop: Brown Line (Kimball-bound) to Francisco stop. Use Google Maps for more specific directions.
    • For those interested in going to the museum together from the official APALA hotel, APALA member Paolo Gujilde will meet at 10:45AM in the lobby of the Westin River North and escort the group via public transit to the museum.


Saturday, June 29, 2013 (Begins 7PM)

APALA’s Annual 2013 Dinner
Home of Mary Anne Mohanraj

An intimate affair at the Oak Park home of writer Mary Anne Mohanraj: Enjoy a catered and home cooked buffet-style dinner of traditional Sri Lankan dishes (including vegetarian/vegan options) while mingling with friends old and new. Dr. Mohanraj is Professor of Fiction and Literature and Associate Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She has authored nine titles, including Bodies in Motion, and is also a translator, Asian American arts organizer, and Executive Director of DesiLit.org. Dr. Mohanraj will be cooking part of the meal and will read pieces from her writings.

    • Early-bird price (before June 10, 2013): $30 for APALA members / $40 for non-members.
    • Regular price (after June 10, 2013): $35 for APALA members / $45 for non-members.
    • You will receive Mary Anne’s home address in your registration confirmation email.
    • Public transit from the Westin River North: From the Clark/Lake stop, take the Green Line (Harlem-bound) to Harlem Green train stop. Use Google Maps for more specific directions.
    • Public transit from McCormick Place: Best to take free ALA shuttle back to the hotel and catch the Green Line as explained above.
    • Cab ride from downtown to Oak Park would be around $25.
    • For those interested in going to Mary Anne’s home together, APALA member Paolo Gujilde will meet at 6PM in the lobby of the Westin River North and escort the group via public transit to her home.


Sign up here for both events: www.apalaweb.org/registration  

Please share with your friends, colleagues, and other people who might be interested.

Register early and take advantage of the early-bird registration option. Early registration will help us tremendously with ordering food. Thank you!

Questions? Contact Samanthi Hewakapuge, samanthi@uic.edu.

Download PDF flyer of APALA events at ALA13:


APALA Newsletter Spring 2013

The latest edition of the APALA Newsletter is available now!

Download your copy now: APALA Newsletter Spring 2013 [PDF, 3.1 MB]


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