Tinamarie Vella just joined APALA in August 2012, so please give her a warm welcome! She is part of the Literature Awards Committee for the adult non-fiction category.
Tinamarie received her M.S. in Library & Information Science from Long Island University’s Palmer School of Library and Information Science. She also holds a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College, which is part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system. She currently works as the Access Services Manager of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Research Center in New York City.
Tinamarie is a wonderful, knowledgeable addition to APALA’s Literature Awards Committee. She writes:
I have a strong interest in Asian/Pacific Islander history and literature, having done my graduate thesis on Filipino American Literature in World War II. I watched a special on the Pacific Front on the History Channel, and I was hooked.
Tinamarie is also active in ALA’s NMRT, LLAMA, and her state’s library association, New York Library Association (NYLA). She was a participant in ALA’s Emerging Leaders program in 2011 and is currently the chair of NYLA’s New Members Engagement Subcommittee. She is currently running for the Leadership Development Director position of ALA’s NMRT. Please see Tinamarie’s campaign video on YouTube.
When asked about her cultural heritage and background, Tinamarie shares:
Being born in Brooklyn, New York breeds a sense of cultural pride for your hometown.
My parents both have diverse backgrounds. My mother comes from a mixed background, her father was African American and her mother was Italian (from Naples, to be exact). My father came to this country when he was 10 months old, he was born in Birzebbuga, Malta, and he came with his English mother.
If you mix it all up, you have me.
Tinamarie is a blogger and writes about her professional and personal experiences and thoughts. Please check out her work at Occasional Rants and Raves. On her blog, Tinamarie writes about her interests:
I love spending time with friends and family as cheesy as it sounds. I love discovering new things, cultures, and I really need to work on traveling more! I would like to read and write more, I have a dream of winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, but I’ll settle for a published book/short story. I love capturing the moment, and have been called a camera whore on more than one occasion. I enjoy lounging around, abusing my DVR, attempting to be the Next Iron Chef, and of course online shopping. I could watch METS baseball all day. I used to love going to concerts, but I feel I’m getting too old for the mosh pit. I have recently discovered the surprisingly fascinating world of sci-fi, comic and horror conventions, and attend whenever I can.
As for her professional librarian goals and interests, Tinamarie is very much invested in building bridges between journalism and librarianship and nurturing new, emerging library professionals.
I work in a fast-paced news library. Much like in journalism, new and emerging library professionals must think fast and adjust to a quickly changing world of information gathering. I am working to strengthen the relationship between journalists and librarians, there’s the opportunity to work together, but it isn’t being nurtured properly.
I am also very interested in creating and cultivating leadership opportunities within our profession, we receive interns on a semester basis, and I love to have them here at this small yet distinct library that I work in, because it gives the interns the opportunity to create and experiment within all areas of librarianship.
Tinamarie is also an active volunteer of the NYC presence of Urban Librarians Unite (ULU), a “professional group created to promote and support libraries, library staff, and librarianship in urban settings. Urban Librarian Unite facilitates dialog between libraries and library workers, encourages new developments in library science, and advocates for libraries and librarians in urban areas.”
To connect online with Tinamarie, please visit her about.me page at: http://about.me/tinamarievella. Welcome, Tinamarie! We look forward to getting to know you better.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
~ Henry Ford
“Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television.”
~ David Letterman
My Personal Strategic Plan (2012 – 2017):
Mission (why I exist)
To live a fun, purposeful, and extraordinary life, and make a positive contribution to the world by inspiring others to do the same.
Vision (what I will be)
I will be the “me” that I have always aspired to be:
Guiding Principles (how I will get there)
Professional: I like to mix business with pleasure and I am very fortunate that I am able to develop my day job into something I really enjoy doing.
Well-Rounded: I have a lot of gaps in my knowledge, and I am a very curious person. Therefore, I want to be proactive in filling those gaps that I find interesting. I will learn:
Courageous: Fear has been the stumbling block in far too many instances in my life. I accept that it is natural to be afraid sometimes, but when fear stands in the way of achieving my goals, then I must find ways to overcome it. The best way to learn is to practice.
There are other things that are just scary to me, but I am determined to conquer that fear: skydiving; getting upside down and doing a handstand.
Compassionate: I accept that I am by nature a selfish person, and this is a selfish goal because it makes me feel good. But if I could benefit others in the process, then it’s definitely worth doing.
Over the years, many people, including many strangers, have told me that I have a good voice and I should use it. Hence, I will record an audio book for the blind. I will mentor someone. Anyone want to be my protégé?
It always makes me happy when people compliment me, and I always feel that I don’t do that for others enough. It takes courage and humility to pay sincere compliments, and I will pay more attention to everyday situations in order to do that more.
Artistic: I have the need to create, but more often than not, I lack the discipline. This must change.
I will publish a short story, write a book, a screenplay, and create a photo essay.
No Regrets: Regrets? They are the worst!
I am showing you my actual personal strategic plan. It is an open template for everyone. My hope is that it will inspire you to think about some of the things you would like accomplish in your life.
This is my normal, and perhaps it will be your normal too.
About Leo Lo
On Leo’s 40th birthday, he set out a 5-year plan to accomplish 45 things before he turns 45. This is his quest to become the person he has always wanted to be: a happy person. From traveling the globe, to conquering his fears, to living a healthy lifestyle, he seeks to live life with curiosity, compassion, and a sense of humor.
Leo is Assistant Professor/Research & Development Librarian at Kansas State University. He was selected by the American Library Association as an Emerging Leader in 2010. He has an M.F.A. in Screenwriting. His first feature screenplay, Rock Paper Scissors, placed as a Top 10 Finalists in the 2009 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. He is a yogi and a foodie and is pursuing a PhD in Human Nutrition.
Personal Strategic Plan/Manifesto
The 9 Manifesto Principles: http://geoffmcdonald.com/the-manifesto-manifesto/
Creating a Personal Strategic Plan: http://unclutterer.com/2008/09/16/creating-a-personal-strategic-plan/
How to Make a Life List You’ll Actually Do: A Comprehensive Guide: http://www.raptitude.com/2009/09/how-to-make-a-life-list-youll-actually-do-a-comprehensive-guide/
The Holstee Manifesto: http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about#the-manifesto
Be Effective and Productive
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php
Start with Why: http://www.startwithwhy.com
Structured Procrasination: http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/
Tiffany Chow has been a member of APALA for a year and a half and is currently part of the Literature Awards Committee for the Adult Fiction category. She is a student of Drexel University’s iSchool, in their dual degree program, earning a M.S. degree in Library and Information Science and a M.S. in Information Systems (MSIS), with concentrations in digital libraries and youth services. Tiffany lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area of Southern California.
Tiffany is also a reference and instruction intern at University of California, Riverside’s Tomas Rivera Library. She is also an intern at UCR’s Water Resources and Collection Archives (WRCA), where she works on editing online finding aids. In addition, Tiffany volunteers at San Gabriel Library, which is part of the County of Los Angeles Public Library system, assisting with programs for children and with organizing materials for the initial stages of a digitization project.
When asked about her involvement with APALA, Tiffany reflects:
I first learned about APALA after doing research on a few professional library organizations for a homework assignment. I Googled most of APALA’s executive board and found that most of them were very distinguished in the field and reading all of their accomplishments made me aspire to be like them. As such, I joined APALA in order to network with other Asian/Pacific American librarians. I figured that if I wanted to contribute to the field, I should try to surround myself with those who were already doing a great job at it and learn from them.
An interesting fact about Tiffany’s personal background is her parents’ immigration history.
My parents immigrated to Nicaragua from China in the 1960s and lived there for about 15 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1979. I grew up speaking Spanish and Taishanese (Chinese dialect).
Tiffany is interested in working in the digital archives area of librarianship but would also like to gain experience in reference work in an academic or public library setting.
APALA provides Tiffany with a wonderful base of involvement within the library profession. She asserts, “Once I tell an APALA member I’m also in APALA, there’s this instant connection and friendship.”
Tiffany is also a fellow of the IE LEADS program (Inland Empire Librarians Educated to Advance Diversity and Service), a professional development and career support program funded through a generous grant from IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program and administered by the UCR Libraries. She received the fellowship in September 2011 and is continuing with the program until she completes her degrees. Tiffany credits her involvement with the IE LEADS program in her continuing education and development as a professional librarian.
During her spare time, Tiffany enjoys “eating nachos, drinking icees, going to Disneyland, watching musical theater, and taking [her] parents (both retired) on field trips.”
We are happy to have you among us, Tiffany!
When I was asked to write this article, I had no clue what to write about. My everyday life is just like everyone else’s. I go to work, eat, exercise, read, watch some television. The problem is “normal” simply exists. My normal is an unhealthy obsession with Hello Kitty and Doctor Who (separately, not together), but who doesn’t have at least one unhealthy obsession? I was about to say that these obsessions have nothing to do with my racial background–the subject of this essay–but maybe, in a way, they do. I’m mixed-race–Half White and Half Hawaiian-Filipino-Portuguese-with a smidge of Chinese. Maybe my love of Hello Kitty comes from my Asian-Pacific-Islander side and my love of Doctor Who comes from my mixed-European side. Whether my obsessions are racially based or not, you’re the weirdo for not sharing them. (Remember, this is about my normal, not yours.) But maybe I’m just like everyone else who loves disparate things in America. Either way, I grew up as a whole rather than two halves. Society, however, has made those two halves a much bigger deal than I ever could.
Growing up multi-racial was a non-issue for me as a child. In Torrance, California and its surrounding cities, the population, as well as most of my friends, was multi-racial. Within my family, racial differences came up between my two halves, but rarely was a big deal made about it. When on St. Patrick’s Day I was decked out in green and I pinched my grandmother because she didn’t have any green on, she let me know that pinching her wasn’t okay. Not because she was Tutu, but because she wasn’t Irish. Only I was. When my mom got a sunburn and I got a tan on the same afternoon, I noticed differences in our skin color. But everyone in our family had varying skin colors–the blessing and the curse of being a mixed-race family. Our differences, like “normal,” simply exist. Tan-ability or burn-ability is as normal as being tall or short.
My parents never encouraged or discouraged either race. I could dance hula if I wanted because few things are more Hawaiian than that. I could play the flute if I wanted because few things are more European than that. My dad’s side of the family could trace our ancestry back to the time of the Hawaiian kings, so we had a desire to live with cultural knowledge. My mom’s side of the family had been in America since the American Revolution, so we didn’t have any particularly European traditions that stood the test of time. For vacations, my family took long road trips because that’s what American families do, mixed-race or otherwise. In first grade, we drove from California to Maine and visited my mother’s family all along the way. My mom is a genealogist, so we met living and dead family members. We visited graves on family farms and met cousins so far removed I couldn’t tell you how we were related. But blood isn’t a race; it’s a bond. These predominantly white relatives brought us into their homes and told us stories of our mutual ancestors and their lives. My dad’s family is big, too. Since we were on the Continent, our cousins, uncles, and aunts came to visit us. We opened our doors and told each other stories of our mutual ancestors and their lives. Normal.
Being mixed-race in my family was easy as a young child. Fast forward a few years and racial differences started to become more apparent in my life, especially when I stepped out of my front door. As I grew older, people on the street would stop and ask me “What are you?” and I would answer with pride. Usually, my answer was never sufficient for them because they wanted to place me in their own category–mostly because I look racially ambiguous. Sometimes that included greetings in languages not my own. I lived in Southern California, so looking mixed race often meant “Hispanic or Latino” in many people’s minds. Sometimes it also meant invasive questions.
I learned that when you tell people what race you are, they expect certain things of you. Because I said I was Hawaiian, they assumed that I was born there. Because I didn’t have a working knowledge of the history of Native Hawaiians, I couldn’t explain to them how I was born and raised in Los Angeles and still maintain a Native Hawaiian identity. Blood is a hard thing to explain. Another expectation people have of Hawaiians is that they can dance hula. Or communicate with the land. Or have hair down to the waist. There is no hula or ancient Hawaiian proverb for: I’m from Torrance, so I can instinctually tell you where the 405 is.
Like any other normal teen, I took these expectations to heart. The question of my “Hawaiianness” came under the spotlight in high school, when I questioned and started to change my sense of “normal.” The first major thing that happened was my brother and cousins started to learn more about our Hawaiian side. They spent a week at the Kamehameha Schools Explorations Series camps for children from 5th to 6th grades. My dad and older cousins had gone as well, but due to some confusion and miscommunication, one cousin and I were unable to go the year we turned 11. Back then, they didn’t offer multiple years to attend like they do now. Back then, it was a one-shot, now-or-never situation. For me, it turned into never. Since I never went, I never knew what I missed. That is, until my brother and cousins came back with songs and skills I knew nothing about. I realized, as a teenager, that I knew next to nothing about what it meant to be Hawaiian. The situation became even more apparent to me when I met another Native Hawaiian in high school who would test me on what I didn’t know and then make fun of me. In my yearbook he wrote, “I hope you enjoy your poi with sugar.” Apparently, it was not the correct way to eat poi, even though that was the way my Hawaiian grandmother always prepared it for me. Being the tita I am (before I really knew what a tita was), I told this guy off and tried to pretend that it didn’t bother me. But it got me thinking that I was a fake. That I shouldn’t tell people I was Hawaiian because what about me, other than the blood that ran through my veins, was Hawaiian? Without the shared experience of Kamehameha Schools Exploration Series, I stopped being a normal Hawaiian, according to others. And the sad thing is–my lack of knowledge of Hawaiian culture made me a very normal American.
I wondered if “normal” was out of reach, if I was already too white-washed, too mainland, too pale to learn about this part of my culture. I was angry because I had always been confident. I had never had a problem with who I was. My whole existence was then called into question because of a few curious people and one mean kid at school. During my last two years of high school, after all of this questioning began, I started to explore Hawaiianness, what it meant to me and to others to have Hawaiian blood. I learned a hula from my grandmother (who chastised my skills at first, telling me I danced like a tourist) and taught it to my theater arts class. I tried to learn how to make a haku lei, but my grandmother’s patience and my stubbornness got in the way. During that first year of college I stuck to trying Hawaiian foods since that seemed easy enough. After being uncomfortable in my Hawaiianness, I tried to create a new sense of “normal,” taking comfort in the universal language of food.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2004, however, when I went to my first Hawaiian family reunion that everything changed for me. I got to see the land that my ancestors lived on, just like I got to see the lands of my ancestors on my mom’s side when I was a young child. I got to experience the weather and beaches that I had only seen in pictures. I got to see the hardship that many Hawaiians live with first hand. The traditions that they keep alive and those they’ve modified. I realized that I didn’t know who I was or what Hawaiianness meant until I learned where I came from. It wasn’t until I could breathe the air and taste the fruits of the land without the aftertaste of import that I understood what my “normal” was. Normal is a lived experience. I am Hawaiian but I am very much more. I feel comfortable on the Continent because I am steeped in this place’s tastes and smells, but Hawaii’s are familiar, too.
When I got back from Hawai’i, my school focuses shifted. I did more research on Hawaiians past and present. I learned about the politics that surround having Native, indigenous blood. And I learned that in many ways, many people would never see me as Hawaiian enough because of my mixed heritage. I belonged to the Daughters of the American Revolution and was a Kau Inoa card holder. I am more than a Native Hawaiian. I saw both sides of the problems and solutions, and I decided that my focus would become Hawaiians on the Continent. The Hawaiians that left the islands, who shaped my future, the Hawaiians who are questioned about their “-nesses.” Hawaiian-ness, White-ness, whatever-ness are part of my life experience, too. While we are asked what we are too regularly for the question to not be accusatory, I learned that our experience is enough. Like any lesson about learning who you are and where you’re going, all you have to be is enough of yourself, enough for those who love you, enough to make your ancestors proud. All the different parts of me make one whole, and that whole wants to be the best possible representative of all the different parts. I am proud of my ancestors who sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific into the great unknown and all I can hope is that I make them proud too.
Resources on being Mixed-Race and “Ness”
Resources on/for Continental Hawaiians
Hawai’i & Race
Rebecca Yoonhee Martin is currently working as the Assistant Circulation Supervisor & Faculty Liaison at Boston University’s Pappas Law Library. She focuses on interlibrary loan and document delivery for law school faculty and administration and helps to oversee the access services department.
One of the wonderful things about the member highlights is the opportunity to celebrate the diversities within APALA.
I grew up in a mixed race family and prefer the term hapa kolea to describe my half-Korean and half-Scottish ethnic heritage. My mother is first-generation Korean-American, but my father’s family has been in this country many years with a deep cultural connection to his home state of Texas. I grew up in Boston with my parents and half-sister, Yoonjung, where the kitchen was usually filled with smells of BBQ – both Korean and Texan!
Rebecca attended Rutgers University as a distance student and finished her studies there in winter 2011, concentrating on digital libraries and taking a great interest in the intersection of technology and social change. She tells us how she is thinking about moving forward in the profession.
As a recent LIS graduate, I’m still considering different professional routes. However, through my work at Community Change, Inc., I’ve found I greatly enjoy using my reference and research skills in a non-traditional learning setting – those that tend to elicit more situations of applied research, rather than just academic scholarship. Still, through my academic library experiences, I am exploring and learning how best to use library services and programs to foster civil and social engagement among student users.
I dedicate much of my free time to library work as well: I am an active member of the Boston Radical Reference Collective and serve as the Library Coordinator of the Yvonne Pappenheim Library on Anti-Racism at Community Change, Inc. Through my work at the Pappenheim Library, I presented with a group of colleagues on racism and its manifestations on the Internet at JCLC. I am also an Editorial Board member of the ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table Newsletter (SRRT), http://www.ala.org/srrt/.
I became an APALA member in 2011, while I was about half-way through my MLIS degree. I joined initially because, as an online student, I wanted to ensure that I had nearly all the same networking and mentoring opportunities as my on-campus counterparts. I wanted to find a community of practitioners who could provide mentorship and support as I entered the LIS professional community. Since joining, I have had the great pleasure of meeting several APALA members in-person, many at JCLC, and have strengthened online collaboration with others.
I currently serve on the APALA Publicity Committee and have contributed to the APALA Newsletter as well. One of my favorite APALA projects is the What’s Your Normal? series. I very much look forward to each entry and getting to know about the perspectives, interests and experiences of APALA members past their professional identities.
See Rebecca’s article, White Screen/White Noise: Racism on the Internet, pp. 10-11 in the APALA Newsletter, Winter 2013.
Article compiled, written, and edited by Charlene Hsu Gross, in cooperation with Rebecca Yoonhee Martin.
Edited, 1/29/2013 for duplicated content.