Early Bird Registration for APALA MidWinter Tour and Social Dinner Ends Soon

Dear APALA Members and Friends!

Early bird registration for APALA’s MidWinter tour and social dinner ends on Friday, January 17th! It’s not too late to still take advantage of the reduced rate!

On Friday, January 24th, we’ll be visiting the Asian Arts Initiative, where we’ll hear about SAADA from Samip Mallick and Philadelphia’s Asian American community (in particular, their Chinatown) from Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and Mary Yee of Asian Americans United. We will be serving lunch catered from Philadelphia Chutney Company. Learn more at http://www.apalaweb.org/apala-tour-and-talk/

On Saturday, January 25th, we’ll be hosting authors Ellen Oh (The Prophecy Series, originally The Dragon King Chronicles), Soman Chainani (New York Times bestseller The School of Good and Evil) and publisher Phoebe Yeh of Crown Books for Young Readers. (Phoebe is allegedly the first Asian American woman in publishing to have her own imprint.) We’ll be meeting at Karma Restaurant & Bar at 5:30 for dinner with our guests. Learn more at http://www.apalaweb.org/meet-ellen-oh-soman-chainani-and-phoebe-yeh-at-the-apala-social-dinner/

Please register at http://www.apalaweb.org/resources/registration/ We will have great food and company and a healthy dose of Asian American activism and solidarity. Also, please encourage people to sign up and spread the word!

APALA Tour and Talk

APALA Tour and Talk

Friday, January 24th



Please join us at the Asian Arts Initiative to learn more about Philadelphia’s Asian American community! We will be hearing from Samip Mallick of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Mary Yee of Asian Americans United, and Gayle Isa of the Asian Arts Initiative. (Thanks to the Asian Arts Initiative and SAADA for generously hosting this event!)


Lunch will be served (catered by Philadelphia Chutney Company).

Please register at http://www.apalaweb.org/resources/registration/


Asian Arts Initiative

1219 Vine St

Philadelphia, PA 19107


Directions from Loews Hotel: https://goo.gl/maps/BQH4i


12:00 -1:00 –  Lunch and welcome from Gayle Isa

1:00 -1:30 – Talk by Samip Mallick

1:30-2:00 – Talk by Amanda Bergson-Shilcock

2:00 -2:30 – Talk by Mary Yee

2:30-3:00 – Explore AAI


Gayle Isa, founder and executive director, has been an active participant in Philadelphia’s arts and culture community for 20 years, beginning as an intern and evolving as a staff member at the Painted Bride Art Center. She has been a Douglas Redd Fellow focused on arts and community development, and has served on the boards of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the National Performance Network. She currently is a board member of the national Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists and serves on the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs and the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. In 2011, she became the first Asian American appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Gayle was once an aspiring taiko (drum) player and is now focusing her creative energy on learning to be a new mom!

Samip Mallick is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). Mallick has a M.S. in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Illinois, a Bachelors degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan College of Engineering and has done graduate work in Ancient Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. He was formerly the Director of the Ranganathan Center for Digital Information (RCDI) at the University of Chicago Library and previously also worked for the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). http://www.saadigitalarchive.org/

Amanda Bergson-Shilcock is the director of outreach and program evaluation at the nonprofit Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, an economic development organization serving immigrants. She coordinates data collection and analysis, enabling the Welcoming Center to use hard evidence to support its decision making. Amanda’s experience with public libraries stretches back to 1990, when she began as a teenage page at Ludington Public Library in Bryn Mawr. More than two decades later, she continues to be employed at Ludington as a weekend reference assistant. Most recently, Amanda designed and oversaw the Welcoming Center’s pioneering study of immigrant technology usage, Digital Diaspora. http://www.welcomingcenter.org/

Mary Yee, Parent and Community Involvement Consultant. Mary has been involved in planning and advocacy for Philadelphia neighborhoods for over 35 years. While working with Asian Americans United, she became involved with the Education Law Center (ELC) in 1985, as a representative of the plaintiff’s side in an advisory group to develop policies and programs to remediate a civil rights suit (YS v. School District of Philadelphia) filed by ELC against the public school system. The suit on behalf of limited English proficient Southeast Asian refugee students alleged unequal access to educational programs and services. Her work in educational advocacy has included a 12-year stint at the School District of Philadelphia working on ESOL/Bilingual program issues, compliance and equity, language access, and family engagement. More recently, she worked at Foundations, Inc. providing technical assistance to out-of-school time programs. She is pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Reading/Writing/Literacy.

Meet Ellen Oh, Soman Chainani and Phoebe Yeh at the APALA Social Dinner!

We are very fortunate this year to have 3 special guests joining us for the 2014 APALA Midwinter Social Dinner! Please join us at Karma Restaurant & Bar on Saturday, January 25th at 5:30PM and hear Ellen, Soman and Phoebe discuss diversity in YA and children’s literature and their upcoming works! Click here to register for this event!

Originally from NYC, Ellen Oh is an adjunct college instructor and former entertainment lawyer with an insatiable curiosity for ancient Asian history. She also loves martial arts films, K-pop, K-dramas, cooking shows, and is a rabid fan of The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra series. Ellen lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and three daughters and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel. http://www.ellenoh.com/index1.html

Soman Chainani’s first novel, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List, has been translated into languages across six continents, and will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Studios. As a writer and film director, Soman’s films have played at over 150 film festivals around the world, winning more than 30 jury and audience prizes. He has a BA in English Literature from Harvard and an MFA in Film from Columbia University. http://somanchainani.net/

Phoebe Yeh joined Random House Children’s Books in the newly created post of v-p, publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers where she is publishing new books with a focus on middle-grade fiction and narrative nonfiction. Her Fall 14 inaugural list includes books by New York Times bestselling authors Suzy Becker, Jon Meacham, and Walter Dean Myers and newcomer Lou Anders.  Prior to joining HC in 1996, Yeh was a senior editor at Scholastic Press, where she edited the Magic School Bus books and was an editor of the SeeSaw Book Club. As Editorial Director at Harper Collins she was responsible for the estate programs of Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and C.S. Lewis, the Series of Unfortunate Events publishing program, and the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series, and acquired Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate series.  She has worked with Aliki, Soman Chainani, Eloise Greenfield, Julius Lester, Betsy and Ted Lewin, Christopher Myers, Walter Dean Myers, Ellen Oh, Joanne Ryder, Seymour Simon, and Laurence Yep.

APALA 35th Anniversary Planning Committees

Dear APALA members,

APALA will be turning 35 in 2015! To celebrate and commemorate this milestone, we are planning to hold the first ever APALA conference (there was a joint APALA/CALA conference in 2001) in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, a very appropriate location considering the deep history and strong presence of Asian Pacific Islanders in this city known by many names including, Gam Saan. And we need your help to make this a success!

Many of you may remember the grand time we had when we celebrated APALA’s 30th anniversary in Washington, D.C., where the activities included a tour of the White House and a gala dinner. In San Francisco, we will not only have tour(s) and a dinner, but we will hold a day-long conference that specifically focuses on the information needs and issues of APA communities.

The planning committee has met a couple of times to begin brainstorming ideas and hammering out the details, and we have formed the committees that are necessary for this event. We have listed below the main committees that will work to plan OUR conference. If you are interested in serving on one or more of these committees, please contact one of the chairs of the planning/steering committee below.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
Gary Colmenar

Planning/Steering Committee Chairs:

Jade Alburo, jalburo@library.ucla.edu
Florante Peter Ibanez, florante.ibanez@lls.edu
Gary Colmenar, colmenar@library.ucsb.edu

Committees for APALA 35th

  • Program Committee
  • Program Booklet
  • Local Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Assessment Committee
  • Publicity/Outreach Committee

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


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