by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
Jeremiah Paschke-Wood joined APALA in 2013 and is currently the Head of Instruction at the Edith Garland Dupré Library at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He attended library school at University of Arizona’s School of Information Resources and Library Science.
Asked about his reasons for joining APALA, Jeremiah writes:
I thought APALA presented a nice opportunity to do what I could to advocate for librarians of Asian American heritage (as well as other less-represented backgrounds) as well as interact/network with and get to know some other cool librarians that could appreciate good home-cooked Filipino and Chinese food.
Jeremiah is of mixed heritage. Regarding his ethnic background, he states:
So, contrary to how it probably appears via my picture (or name), I’m ¼ Filipino on my mother’s side. She was born in Hawaii to a Filipino mother and a very-white service member father. My dad’s side is very Scandinavian as well. So the end result is a 6-foot-tall, red-bearded white guy with a lot of extended family with names like Corazon and Bonifacio who only looks Filipino when he shaves everything but the moustache off. Best of both worlds, I guess, right? My wife and I also shared names when we got married, taking my family name even further away from the Asian side of the family. I’ve always been very proud to grow up in a very diverse and inclusive family and culture, and I can honestly say that I feel as in touch with the “minority” side of my upbringing as the white one.
Jeremiah’s professional role as an instruction librarian has required him to invest time and effort on the ACRL standards and teaching methods. We asked him about his current professional outlook, goals and interests:
I think one thing that we have to do as librarians moving forward, particularly with issues with funding and technological changes, is find ways to be more proactive in both dealing with students and faculty. I’ve tried to be more involved with outreach and “hitting the streets” to create those relationships with the university community that might not have existed before. I think it’s also important, particularly with demand for library instruction increasing, to find new ways to provide library instruction that is actually relevant and useful for students–and doesn’t take 40 hours a week to do so. In terms of other professional goals and interests, I’d like to continue to meet and work with lots of librarians from different backgrounds and upbringings–particularly since so many of the students we work with are from different communities and cultures.
Jeremiah is an eloquent writer and blogger. He had worked with APALA’s Newsletter & Publications Committee and the Web Content Subcommittee on many tasks and authored a number of articles.
Interview conducted by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow. Editing and writing support provided by Alyssa Jocson Porter.
by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
While Roberto C. Delgadillo has only been a member of APALA since December 2012, he has been a significant friend to many APALA members and a stalwart ally of our organization, before and since this time. Roberto joined APALA after the 2nd Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC), held in Kansas City, Missouri in September 2012. He was inspired to join our ranks because
I came away very impressed at the work of a number of high energy, committed and solid APALA members that really walked the line and addressed issues faced by all POC in the library profession.
Roberto says that he has yet to become more involved in APALA’s work, but he has already made some astounding contributions to the librarian profession and ALA. The latest was his participation as a panelist for the 2014 APALA President’s program “Immigration Reform, Asian Americans, and Librarianship” during ALA Annual in Las Vegas, NV.
Roberto shares his cultural heritage and background:
I am Nicaraguan by birth and traveled with my family to the United States in the spring of 1975. We came to Los Angeles to take advantage of an offer by Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children to have corrective surgical operations performed on my left leg and right knee as a result of a bout of childhood polio. That disease and a number of others broke out following the earthquake that occurred at 12:29 a.m. on Saturday, December 23, 1972 near Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. Needless to say, it was not the Christmas many Nicas expected!
By the time the aforementioned operations were completed in 1978, my family knew we would not return and so remained undocumented for a decade until our citizenship status could be resolved. Unlike many Nicaraguans at that time, we were raised as Baptists and not Catholic. I mention this because I recall many instances where others assumed otherwise or, because of the variety of Spanish I was raised with, thought we were of Mexican origin. More than once I had to remind to some, jokingly, that Nicas do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo and had we been there more than likely fought alongside the French during the Battle of Puebla.
As a Research Support Services Librarian at University of California, Davis, Roberto is the subject liaison to many disciplines and research areas: Chicana/o Studies, Disability Studies, Latin American Studies, Literatures in English, Military Science, Physical Education, Religious Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures.
Roberto mentions that one of his main goals in his professional work is outreach so that students, especially those from historically underrepresented backgrounds, understand the role of the library in their research and education. He actively tries to remind these students that “they have services they pay for all too often go unused or that others before them paid for in unmeasurable and unacknowledged ways.”
In addition to his commitment to outreach to students, Roberto also finds enjoyment and fulfillment in being a mentor to other librarians, saying,
My mentorship activities attune me to the ever changing landscape of librarianship and the need to serve and be there for others when they leave the confines of the university or consider career choices. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had a number of mentors that freely gave me their patient counsel, support and kindness in the choices I’ve made. In turn, I feel the need to share and or empathize with others what I have learned not only as a librarian, but as an immigrant to this country, as a disabled person, and finally as the first in my family to earn a Master’s and subsequently a doctorate degree. I feel energized whenever I find someone willing to listen to what I have to say or, conversely, when they seek me out! I don’t want, in my career, to be known as what I refer to as a “Lord Poopington”: one who never goes beyond the library desk or is willing to share what life lessons informed them.
Perhaps Roberto’s proactive attitude is led by his desire to live by the last stanzas of Mary Oliver’s poem “When Death Comes”:
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
Interview conducted by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow. Editing and writing support provided by Alyssa Jocson Porter.
by Manlia Xiong
On March 31, 2015, I had the chance to conduct a phone interview with Thuy Vo Dang, Archivist for the Orange County and Southeast Asian Archive (OC & SEAA) Center; a part of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Libraries. With the opening of the new OC & SEAA Center on May 13, 2015, the center will provide both physical and virtual spaces for intellectual discovery and innovative research for UCI faculty, students, and the community at large. To learn how you can support the OC & SEAA Center, please visit http://ocseaa.lib.uci.edu/support.html.
Manlia Xiong (MX): Hi, Thuy. Thank you for sharing some of your time with me this afternoon. May you, please introduce yourself and briefly describe your role with the OC & SEAA collection?
Thuy Vo Dang (TVD): Thank you for having me. My title is Archivist for the Southeast Asian Archive (SEAA) and Regional History in University of California, Irvine (UCI) Libraries. My primary role involves collection development in the SEAA and OC regional history collections. I set priorities for organizations’ and individuals’ records we want to collect from. From the SEAA side, my role overlaps with bibliographer responsibilities of curating a cohesive collection on the populations from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. They include a wide range of disciplines and multiple formats from audiovisual materials, to dissertations, theses, serials, and monographs. Also, I cultivate donor relationships in the community by being a liaison to community organizations and individuals. For example, we had received some records from the Khmer Girls in Action of Long Beach. These are some of the community outreach I do.
With the opening of the OC & SEAA Center, my main responsibility is the management of the space and building out new programs to introduce our collections to users. We have a really great space for instruction, so I’m trying to build that up more going forward. Then, we also have an oral history recording studio. One of my future projects is to build oral history support services. Not only do we collect and preserve oral histories, but we want to promote and empower partons to do their own documentation and record their histories here. We provide the reference materials, best practices, guides, manuals, examples of documentation forms, equipment, and documents that they can use to do the oral histories themselves. We have the equipment here, and they can come use or check them out. This sums up what I’m currently doing in my role in the UCI Libraries.
MX: Wow! Your role and responsibilities is another great example of the many hats a Librarian wears. This comes to show how we never do the same thing day in and day out and are constantly challenged in new ways.
TVD: Yes, we are.
MX: Now, could you tell me a little bit on how the SEAA collection got started? How was it built? Who are the particular people who played a role in the development or change of the collection? What role or mission does the collection address?
TVD: The SEAA is almost 30 years old. The SEAA was founded in 1987. I’d say this is a really great example of a community based archive. The catalyst for the formation of the SEAA did not come from the UCI Libraries, or as a response to the curriculum or to a faculty member’s research. Instead, the motivation came from the SEA community. As the SEA community developed in and around the county, the SEA community approached the University to document the history. Essentially it was the Vietnamese community lead by Professor Pham Cao Duong and Vu-Dinh Minh who had approached the University concerning the need to document the growing number of SEA in OC, and at that time there were no departments or units interested. However, UCI Libraries did have a research librarian who was in charge of the OC subject area. Her name is Anne Frank. She was willing to start building that relationship and collection.
As there was little funding for the new collection, initial materials were collected by donation. In 1993, relying on the community’s support the SEAA Advisory Board was formed by several key individuals including one person who is still very active named Prany Sananikone (he is currently our SEA ambassador), Professor Pham Cao Duong, Dr. Bui MInh Duc, and librarian Angela Yang. All these individuals really contributed to the phase of outreaching and building our collection via gift monographs. So, they solicited materials from the community, organizations, and individuals to send in or donate their records for the archive. From there, the collection organically grew
As the collection grew, it expanded to include the experiences of SEA refugees and immigrants all over the United States. However, the special focus on OC and California remains. It has become the mission of the SEAA to preserve and document the social, cultural, religious, political, and economic life of SEA Americans, beginning with the exodus from Southeast Asia through the process of resettlement, and to transformations in the present and future.
MX: It’s amazing to hear how many people were passionately involved in the construction and development of the collection. Moreover, to hear how the collection had become an asset to the OC & SEA community there.
Additionally, may you please describe the physical facilities that house the OC & SEAA collection? Overall, what makes OC & SEAA collection significant or unique compare to other collection?
TVD: At first, Anne kept all the items donated and collected in her office. As the collection grew, it went from a few drawers in a file cabinet, to the quarters in the basement of the UCI Libraries where the materials were housed and used with ease. It was, in the late 1990s, that the collection moved into its own reading room. The reading room was about a 600 square foot reading room located on the third floor of the Langson Library, which was once called the Main Library. In that space, the collection had a breathing room to grow and soon it outgrew that space.
In 2007, Anne retired and that was the same time of the budget crisis for the University of California. So, her position was not filled and another librarian was given the SEAA as an one more additional area of responsibility to oversee. The librarian was Christina Woo. Woo did a great job in maintaining the bibliographic responsibilities of the collection and also did some outreach. She also developed a relationship with the special collections department and a road show to take out to the community. These were some of the things to help stabilize the collection within those years.
In 2012, this position, the Archivist for the SEAA and Regional History was developed and I was appointed in 2013. We started strategizing on how we could grow both the collection and space, so that our users can start here as the beginning point for them to explore this important history. With strong support from our University Librarian, Lorelei Tanji, within a nine month period, we were able to build out the new OC & SEAA Center, which is a 2,800 square-feet space located across from Langson Library in the Libraries Gateway Study Center.
I believe what makes the collection unique is we are part of Special Collections and Archives; in a sense we are a library within a library. However, with our archival collections described and made accessible through the Online Archive of California (OAC) and with functions such as circulating books, we are able to provide reference. When we are all fully operational in May, we will have more resources that will be very unique to our collection, in particular through our commitment to expanding community engagement.
MX: Can you tell me how is the OC & SEAA collection organized? What various subcollections, formats, and unique items are included in the collection?
TVD: The Orange County and Southeast Asian Archive collections are either organized by creators, donors, organizations, and in chronological order of materials that have been accessioned and processed into the collections. The collections are not organized by subgroups or ethics groups.
One thing I want to mention is a strong partnership we have with the Vietnamese American Oral History Project (VAOHP), which began in 2011 and came out of the Department of Asian American Studies of UCI. The VAOHP objective is to capture the oral histories of first generation Vietnamese Americans who have memories of life in Vietnam, the Vietnam War, and the displacement and resettlement of refugees from Vietnam. The project plays an instrumental role in documenting their histories and legacies in order to preserve their stories for future generations. This is a born-digital oral history project. It began as an audio recording project, and now the next phase is incorporating video Interviews. This digital repository has been a really great model of how a library partnership early on can help facilitate quick access to our collection. The turnaround time for many of the oral history is between two to six months, which means that the interview is fully recorded, transcribed, translated, and made available via UCISpace. UCISpace @ the Libraries is part of a suite of digital scholarship services offered by the UCI Libraries and is a service for the UCI community to publish, manage, and preserve diverse kinds of research output. UCISpace is our depository where we archive and make our oral history accessible to the community. This is an example of a subcollection within the UCI libraries that I believe really shows a great model of University and community partnership, as well as inter-campus collaboration.
MX: May you share with me what programs are available to researchers, visitors, and community education?
TVD: In addition to the VAOHP as I had mentioned, the OC & SEAA collection has a strong collaboration with faculty on our campus. I want to mention one of our research faculty, Linda Trinh Vo, in particular. Linda is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies here at UCI. She’s been with us for about 15 years and she has really been a great ally to the Southeast Asian Archive by embedding the collection into her curriculum, so her students may use the materials in their coursework. Drawing upon her field of expertise, she is also instrumental in expanding the collection through the advocacy work she performs in the SEA community. Moreover, she is also the Lead Faculty Advisor for “The Southeast Asian Archive Access Project,” that developed Documenting the Southeast Asian American Experience (SEAAdoc).
The SEAAdoc project is an educational resource of the SEAA at the UCI Libraries. The project brings together the core materials for elementary, secondary, and community college students who want to learn more about the immigrants and refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
In addition to the programs that are available through the OC & SEAA Center, we also have the SEAA Anne Frank Visiting Researcher Award. The purpose of the award is for faculty, students and independent researchers like filmmakers and writers who live outside of OC and are not affiliated with UCI to use the research collections in the SEAA.
MX: These are some wonderful programs that you had described. I hope, as we publish this article, it will help bring some prospect visitors, donors, and researchers to the OC & SEAA and Regional History Center.
TVD: Most definitely!
MX: Lastly, if someone is interested in visiting the collection, where is the center located, what are the hours and days of operation, and whom should they contact if they have additional questions about the collection and center?
TVD: Sure! The OC & SEAA Center is on the first floor of the Libraries Gateway Study Center, next door to Langson Library, on the UCI campus. We are open Monday through Friday, from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., and by appointment. My email is email@example.com and my office number is (949) 824-1878. An alternative contact here is Jackson Bui, who is our Technical and Access Services Assistant. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and his office number is (949) 824-5269.
Editing assistance provided by Alyssa Jocson Porter.
by Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow
This feature essay on an Asian/Pacific American library leader focuses on David Mao, currently Deputy Librarian of Congress. When I initiated the e-mail conversation in late February 2015, I had just gotten the news that David had just been appointed Law Librarian of Congress. I sent some questions to David, focusing on his background and his thoughts on library leadership and diversity. This article provides an edited version of David’s responses.
Melissa Cardenas-Dow (MICD): Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career to date?
David Mao (DM): I was born in New York City, but raised in New Jersey. After graduating with a B.A. in international affairs from the George Washington University, I earned a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. I then practiced law for several years before returning to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in library science at the Catholic University of America. My first library position was at Georgetown, followed by several library positions at the international law firm Covington and Burling. From there I moved to the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. In 2010 I transferred to the Law Library of Congress as Deputy Law Librarian. I was appointed Law Librarian of Congress in January 2012 and in January of this year, I was named Deputy Librarian of Congress.
MICD: What ways do you see yourself as a diverse professional?
DM: I interpret diverse professional to mean all the different facets that an individual brings to the workplace. For me, that includes being of Chinese descent and being born and raised in the United States. I also have gained tremendously from extended living, studying and traveling in Asia. Professionally, I have worked in academia, the private sector and public service. The sum of all these experiences has influenced my work ethic, approach to business and outlook on the future.
MICD: Please describe an instance in which diversity played a beneficial role in your library work.
DM: Over the years, I have interviewed numerous candidates for library positions. As noted above, I have worked professionally in various sectors (academic, private and public) and thus have been able to understand better how applicants’ experiences in those areas may relate to the particular position sought.
MICD: Has it been challenging to move up the leadership ladder? How did you make the move from middle to upper management?
DM: Moving up the leadership ladder has been challenging just like achieving any other goal that one sets out for oneself. It takes hard work, steady progress and commitment. Throughout my career I have looked for and taken advantage of opportunities both within and external to my work organizations. These opportunities included lending assistance on projects, making connections with others and seeking feedback.
MICD: How does diversity influence your leadership style?
DM: As a result of my various experiences, I welcome and seek different perspectives in how to approach challenges and opportunities.
MICD: What attributes do you look for in future leaders?
DM: The basic qualities I look for in a future leader are intelligence and good interpersonal skills. Talented individuals will have the ability to innovate using available resources and to find opportunities in times of change. Two skills I count as important in a future leader includes technical know-how and the knowledge of how to apply technology appropriately to areas throughout an organization.
MICD: Are these the same skills, talents and qualities you recommend diverse professionals develop as they seek new leadership positions? Please explain further.
DM: These are only a small sampling of the skills, talents and qualities that a professional should have! Of course, every leader has a unique set of aptitudes that he or she cultivates and applies to the organization. Part of professional development means acquiring those skills, knowledge and abilities that will make an individual the right “fit” for a particular position or organization.
MICD: What advice would you give to young professionals, especially those from diverse backgrounds?
DM: Create networks, not only within your organization but also externally. Join professional associations (both local and national—and perhaps even international) and attend conferences to give yourself the widest possible view of your industry. Find your niche within that industry and know—and be able to express—how you can bring value to the organization.
MICD: How about advice for midcareer professionals, especially those who are interested in moving into higher management?
DM: As I mentioned, professional associations are great for learning more about your industry. These associations also typically have leadership positions in their committees, special task forces and boards. Midcareer professionals interested in management positions in their organization can demonstrate leadership on one of these groups and transfer their experience to the workplace.
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?
DM: The strength of a high performing organization is in its people and I equate staff diversity with an organization’s ability to grow, change and make progress. The more varied the staff and managers are, the better chance the organization has to get past the status quo. Diversity in staff translates to diversity in management if the organization cultivates its leaders from within its own workforce. In every issue and action, an organization should integrate the development of a diverse workforce into its strategic plan in order to succeed.
Editing assistance provided by Molly Higgins. Many thanks to Eugenia Beh for facilitating this interview.
APALA member Rebecca Martin brings us the fourth essay on our advocacy fatigue mini-series. Advocacy is a significant part of our continuing development in the field of librarianship, a helping profession. It follows that self-care and renewal is also a significant part of our professional growth. However, finding renewal by stepping away temporarily isn’t always easy or feasible. Rebecca’s reflective piece raises some questions, and solutions, concerning such situations.
In anticipation of APALA’s 35th Anniversary & Symposium, we take a closer look at the very human aspect of advocacy work—fatigue.
~ Melissa I. Cardenas-Dow, APALA Web Content Sub-committee Chair, 2012-Present
For those of us engaged in social justice work that is intimately tied to our own identities, taking a break to avoid advocacy fatigue isn’t always easy — or at times even possible.
My own experience working at Community Change, Inc. tells me that anti-racism work follows us home: it can fuel our dinner table conversations; it can disrupt our sleep; and it can wear us down. Anti-racism work is an ongoing process that continually deals with oppression on personal, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels. It is not the type of work that has easy “wins.” It has daily, sometimes hourly, roadblocks. And for those of us who identify or are perceived as individuals of color, we do not have the privilege of easily taking a break from feeling, facing and experiencing racism.
In light of this reality, taking a break might mean stepping back to gain new perspective. Maybe it means taking stock of what experiences brought us to this work in the first place, and which books, writers, and organizations initially influenced us to take action. Perhaps it means reflection on the future as a means of revitalization.
My own approach is to imagine what an anti-racist society looks like and how we can work toward that goal collectively. I try to imagine how I want to contribute to that future: what role do I want to play? What skills and tools do I need to fulfill that role? Over the years, as my interests, skills and relationships have evolved, so has that vision.
As I’ve advanced in my experience as an anti-racist activist, I’ve undertaken continuing education opportunities just as I’ve done in my career as an academic librarian. In both cases, clarifying goals, acquiring new skills and learning about new tools has revitalized my approach and my interest in moving forward. The same approach can apply to any advocacy, activist or social justice work.
Some of the personal/professional/disciplinary goals I am working on during my current phase of fatigue include:
Fatigued or not, I always seek guidance and inspiration from my peers, colleagues and community members. I keep an eye on the What’s Your Normal series from APALA and seek new avenues for influencing diversity in academic libraries. I have also participated in local discussions about critical librarianship and what it means to be a “whole-self” librarian.
I think if we can view fatigue as part of our cycle of renewal, we can emerge revitalized and better poised to serve ourselves and our communities.
I’ll end by asking you to share what approaches to renewal you use in the comments below, and to consider the following quote from fellow librarian Audre Lorde from 1982:
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives… Our struggles are particular, but we are not alone. We are not perfect, but we are stronger and wiser than the sum of our errors.”
Rebecca Martin is an academic law librarian at Boston University and a volunteer librarian at the Yvonne Pappenheim Library on Racism at Community Change, Inc. She is interested in the role of anti-racism education in LIS curricula and on the Internet and the role of law libraries in access to justice and information initiatives.
Editing assistance provided by Jaena Rae Cabrera and Melissa Cardenas-Dow.