Former APALA President Florante Ibanez Appointed to the California Library Services Board

The office of the Governor of California, Edmund “Jerry” Brown, Jr., released a statement announcing the appointments of members to the California Library Services Board. Former APALA President Florante Peter Ibanez (2010-2011) is among the new appointees. The appointment will last for four years.

The statement released by the California Governor’s office states the following about Ibanez:

Florante Ibanez, 62, of Carson, has been appointed to the California Library Services Board. Ibanez has served in several positions at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles since 1992, including manager of library computer services and computer resources center assistant. He was an adjunct professor for the Loyola Marymount University, Asian Pacific American Studies Program from 2007 to 2014 and was a communications and hardware support specialist at Ashton Tate – Borland International from 1990 to 1992. Ibanez was a personal computer support specialist at Citizen American Inc. from 1988 to 1990 and project staff at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees from 1982 to 1984. He was assistant director of the early outreach program at the University of California, Irvine Educational Opportunity Program from 1979 to 1982 and a coordinator of resource development and publication at the University of California, Los Angeles Asian American Studies Center from 1971 to 1972. Ibanez is a member of the Filipino American Library Board of Directors, the L.A. as Subject board, the California Library Association, American Library Association and was a member of the 2nd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color Steering Committee in 2012. He is a member of the City of Carson Historical Committee, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, where he was president from 2010 to 2011, and the University of California, Irvine Alumni Association. Ibanez earned a Master of Arts degree in Asian American studies and a Master of Library Science degree in information and library science from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Ibanez is a Democrat.

For more on the California Library Services Board appointments, please refer to the statement released by the California Governor’s office.

The California Library Services Board is an organizing body that functions within the California State Library:

The California Library Services Board consists of nine members appointed by the Governor and four by the Legislature. The state board determines policy for and authorizes allocation of funds from programs of the California Library Services Act. Members serve for four years, representing various constituencies, and also comprise the State Advisory Council on Libraries for the federal Library Services and Technology Act. The State Librarian serves as Chief Executive Officer of the California Library Services Board.

The current California State Librarian is Greg Lucas, who has been in office since April 2014. For more on the California LIbrary Services Board, please refer to the Board’s official website.

APALA extends congratulations to Florante. You will be an invaluable asset to the Board!

Summer 2014 APALA Newsletter is Out!

The latest issue of the APALA newsletter is now available. See what APALA has planned for ALA Annual 2014. A schedule of events is included. This issue also has articles that recap APALA events at ALA Midwinter 2014 in Philadelphia.  It also includes very important amendments to APALA’s constitution and bylaws, which will be discussed at the Membership Meeting at ALA Annual 2014 (Sunday, June 29, 2014, 8:30 am to 10 am in LVCC-N119). Download your copy!

2014 APALA Travel Award Recipient Announced

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Scholarships and Awards Committee has selected Gerie Ventura as the recipient of the 2014 APALA Travel Award.

Gerie Ventura is the Circulation Operations Lead at Highline Community College in Des Moines, Washington, where she has worked for 19 years. She is currently pursuing an MLS at the Emporia State University, Portland (OR) campus with a concentration in Leadership and Administration and expects to graduate in August 2015. Gerie is active with both the paraprofessional and training interest groups of the Washington Library Association. She serves as the Vice-Chair of the Tukwila (WA) Library Advisory board and Administrator of the Greater Seattle chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society. Gerie is a new APALA member.

APALA provides a forum for discussing problems of APA librarians and for the exchange of ideas between APA librarians and other librarians, supports and encourages library services to APA communities, recruits and mentors APA librarians in the library/information science professions, seeks funding for scholarships in library/information science master’s programs, and provides a vehicle enabling APA librarians to cooperate with other associations and organizations with similar or allied interests.

The selection committee is chaired by Tassanee Chitcharoen and co-chair Valeria Molteni and is composed of Emily Chan, Janet Clarke, Paul Lai, Christina Nhek, Gayatri Singh, Melanee Vicedo

Past Travel Grant Winners

Linda Nguyen (2013)
Catherine Phan (2012)
Cynthia Mari Orozco (2011)
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozado (2010)
Sally Ma (2009)


APA Library Leader Interview — Lisa Chow, New York

Lisa Chow: Advocate and Visionary of Re-shaping the Library Landscape

by Dawn Wing

Meet Lisa Chow. She is an information professional extraordinaire whose mission is to bring people-centered design into libraries. Even before finishing library school at Pratt Institute, Lisa had already honed her skills and passion for initiating, developing and managing outcome-based projects. Currently, she is half of People Interact, a consultancy that works with libraries and nonprofits to implement creative solutions to effectively improve individual and organizational performance by focusing on the human element.Lisa also works as a Web Analyst in Brooklyn Public Library’s IT/Web Applications department where she continually seeks and implements new ways of serving patrons.

Lisa is widely recognized in the library world for her advocacy as a Special Libraries Association (SLA) Rising Star, Library Journal (LJ) Mover & Shaker, American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leader, and Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Diversity Scholar. In this interview, Lisa provides refreshing insights for information professionals of all stages in their careers and dares us to think outside the box.

Dawn Wing (DW):  What was your journey towards librarianship?

Lisa Chow (LC): When I was exploring career options for biology majors, I came across medical librarianship. While medical librarianship is what got me interested in librarianship, I have become interested in many different areas of librarianship since then and decided not to limit myself or my career.

Before college, I volunteered at the neighborhood library of Brooklyn Public Library where I started off as a book buddy, then computer coach, and then special events coordinator (probably the fanciest job title I’ve ever had).

What are my sources of inspiration? I’ve got a poster of “50 Reasons Not to Change” posted at work. You can find the poster and other sources of inspiration:

DW: What is your philosophy as a librarian and how has this shaped your career?  

LC: Designing and making libraries accessible to all, the idea of universal design. Empowering people to use information to make informed decisions. It’s about people.

DW: You have a lot of experience taking initiatives to improve library services. Could you provide some history and background information regarding your co-founding of People Interact and various (un)conferences? What was your thought process and motivation behind these initiatives?

LC: My colleague and partner-in-crime Sandra Sajonas and I co-founded People Interact. We started blogging at over 3 years ago. We are passionate about helping organizations and professionals adapt in our rapidly changing world. Inspired by user experience design, our work is guided by a people-centered philosophy of making sure that people are not lost in the shuffle. We work with libraries and nonprofits to implement creative solutions to effectively improve individual and organizational performance by focusing on the human element.

What do we do:

  • Design thinking and impact-based assessment: program and service design, space planning and utilization, strategic planning process, usability and user experience, workflow and processes.
  • Unconferences for organizational development: staff unconferences, thematic unconferences.
  • Leadership and career development: presentations, succession planning, webinars, workshops.

DW:  What exactly is an (un)conference? What got you interested in spearheading (un)conferences?  How did you go about planning one?

LC: An unconference is a participant-driven event where the discussion topics are determined by the participants and the focus is on the collective knowledge of the group.

I attended my first unconference in 2007, LibraryCampNYC at Baruch College:  I really enjoyed the informalness and openness of LibraryCampNYC. I felt like I got more ideas and inspiration out of an unconference than a traditional conference.

Shortly after attending the event, Brooklyn Public Library was planning the annual staff development day and I thought the unconference concept might be a good idea to test drive and incorporate into staff development day. However, it seemed like the planning committee was well into the final planning stages of staff development day. It actually worked out better as its own event. I formed a team and Brooklyn Public Library had its first staff unconference – BPL ThinkTank in May 2008. A few years later, I was talking to a good colleague and mentor and we thought it would be great to do a health themed unconference. Shortly after, I formed a team to organize HealthCampNYC, a regional health unconference focused on using collective knowledge to improve health literacy and community health.

Organizing an unconference is like organizing any kind of event. However, there are four principles of unconferences and the law of two feet or motion.

The four principles are:

  • Whoever comes is the right group of people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • When it’s over, it’s over.

The law of two feet or motion states that “any persons neither learning from nor contribution to a group discussion must walk [or move] to another one.”

If you would like to learn more about unconferences, I co-authored a Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) LibGuide on unconferences. It’s a guide on unconferences and tools, resources and tips for doing your own unconference:

DW: What were some reactions and outcomes from (un)conference participants?   How is it different from attending a traditional professional development conference?  Do you think (un)conferences inherently allow for more diverse perspectives and participation because of its openness?

LC: An unconference is a participant-driven event where the discussion topics are determined by the participants and the focus is on the collective knowledge of the group. Unconferences are about participation and its openness does allow for a better flow of ideas. However, unconferences like conferences depend on their organizers and participants/attendees.

The BPL ThinkTank unconference gave staff a chance to explore new ideas in librarianship freely in an open and informal environment. Some of those ideas included: clear and consistent communication, transparency of processes, more training opportunities, sharing accomplishments, and flexibility with technology. There were positive reactions from participants and management hosted three follow-up sessions with participants. Participants said the BPL ThinkTank unconference was productive and they liked the positive and energetic atmosphere and that they got to choose the topics. Since then, the unconference concept has been integrated into regular staff trainings and meetings. One participant said it best: “A fun, relaxed atmosphere truly fosters creativity.”

The HealthCampNYC unconference, while regional, attracted worldwide interest, with visits to the event wiki from over 800 visitors from 222 cities. We had individuals who asked if there was a way to participate remotely. Participants said the HealthCampNYC unconference helped them start collaborations, network and share resources, and that it had a great impact on the overall health conversation. Since then, we followed up with participants and as a result of HealthCampNYC, they are working on articles, partnerships, collaborations, and grant-funded projects.

Image of Lisa Chow, taken in 2007 for Medical Library Association.

Lisa Chow, co-founder of People Interact.

DW:  How does your diversity influence your work ethic?

LC: I’ve got a “50 Reasons Not to Change” poster at my desk with tidbits like “We’ve never done that before” and “We’ve always done it that way”. I hear a lot of reasons to not change the ways libraries have always done things. Sometimes things need to change in order to improve library services and processes for both staff and patrons. As a result, I find myself doing things differently than many of my colleagues. For example, I’ve initiated pilot projects and organized events without management approval. It’s easier to apologize than to ask for permission. An example is the Library Workers’ Skill Share event. I teamed up with two other Library Journal Movers & Shakers to organize the event in an effort to provide support for all NYC library workers who are job hunting, unemployed, facing potential layoffs or simply looking to freshen up their skills. Over 80 people attended the event, which included panels, workshops, one-on-one speed mentoring, resume review, speed business coaching sessions, and a networking & resource room. My co-event organizers, being in the education and job division, were allowed to use work time, since it’s a job-related event. However, I was not in that division, so I had to use my own time. This is the kind of library tradition way of doing things that doesn’t make any sense. For me, it didn’t matter whether or not I had to use my own time, because I was co-organizing this event as a librarian, regardless of the organization that I was working at. It just would have been better and a little easier if the library organization didn’t give me a hard time about it while I was trying to organize an event for library workers in less than three months.

DW:  What skills or talents do you recommend that diverse professionals might develop as they seek to enter and grow in various areas of librarianship?


  • Study what you’re interested in, whether that means generalizing or specializing in library school.
  • Set up informational interviews to learn more about topics and areas of interest.
  • Step out of your comfort zone.
  • Be comfortable and familiar with technology, not necessarily knowing and learning every software/tool/platform out there but being aware and able to make decisions about what technology would be useful and relevant to your users (staff and/or patrons).

DW:  What advice would you give young professionals, especially those from diverse backgrounds, who are interested in becoming a library leader?

LC: Take advantage of scholarships, stipends, various mentoring and leadership programs and initiatives that support early career librarians or library school students and/or diversity in the profession. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Find a partner-in-crime. Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to nominate yourself. I nominated myself for SLA Rising Star. You’ve gotta toot your own horn.


Check out resources and slides from Lisa Chow’s leadership and career development presentations and webinars:

To read more about Lisa Chow’s projects, please visit her e-portfolio:


Editing assistance provided by Melissa Cardenas-Dow.

Regular Registration for APALA @ ALA14 Still Open!

Registration for the APALA Tour and the APALA Literature Banquet are still open!

Tour of the Innovative Zappos Headquarters and the Downtown Project Hosted by APALA

Please join us for an APALA fundraising event with a tour of the fabulous Zappos corporate headquarters and the community-focused Downtown Project, both owned by Asian-American leader Tony Hsieh. Your donation supports APALA’s scholarships and awards including the ALA Emerging Leaders Sponsorship and the Sheila Suen Lai Research Grant, plus events like our upcoming 35th Anniversary Celebration in 2015!

We will meet at Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. and return at 2:30 p.m​. Transportation will be provided, and we hope you can come and network with other librarians over lunch downtown! (lunch included with registration)

Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
3555 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Regular Registration for Members (June 8 – June 25) $ 30.00
Registration for Non-Members (June 8 – June 25) $ 35.00
Onsite/Late Registration (after June 25) $ 40.00

To register:

Celebrate the Best in Asian/Pacific American Literature at the 2014 APALA Literature Awards Banquet

The annual awards program will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturday June 28, 2014 at KJ Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant in conjunction with the 2014 ALA Annual Conference. Several winning authors have confirmed in attending the banquet.

Children’s Literature Winner: Cynthia Kadohata. The Thing About Luck.
Picture Book Winner: Ji-li Jiang. Red Kite, Blue Kite.
Picture Book Honor: Marissa Moss. Barbed Wire Baseball, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu.
Young Adult Literature Winner: Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani. Jet Black and the Ninja Wind.
Adult Non-Fiction Winner: Cindy I-Fen Cheng. Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War

Following the formal presentation and dinner buffet, authors will be available for book signing.

Restaurant information:

KJ Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant
3700 W. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, 89103

Regular Registration for Members (June 8 – June 26) $ 40.00
Registration for Non-Members (June 8 – June 26) $ 45.00
Onsite/Late Registration (after June 26) $ 50.00

To register:

If you need to renew your APALA membership, go to

Spotlight on Ariana Sani Hussain: An Emerging Leader

by Jaena Rae Cabrera

Ariana Sani Hussain is a Children’s Librarian at the District of Columbia Public Library in Washington, D.C. She has been an APALA member since 2011. She currently serves on the Family Literacy Focus Committee, which promotes the Talk Story Program, a joint literacy project between APALA and AILA (American Indian Library Association), and is a member of the Task Force on Library Services to APAs. She has also been part of the 2013-2014 Literature Award Committee for Picture Books.

Ariana was selected as an ALA Emerging Leader for 2014, sponsored by APALA. The ALA Emerging Leaders program is intended to be a leadership development program for new library workers (not necessarily librarians!) who have less than 5 years of experience working at a professional or paraprofessional level in a library.

On her time with APALA, Ariana writes:

Joining APALA really correlated with my becoming more involved as a library professional and trying to step up into the role. I also think that it helped being more visible and to see how encouraging and supportive everyone is of each other. I did participate in the mentor program. Angela Boyd was my mentor and she was pretty awesome. I think APALA did a great job following up on our progress and areas of interest, but it also helped to have someone just listen to my concerns and validate my worries, fears and progress.

Previous EL participants, Lessa Pelayo-Lozada and Susan Hoang, offered me help and advice for participation. Springer gave APALA the funds for this year and last year’s ELs, I believe, so I met with our EB and Springer at ALA Midwinter to take photos. Of course, everyone has been very supportive and congratulatory, but because we don’t have a specific APALA project this year, I have not had much interaction with APALA in terms of related projects. Other APALA members involved in this year’s class are Annie Pho, Ray Pun and maybe a few others, but I’m not certain. Unfortunately, there is not too much directed interaction, other than the initial day, between ELs outside of our groups, except through Facebook and other informal connections.

On being an ALA Emerging Leader, she writes:

It actually took me a really long time to decide to apply. A former Emerging Leader and fellow librarian at DC Public Library, Ana Elisa de Campos Salles, spoke highly of the program and recommended that I apply. I am by nature, more of a support player than leader, so the idea of applying for an emerging leaders program was just a little intimidating. Also, the application has questions that delved into previous leadership experiences and assessing one’s strengths and weaknesses. I am notoriously bad at doing these kinds of things! Seeing evidence and recognition of my work makes me happy, but is also a little cringe-worthy.

I was, however, very intrigued about the program and thought that it would help me, not only with long-term goals in the profession, but also in my day-to-day interactions within my system, with administrators, stakeholders and patrons in my library system and local community. I mentioned in my WYN piece for APALA that I felt that I had held back during library school and lost the opportunity to gain really solid professional development opportunities when it came to ALA and leadership in general. I thought that the Emerging Leaders program would offer me the chance to catch up and to develop a stronger skillset, and give me clarity to develop into the kind of leader that I want to be.

The Emerging Leaders program enables selected participants, 50 at most, to participate in problem-solving working groups, working on selected topics that pertain to ALA divisions, chapters and round tables. We learn more about ALA as an organization and serving on committees and task forces. We have participants this year from a variety of organizations from public, academic, school libraries, corporate and even one awesome LIS student who is being sponsored by AILA, and works at a community college/community and tribal facility.

We first meet at Midwinter then work on our projects in a virtual collaborative environment, culminating in a poster session presentation at Annual.

This year’s EL projects are pretty varied and very cool. It was hard to decide on one particular proposal. I am currently in a group working on a project for the Map & Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT). The scope of our project is part marketing and outreach, and part identifying gaps in services, service outreach and possible partnerships. I wanted to do something a little different and a little challenging, and I thought that the project was interesting and would be a good fit. Any mapping or map/GIS related programs that APALA would be interested in?  :)

I enjoy working and networking with my group members, our coordinator and all the Emerging Leaders. They are all pretty cool people, who have interesting ideas and have done some pretty impressive things so far, and I’m interested to see what greatness they will achieve in the future. EL projects keep us pretty busy, but we also have opportunities to participate in webinars and a few other leadership development exercises.

For anyone considering applying to the EL program, Ariana writes:

I think that there are benefits for students to participate in EL in that it’s a very good opportunity to meet with liaisons to groups and get involved in ALA, but it has been a substantial amount of work (maybe that’s just my committee). I don’t think that students wouldn’t be able to handle the pace, we have students that are participating, but I do feel that it’s a good opportunity for new professionals.

Image of ALA-Emerging Leader 2014 Trading Card featuring Ariana Hussain.Ariana Hussain ALA-EL Trading Card (back)

If you’re attending ALA Annual in Las Vegas, meet Ariana and the rest of the 2014 group of ELs at a poster session and reception from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 27 at the Las Vegas Hotel in Pavilion 01. The ELs will showcase their final projects at the poster session.


Editing assistance provided by Raymond Wang.

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