Member Highlights Showcase — Heawon Paik

Heawon Paick is a lifetime member of APALA. Those of us who are recent members would benefit greatly from getting to know such a distinguished member of our association.

Heawon has been an APALA member since 1998 (or 1999). She served as APALA president in 2004-2005. Since then, she has been part of APALA’s Scholarship Awards Committee, as both member and chair, and the Mentoring Committee as a mentor. Heawon currently serves as the chair of the APALA Publicity Committee.

Since 2004, Heawon has been the branch manager of John Muir Branch, then of Junipero Serra Branch Library of the Los Angeles Public Library, a public library system in Southern California that is 72-branches large. Heawon’s branch, Junipero Serra, is in South Central Los Angeles, which is only a short distance south of downtown Los Angeles.

Of her MLIS education, Heawon writes:

I studied at Maryville College for one and a half years then was going to go back to Korea, but decided against it.  Then I went to University of Tennessee, Knoxville for my MLIS degree.

When asked about the satisfaction she derives from her professional position as a librarian, Heawon asserts getting great satisfaction in guiding and supporting her professional and paraprofessional staff to excellence. It is little wonder that Heawon states mentoring as among her greatest professional interests.

I want to see future potential leaders succeed in their career path… push them and guide them into that direction.

Someday, Heawon would like to work as the director of a library system, in which she can make a greater difference in the lives of library patrons and staff members.

Heawon is an avid reader and movie viewer, especially of British mysteries. She has an extensive personal collection of novels and DVDs. Though Heawon enjoys company over a nice meal or afternoon tea, she admits to also enjoying quiet time at home. Driving long distances is one of the things she avoids when she can. However, the prospect of being with valued friends and colleagues makes such effort worthwhile to her.

Heawon is definitely among the most approachable, interesting and engaging members of APALA. Be sure to say hello when you see her in library conferences, meetings, and social gatherings.

Member Highlights Showcase — Alyssa Jocson

Name: Alyssa Mendoza Jocson

Hometown: Fremont, CA–but I currently call Seattle my home!

Education: I am a full-time MLIS student at University of Washington’s iSchool where I am focusing on reference services and community programs. Before coming to the UW, I graduated from Seattle University with a BA in English/Creative Writing (with a second major in Spanish) and spent two years as a Literacy*AmeriCorps member teaching ESL and GED students at Seattle Central Community College (SCCC).

Current job: My time as a Literacy*AmeriCorps member at SCCC has led me to two part-time positions in other departments. First, I became a Fiscal Assistant for Workforce, which has given me valuable skills in budget management. And second, I was hired as a Reference Assistant at the SCCC Library, where I get to spend whole shifts at the reference desk helping students with their research assignments and computer skills.

Ideal job: I graduate in June! As I start my job search, I’m looking for a librarian position in a community college or public library where I can serve diverse populations.

APALA: I’ve been an APALA member since spring 2012 and soon volunteered to be on the Newsletter Committee and its Web Content Sub-Committee. When I first started my MLIS program in which I’m one of the only Asian Americans, I struggled with finding a sense of belonging within my future profession as a librarian–joining APALA helped me find community and grow professionally. I appreciate this group of people so much!

Other extracurriculars: To supplement my MLIS curriculum, I joined and became a core organizer of iEracism, a student group designed as a safe space to discuss issues of race/ethnicity and social justice. It is also important to me to to make time to volunteer. I’m currently volunteering at the Wing Luke Museum’s Gov. Gary Locke Library; I completed a guide for Asian/Pacific American genealogy resources and have started working on a “wish list” for the library’s collection. Also, this quarter I have a Directed Fieldwork at Seattle Public Library’s Ballard branch. My learning objectives include reference services, collection development, and one-on-one technology instruction. Ballard is one of the system’s busiest branches, and I am learning a lot!

Currently reading: America Is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration by Meg Keene.

Twitter: @itsuhLEEsuh

Professional Portfolio:

Member Highlights Showcase–Tinamarie Vella

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 page at: Welcome, Tinamarie! We look forward to getting to know you better.

Member Highlights Showcase–Tiffany Chow

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!

Member Highlights Showcase — Rebecca Martin [edited]

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),

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.

Member Highlights — Dawn Wing

Greetings, APALA community! My name is Dawn K. Wing. I am the Information Services and Instruction Teaching Assistant at Media, Education Resources, Information Technology (MERIT) Library at University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). I am currently finishing up my last year of graduate school at UW-Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) and anticipate receiving my MLIS in May 2013. My focus is reference and instruction, particularly outreach, instructional design and online learning.

Time certainly does fly by. I am glad I joined APALA during my first year of school. I will never forget the warm welcome from members and eating copious amounts of food at the APALA Social held at a local Chinese seafood restaurant during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA this past June. It was a pleasure to finally match faces to familiar names.

Also, I am honored to be a part of APALA as a member of the newsletter committee and web content subcommittee. I am grateful for the opportunity to talk about APA issues in LIS and highlight the achievements of APA library leaders and writers under the supportive direction of APALA committee leaders like Gerardo Colmenar and Melissa Cardenas-Dow. A piece I am proud to share with the APALA community is an interview with 2009 Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award winner and cartoonist Lynda Barry. Taking Ms. Barry’s creative writing course at UW-Madison was one of the most exciting, moving experiences in my life. I am also privileged to support the “What’s Your Normal?” series and am touched by the inspiring stories APALA members are contributing.

An interesting project I am working on in my current position is second language collection development at MERIT Library. Collaborating with my peers, I hope to increase the number of bilingual picture books in Arabic, Hmong, Chinese, and Spanish so that current and future K-12 teachers can provide engaging literature that will help English Language Learners in the classroom. I am fortunate to work with a colleague who previously worked for the Hmong Archives in St. Paul, Minnesota and is contributing her knowledge of Hmong resources to this collection development endeavor.

In addition to collection development, I also enjoy teaching new educational technology to pre-service K-12 teachers at UW-Madison. Having had fun web conferencing experiences with Google+ Hangout, first introduced to me by Melissa Cardenas-Dow, I am now an avid promoter of Google Apps and its potential for collaborative, online learning. Please check out other LIS projects I’ve worked on by visiting my e-portfolio at

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