Member Highlights Showcase — Frans Albarillo

Frans Albarillo joined APALA in 2008 and currently serves as a member of the Finance and Fundraising Committee. He was recently recognized by ACRL as their Member of the Week for April 1, 2013. Frans earned his MLIS from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 2009, where he enjoyed working with supportive faculty and students from various parts of Asia and Oceania. He currently works as the Reference Librarian for Business and Sociology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Frans identifies himself as an immigrant Filipino and describes his background:

I became a naturalized citizen in my 20s. My parents are professors, so I grew up moving around every four years until they received tenure in Illinois. Hawai’i was the longest place I’ve ever lived (six years) besides the Philippines (twelve years). For my undergraduate and first M.A. I studied linguistics and French. I am also a heritage speaker of Tagalog and eventually studied it formally at UH Manoa. I’ve also traveled, lived, and worked for several years in Europe, mostly in France, Morocco, and the French West Indies. French and Francophone culture plays a deep influence in my life since I’ve spent almost four years studying, working, and traveling in these areas.

After moving from Hawai’i to Flatbush, Brooklyn, which is a Caribbean neighborhood with Dominicans, Trinidadians, Jamaicans, and Haitians, I feel like I’ve come full circle, back to the smells, tastes, and sounds of the Caribbean. I like it here very much. I self-identify in Brooklyn as coming from Hawai’i because the island identity seems the most salient in my neighborhood. When I meet local Hawaiians from Hawai’i (one of our librarians is from Maui) she tends to think of me as local Hawaii-Filipino. To most Asians I am a Filipino-American or Pinoy, and most Filipinos call me Francis, not Frans. There’s also a definite island vibe in Flatbush: street merchants selling all sorts of wares and food on the sidewalk, jerk chicken barbecue places, Rastafarian vegetarian restaurants, West Indian roti shops, Haitian jazz restaurants, informal van services (Dollar Vans) that are quite popular in the Caribbean, and drum circles in the park. It’s a great place to live if you enjoy Caribbean culture.

His personal background lends to his work with immigrant students.

I really value working with immigrant students and immigrant experiences. That’s why I love working in New York City. My university serves many foreign-born and first-generation college students. I also enjoy the diversity that the city offers, not to mention the diversity of food choices!

Frans recently participated in ALA’s Emerging Leaders program in the 2012-2013 year. Of his ALA-EL experience, he writes:

I really enjoyed Kathryn Deiss’s Emerging Leader workshop at ALA this year, and I thought it was immensely useful to hear from the other Emerging Leaders about their projects, experiences, and outcomes. It was great to be able to have these conversations about the association, and I am excited to continue the discussion with the Emerging Leaders Interest Group, chaired by Angelica G. Fortin. I’d like to thank APALA for sponsoring my application to the program, and my teammates, Susie Judd and Susan Hoang, for being such great collaborators.

We are very happy to get to know you better, Frans!

Member Highlights Showcase — Charlotte Roh

My name is Charlotte Roh and I matriculate from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign in July 2013.

I am currently an Association of Research Libraries Career Enhancement Program (ARL CEP) Fellow at the University of Arizona, Tucson. I am investigating collaborative opportunities for the University of Arizona Press and Library. It is similar to the work I did last semester with Illinois Business Consulting, and I really enjoy it because I get to put my academic publishing experience with Taylor & Francis and Oxford University Press to work in a library setting. I am currently interviewing leaders in scholarly communications and library publishing, which is just amazing.

I joined APALA in January 2012, right when I first started library school, on the advice of Jina Park (also an APALA member and scholarship recipient). I am so glad that I did, because it was through fellow members such as Charlene Hsu Gross and Michelle Baildon that I learned about opportunities like the Spectrum Scholar Program and the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC). I was also a little isolated in the Midwest, so I really enjoyed all the listserv emails from members around the country. It made me feel so connected and encouraged! I haven’t been a member that long, but APALA has already been a community for me and made an impact on my library career. I am glad to give back as the layout editor for the APALA newsletter.

I am Korean American, and was born and raised in Southern California, in an area that has a dense population of Korean Americans. So I grew up very privileged in terms of identity, very sheltered. Moving to New York in my 20s and then Illinois for library school were both difficult transitions for me. Half of New York is from somewhere else, so there is a constant clash of cultures. However, in Illinois that clash is more subtle. For example, the University of Illinois has an undergraduate population that is 19% Asian American, but there were only two Asian Americans in my cohort at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). Fortunately I arrived at a time when the program was actively pursuing inclusion, so I was able to participate in founding the GSLIS Students of Color student group and co-chair the Inclusions and Exclusions Reading Group.

My three career priorities are education, research, and making a holistic impact on a community. Ideally these priorities are interrelated and can really happen in any kind of librarianship, which is something I love about the profession. In my library work, I have found real satisfaction building relationships in the course of solving a research problem or participating in a teaching/learning moment. I want to continue to be an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and hope to make a positive impact in librarianship as a field.

I am so grateful for the APALA community. You have really made a difference in my life, thank you!

Charlotte’s photo credit goes to Molly Magee.

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!

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