APALA is a professional organization that addresses the needs of Asian and Pacific American (APA) librarians and those who serve APA communities. As an ethnic affiliate of the American Library Association, our members come from diverse library backgrounds including school, academic, public, and special libraries. By choosing to partner with APALA, sponsors provide funding for scholarships, conference programs, literary awards, and professional development opportunities for our members.
We would like to thank the following companies:
Sponsor of the APALA President’s Program at 2013 ALA Conference: Pushing the Boundaries: Presentation and Representation of LGBTQ Members of/by Asian/Pacific American Writers, Authors
Founded in 2000, Alexander Street Press specializes in publishing large-scale and high quality digital collections in the humanities and social sciences. In 2012 they partnered with Asia Pacific Films to create Asian Studies in Video.
Visit Alexander Street Press at: http://alexanderstreet.com
Sponsor of the APALA Emerging Leaders Scholarship
Founded in 1842, Springer publishes information in the fields of science, technology, and medicine. Their major platforms include SpringerLink and Springer eBooks. Their ebooks are DRM free!
Visit Springer at: http://www.springer.com
Founded in 1880, Elsevier is the world’s leading provider of science, technology, and health information. Examples of their products include ScienceDirect, SciVerse, Scopus, and MD Consult. Elsevier is a founding publisher of global programs that provide free or low-cost access to science and health information in developing countries.
Visit Elsevier at: http://www.elsevier.com
Founded in 1965, SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media in the areas of business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine.
Visit Sage at: http://www.sagepub.com
The month of May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. I will start off with that. What I want to say is that I follow the creed of financial expert and television personality, Ms. Suze Orman: “People first, then money, and then things.” I live by that order and almost always execute it in anyway I can. I don’t know if that’s normal. People don’t usually give up their time for others to an extreme, or do they? I volunteer in homeless and soup kitchen shelters because I want to. I help my friends or anyone in need of my “brain” or “time” because I want to. When people need my support, I am willing to sacrifice or “invest” my time on their behalf.
It’s kind of infectious, you see. I do my best to empower people around me because that’s what I seem to be good at. I love inspiring and motivating people to do their best because I believe in them, I see that they can do their best, and they deserve to be recognized for that. They, in turn, do the same for others.
However, this is ironic because I also see that I am unable to empower or inspire myself. I am constantly discontented and largely dissatisfied with myself. I see, all too clearly, how my life turned out differently from my own vision, which was largely borrowed from my parents. It seems that I have set an almost impossibly and invisibly high bamboo ceiling of expectations that no one can see or break, even myself. I don’t know, maybe it’s how I was raised: a defense or survival mechanism?
The drive to succeed and be “overly” or “super” ambitious is quite a common “gene” in Asians and Asian Americans. It is not a totally exaggerated stereotype in popular culture. There’s some truth to it. We were natured and nurtured to be workaholics of perfectionism, or at least in the eyes of our parents.
Like most Asian immigrant parents raising Asian American children, my parents expected my “academic and behavioral perfectionism” as forms of “normalcy” or “normality” or “normativity.” It is normal to get 100s in calculus exams, write perfect essays on literary epistemology of Victorian novels, and to greet and pay respects to your grandparents, even after the derision and irrelevant criticism you receive from them. On the contrary, it is not normal to refute your parents’ wishes, not normal to not go to Ivy League schools, not normal to not go to law or medical school, not normal to not be perfect.
Anything less than the ideal perfection is an insult to your family history and reputation. It questions your identity, the very essence of who we are. I learned to cope with that the best I could. The ever-present voices in my mind say: “You are not good enough. You will never be good enough. Now get back to work. Don’t waste any more time.” Those voices belonged to my parents, but I have now “embraced” them as my own. Maybe I like playing librarian because helping people allows me to escape from my own personal misery, self-loathing, and defeatist attitude?
From time to time, I think I did something right with my life at one point, though I did not fulfill my parents’ expectations. I didn’t go to Ivy League schools. I am not a doctor, lawyer, or investment banker. I am not making six figures now or having children at the moment. Those factors are not important to me, but somehow I feel I am missing something here. Maybe I feel like a “loser” because I’ve disrespected my parents and that makes me lack something–self-dignity, perhaps?
Is it normal to feel lost or strayed from your parents’ idealization of your life or am I simply living a normal life beyond the confines of my parents’ expectations? I don’t know and I don’t think I really want to know.
Amy Chua’s work, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, sparked a lot of anger and debate over the years. The infamous Tiger Mom. Yes, my parents were indeed Tiger Parents. I don’t need to say more about that.
If I have kids in the future, I’d drive them insane, too. I am not here to put the blame on my parents. They are who they are. They probably went through a similar hell with their parents, too, for all I know. I don’t pry, but I do theorize: is there a perpetual cycle of parental condescension from one generation to the next? Maybe or maybe not. It also doesn’t help that I think like an American, but embrace my Chinese cultural roots. I am an amphibian. I can switch my mind from Chinese to American to Chinese again, but I do not share the same mindset with my parents.
This reflective essay is not supposed to heal or relieve myself or anyone else’s emotional burdens from their childhood roots. It is to illustrate that we may or may not share similar life experiences. Our parallel memories and experiences define who we are and our relationships to our parents and to each other.
If this somehow made you question or at least made you concur with what I had written, then I’ve said what I needed to say. I’ve “contexualized” my “normal life” experience and perspective to best fit the reader’s needs and understandings of life, or at least the life that I have. It is and isn’t normal, depending on when you ask me.
So far, life as a librarian is quite a “normal” life because I like the work. I get to help people (anyone, really) in an extraordinarily (non-social, work-like) way: I empower and encourage them to read, research, and think differently about things beyond their own horizon.
Raymond (Ray) Pun is a writer, librarian, and thinker in New York. He has written essays for The Huffington Post, Colleges and Research Libraries News, World History Bulletin, Business and Finance Bulletin, and more.
Asian American Biography edited by Helen Zia and Susan B. Gall
Asian American Psychology: The Science of Lives in Context edited by Gordon C. Nagayama Hall and Sumie Okazaki.
Asian American Youth: Culture, Identity, and Ethnicity edited by Jennifer Lee and Min Zhou
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
The Asian American Movement by William Wei
Asian-American Pacific Heritage Month: History and Resources at The NYPL by Raymond Pun
APALA is on the lookout for fabulously talented individuals to participate in a T-shirt Logo Contest!
Are you a creative individual with a knack for creating eye-catching designs? Can you develop a clever library tagline? Would you like to see your design modeled by APALA members and supporters nationwide? Take a chance and show off your creative side! The winning design will receive a $100 gift card and one-year APALA membership.
The designer of the winning logo receives a $100 gift card and a one-year APALA membership. Sales from the winning T-shirt help support APALA scholarships and grants.
Deadline: Extended to May 20, 2013
APALA Fundraising Committee
Download: PDF of APALA 2013 T-shirt Design Contest Flyer
REFORMA OC Chapter and APALA members are participating in Scholarship Fundraising Run/Walk on June 14th 2013 at the Neon Splash Dash 5K in Irvine, California. We will not be able to finish the race without your donation to the Scholarship Fund. Please make your pledge at:
Every $$$ you donate will give us the boost we need on this grueling 5K Run/Dash!
Thank you for your support!
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.
Professional Portfolio: http://alyssajocsonmlis.weebly.com/
Congratulations to our incoming Executive Board members, who will be serving under the leadership of incoming President Eugenia Beh. All terms will begin after the 2013 ALA Annual Conference.
President: Eugenia Beh
Vice-President/President-Elect: Eileen K. Bosch
Treasurer : Dora Ho
Secretary : Janet Clarke
Member-at-Large (2013-2015): Anna Coats
Member-at-Large (2013-2015): Sarah Jeong
Member-at-Large (2012-2014): Tina Chan
Member-at-Large (2012-2014): Alanna Aiko Moore
Immediate Past-President: Jade Alburo
Sandy Wee, Chair