Congratulations to Dr. Marianita D. Dablio for her Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of the Philippines Library Science Alumni Association (UPLSAA)!
Below is the response she delivered at the awarding ceremony.
Marianita D. Dablio
2 July 2016
Thank you, UPLSAA 2015-2016, for this Distinguished Alumna Award.
It is with great humility that I receive this award in behalf of the librarians, library staff, and LIS faculty with whom I have worked at the Mindanao State University and other institutions in Mindanao. I would like to thank the faculty of the Institute, now School, of Library and Information Studies, who impressed on me the solid groundings of a good librarian: Prof. Rosa Vallejo, Dr. Ursula Picache, Prof. Filomena Tann, Prof. Namnama Hidalgo, and Prof. Herminia Santos.
How did I become a Librarian? My “romance” with the field must have started when I worked as a student assistant at the Mindanao State University Library, while pursuing a degree in BS Elementary Education. A long, long overdue expression of gratitude goes to two Institute alumni, Benifredo Sta. Maria and Leticia Espinas Aquino, who paved the way in my becoming a librarian. How can I ever forget the “imposing” voices of these two figures, who persistently told us what a library should be? Sir Benny and Ma’am Letty insisted that I should study in what was then the UP Institute of Library Science.
I would like to believe that as SLIS alumni, we have to spread our wings and leave a lasting imprint. I ventured to start the MSU Department of Library Science (now Department of Library and Information Science) as a one-woman department. Now the department has three full-time faculty members who are at the forefront of producing quality LIS professionals in Mindanao. It is worth noting the department has developed a number of Muslim and Christian librarians in the region, and in the country, as well.
Years of library work have earned me a number of monickers: “the walking encyclopedia,” “the walking dictionary,” and “Dabliography.” I realized that this image has highlighted our vital role in sourcing, resourcing, and outsourcing information for our various publics. It is our knack for looking for alternative sources of information that have connected us to our users.
Our profession is reaching a critical turn. It has reached a point where at the service delivery, “I don’t know” is not possible as a reply anymore. I always remind my students that “ewan” is not an acceptable option in dealing with our patrons. Colleagues tell us what happens when the librarian says “ambot” (meaning “ewan” or I don’t know). Perhaps it is is time to develop our reference course as an engaging moment where our students can apply their psychology, sociology, and even politics of the information interaction. With all the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there is still no substitute for face-to-face communication.
One of the most unforgettable lessons of being a teacher is how students and library practitioners are “teaching” me instead of the other way around. One never misses to listen to their endless stories of “no support,” “walang budget,” “walang paki si Boss,” and maraming “nega” sa buhay librarian. The realities of the field resound that libraries are indeed resource-intensive institutions. Perhaps we can train them how to manage libraries amidst resource constraints. Indeed the challenge is how to teach our students to see beyond the box.
With so much information around us, I have advocated the responsive and responsible use of library and information sources. We have to develop strategies on how our library professionals can respond to the changes, yet be ethically responsible for the use of such resources. Let us develop our information literacy sessions—where our students are provided opportunities to relearn, retool, and rethink—to enable them to rediscover the world from inside out.
Indeed, this award is a very prestigious one. With UP’s SLIS taking the lead in LIS education, we its alumni are challenged to reflect on what can do for those at the peripheries. UP’s SLIS has been a guiding light in our pursuit for quality education in Mindanao. While we see the need for increasing the number of Muslim and Christian library professionals, we look forward to encouraging more of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao to become librarians. Perhaps only then can we claim that Filipino librarians are multicultural. The UPLSAA has been the beacon for our initiatives.
A librarian’s work is never done, even after retirement. I retired three years ago, but my retirement felt more like a back subject. I have returned to the readings and many other things I wanted to do before I retired. I also call this phase in my life as “in progress.” I have not finished sending my expression of gratitude to the many students I have interacted with, and to the colleagues who supported me all the way.
My response has been full of “we,” “us,” and “our” because in every aspect, I was not doing the job solo. So I share this award with my former administrators who, while setting high expectations, had confidence in my ability to deliver. I would also like to thank the many individuals who shared the true meaning of resourcefulness.
I would like to thank my family, who have been there ALWAYS, through thick and thin.
For the greatnesS of God’s love in his mercy and compassion.
For all of us, MAGANDANG BUHAY!
Reproduced with the author's permission.