Colleagues, we are excited to announce the CPDWL Podcast Project where we feature library and information professionals who support and participate in professional development work.
Our first guest is Loida Garcia-Febo, the Immediate Past President of the American Library Association (ALA) and consultant to CPDWL Section and information coordinator to the IFLA Management of Library Associations Section. The transcript is below with resources that Loida referenced Enjoy!
Raymond Pun 0:10
Hi, this is Ray Pun. Welcome to the CPVWL Podcast Project in this space we talk with library information professionals, who support and participate in professional development work related to librarianship. Today’s guest is Loida Garcia-Febo. The Past President of the American Library Association, and President of the Information New Way, a not for profit organization seeking to enhance the education of multiethnic populations in the United States, and in Latin America and Caribbean region. Loida has been a member of the CPWL section for eight years, and currently serves as a consultant, and also served the IFLA governing board from the 2013 2017. Thank you for joining us, Loida.
Loida Garcia Febo 0:56
Thank you so much Ray I’m so happy to be one of the inaugural guest of this CPDDL podcast and thank you so much for the invitation.
Raymond Pun 1:08
Great. We’re really excited to have you here, and we have a series of questions that our listeners are really interested to know more about you. So I guess the fact is that you’ve been so involved with international librarianship, and the work you do for ALA, IFLA, and a lot of people have described you and your sense of fashion as chic, very fashionable. And I wonder what would be one word, you would use to describe yourself.
Loida Garcia-Febo 1:42
I’m just very happy to hear those words. And I do put a lot of heart what I do. So, one word to describe myself is passionate. Everything I do in my profession is done with passion. And I really work with teams, I love teamwork, to accomplish goals, and I’m bringing my passion into that, you know, working, as you mentioned on the IFLA governing board for two terms, being ALA President, founding the IFLA New Professionals, collaborated on FAIFE annual report, establishing the CPDWL webinar series, everything, Everything is thanks to their support of librarians, in my passion for the profession, and for the library workers, and the communities we serve at academic public and school libraries and libraries of all types.
Raymond Pun 2:50
Yeah, and you’ve been so connected, as you’ve described so many different groups within IFLA, but also around the world based on the work you’ve done. And so, a question that probably a lot of people are thinking is what compelled you to become a librarian? How did you get started?
Loida Garcia-Febo 3:06
I love this question. Thank you. My mother was my school librarian. And I grew up in a school library. When I was thinking about which field, I will select for my master’s degree, my mom suggested to think about Library and Information Sciences, and I was familiar already with the LIS school at the University of Puerto Rico, because I accompany my mother when she was studying for her master’s degree there. So, I was familiar with the school, with the professors, and I really liked it there. And it was a great decision. I love being a librarian and I’m so happy that my mom was also a librarian.
Raymond Pun 3:55
Wow, so that you have a library in your family, so that’s really fascinating to hear. And do you think, based on that kind of influence, your work for doing international work was also influenced by your family or that was something you wanted to do something different.
Loida Garcia-Febo 4:16
I always love to travel and I always like to learn from different cultures. And so, when I had the opportunity to do this librarianship, it just both things came together: my passion for traveling and international work in, of course libraries in the work that we do in librarianship and through librarianship, and these international work. I have had many opportunities, I’m so grateful. Being able to impact our profession, and our library workers and communities in different regions of the world doing work in teams and it means this work means that I can collaborate together with librarians from different regions of the world. For instance, as I did to place access to information on the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, and you all are familiar with that now, and I’m still very very happy to have advocated on behalf of the IFLA in libraries or the United Nations participating in forums and the UN in conjunction with civil society organizations, meeting with leaders from different countries, representing their countries at the United Nations. And as part of a really amazing. Each level global team. So it was an incredible feat. And for the first time that UN including access to information, which is at the core of what we do. They put it that into documents so just the SDG. the Sustainable Development Goals, which is used by countries worldwide to strategize their development efforts, they dedicate infrastructure, their budgets, and it was amazing to be there with our partners from IREX, I still remember that typing warranty that will become part of the target 16 point 10, which is our goal 16. And that is a specific target 16 point 10 that speaks about access to information so that was amazing and I was able to that to do that building on international librarianship work, and of course, as part of a very mighty team that you know National Library teamwork is everything.
Raymond Pun 6:42
So it sounds like international librarianship means working with and collaborating with different stakeholders and really focusing on supporting libraries across the world and information access, and so forth. And I wonder has that vision changed for you over the years, or it’s been consistently the same?
Loida Garcia-Febo 7:02
It’s been consistently the same. I can tell you that when I started at IFLA. I started as a volunteer translator, or FAIFE’s annual report so I will translate papers from Spanish to English and that was an amazing eye opening, because I was able to get in touch with the international librarianship, different colleagues from different regions, different stakeholders and that was a really great spark. That I have been able to take that those things that I learned there with me throughout my career.
Raymond Pun 7:48
Wow, that’s very inspiring to hear how you started as a volunteer. And, as I described to our listeners earlier, you’ve been involved at our Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section for eight years and starting webinar series with New Professionals, as well as sessions in the World Congress, and I wanted to know how did you get involved with our section, and why this section?
Loida Garcia-Febo 8:13
Yes, yes. So yes, I started out as a volunteer translating for FAFIFE. And then I became the secretary of FAIFE. And by the time I was in the my second term in faith, which is the Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression for activity of IFLA. So by the time I ended my second term, there I was working at a library where we host some international libraries students as interns. And I was also coordinating some staff trainings. And so I got very interested in continuing professional development, and I was really happy to find CPDWL, and collaborating with the section has been wonderful to bring programs and resources to help librarians acquire skills needed for the job and workplace. It has been a wonderful eight years, and I’m still working with CPDWL as a consultant now.
Raymond Pun 9:15
Yeah, and we really appreciate your expertise and your experiences and skills to help continue growing with us. And I wonder if you can share with us a memorable moment you have about CPDWL, or IFLA?
Loida Garcia-Febo 9:30
Well, I have to say that I need to share two. Because they are really memorable in my career. The first was funding the IFLA New Professionals, and the IFLA New Professionals are under the sponsorship of Management of Library Associations, but they are all part of their professional division 4. And so we’re together with CPDWL and under that classification, let’s say, of IFLAA. And so I got in contact with CPDWL that way as well. And so, yes, one, one moment was establishing IFLA New Professionals in 2004 with two colleagues from Denmark and England, and that was a highlight that brought opportunities for students and new librarians to engaging associations work and to impact our profession globally. The established and other professionals, brought together new librarians worldwide, and I’m so proud of the group. And what all the conveners have accomplished through the years, and my other example is really more close to CPDWL, and it has to do with the opportunity of establishing a webinar series. And this was back in 2012. And so this webinar series is presented with CPDWL with the New Professionals in partnership with ALA, and the series is named “New Librarians Global Connections: Models, Practices and Recommendations.” And this series is wonderful. It features a wide variety of topics related to continuing education, such as human rights, open access Big Data, Services to teenagers, it is really very broad. We have many different topics and I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to access their recordings for free. Everything is free (gratis). And they are on the website of the New Professionals, and I’m so very happy to have been able to present webinars in English but also there are some in Spanish and Portuguese. And so I hope that people can take advantage of that. And I want to thank everyone CPDWL, and the New Professionals for continuing their webinars as well.
Raymond Pun 12:18
Certainly, that is something that our listeners should really look into the archived webinar, their archived and in the pages that you’ll find in the page right here where you access the podcast. And really, those are highlights that we really appreciate you sharing and our section is obviously focused on trends and developments that are happening in the profession. And I wonder what are you most excited about in the profession?
Loida Garcia-Febo 12:49
I am very excited about the present, our present and our future because I see a tremendous spirit of togetherness of working together, and that is beautiful. So I am looking forward to continuing working together with librarians from all regions of the world. That is very exciting, because that’s the only way in which we can impact, really truly impact our communities, our profession, our librarians and libraries, and I am here for the long haul. To continue, continuing to unify our library field. I’m also excited about all the evolving areas within libraries. We are creating a future, every day. So I’m very excited to continue working together with librarians to design programs and services to meet the needs of the communities we serve. And to do that, we need to equip our librarians, and this is the part was related to CPDWL, we need to keep an eye on societal trends, emerging technologies. And we can do that through our various resources I always like to recommend: IFLA trends report, which is updated periodically, and also the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries, they have a different set of trends that are updated in daily basis. For instance, artificial technology, big data, smart cities, and they’re all impacting the work that libraries do. So I’m excited about that, about working to continue integrating these type of trends in libraries to serve our communities and also to work to equip our librarians, with the skills they need to keep building libraries forward.
Raymond Pun 15:11
Yeah, it sounds like there are really great tips you shared, and those are really useful resources that our listeners should look into. And I wonder if there’s any other professional development tip or advice that you’d like to share with our listeners?
Loida Garcia-Febo 15:27
Yes, you know I’m an activist, a librarian-activist, an advocate. And so my advice also will go to the area of advocacy, to continue talking and also taking action, both things got together about issues that are impacting access to information which is at the core of what we librarians do. You know their copyrights and legal matters: ebook embargoes from publishing houses that are so wrong and limiting access to ebooks for our library patrons. So we must continue advocating for human rights, equity of access, the importance of diversity in our libraries programs, services and workforce and inclusion for all and different library associations: IFLA and ALA for instance, they have courses, and they have resources to equip. librarians, and also our library advocates. You know more wider group in this area of advocacy to help was advocate for this matters that I mentioned. Advocacy was at the center of my ALA Presidential National Library Tour, which I visited libraries across the USA and internationally, including the European Union Parliament. And so it is very important for us to stay abreast of resources, so we can utilize soon and continue advocating for libraries. Besides this, I will like to encourage librarians, also to dare to create. There are times when we noticed that some things will benefit our profession or libraries. But these are not in place. And so I want to encourage everyone to join forces with others, or with library associations, bring them your ideas and create those things yourself. You know, if you see something missing, you can certainly create it or work together with others. And that’s my favorite part, “together with others.” To create it, and that’s why and that’s how we created the IFLA New Professionals, and that is how we developed resources to help library workers for instance with wellness strategies, and that’s another area and information. Wellness is very important for all of us and it was one of my presidential initiatives. So that’s another area that we need to look at as well, to help our library workers, personally, as human beings as well. You know library workers’ wellness is extremely important for me, and I’m still very much collaborating with other librarians to move forward information, and our message to help us all. And I would like to encourage everyone listening to visit our ALA APA Wellness page which my presidential team revamped last year. And it includes our wellness resources for library workers in the areas of emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational physical, spiritual, and social wellness. And I want to highlight that the page on emotional wellness includes the recording of the webinar on strategies to manage microaggressions and workplace stress. So, I have just shared so much information on tips and advice, those are the areas I thought that were very timely at this time. So thank you for the opportunity.
Raymond Pun 19:44
Yes, those are really great resources for sure and we really appreciate that you’ve worked on this really hard with your teams to ensure that advocacy, wellness, work life balance are all part of what we do as we go forward in the profession, and something a little bit different. A question for you maybe is what profession, other than librarianship would you like to attempt?
Loida Garcia-Febo 20:11
This is a great question. I was always curious about attorneys and I think I will be a good attorney. I’m persistent, methodological and I love to advocate for causes that benefit communities so I will be that type of attorney.
Raymond Pun 20:31
Yeah, I could certainly see you even being human rights attorney. Right?
Loida Garcia-Febo 20:36
Yes, that will be wonderful.
Raymond Pun 20:40
Yeah. And so during your, your term right now, what is next for you after ALA presidency work, what are you working on now?
Loida Garcia-Febo 20:50
Well, it’s a very interesting question. I receive that question very often now. And after my ALA presidency, I took a very nice time to relax, and now I’m back with renewed energies, and as ALA Immediate Past President. I am an active member of the ALA board for one more year. And I’m also a liaison to some ALA areas, such as advocacy and I’m very happy because I truly enjoy working in that area. And IFLA, I am now have after and the my two terms, CPDWL. I am now a member of the IFLA section of management of library associations. And I was very familiar with that section because the New Professionals are under that section so I have collaborated with them for many years as well, and I’m currently coordinating our mid term meeting, and that will be at the ALA headquarters in Chicago, so it’s very exciting. And I’m working with it we have a working group working on that. And I’m also very excited because I am the newly information coordinator for the management of library associations, as a very fun thing, and so I’m enjoying that too and of course I continue with my work as a consultant so these days. I am immersed in papers and reading and writing. So, you know, that’s the life of the consultant, and I love everything that’s happening in my life right now.
Raymond Pun 22:36
Wow, congratulations. Those are really great opportunities and we’re really thrilled to have you still being really active with us for so many work that you inspire us to do. And we know that you are active in social media, but if you wanted to share with us, where can our listeners connect with you online?
Loida Garcia-Febo 22:57
Yes, I am on Twitter, so people can connect with me on Twitter, where my handle name is LoidaGarciaFebo, one word. I’m also on Facebook and on Facebook, you want to connect with me on the page that has the title of Loida Garcia-Febo as ALA President, 2018-2019, that’s the page to connect with me, Loida Garcia-Febo ALA President 2018-2019, and I’m on LinkedIn too, and I’m happy to connect there as well. You know, I’m a people’s person I love to stay in touch with colleagues and Ray knows that. Ray was part of my Presidential Advisory Board working on international topic, a star. Wonderful. So I’m happy to connect with my colleagues, and people through Twitter, on my Facebook’s President’s page, and on LinkedIn, of course.
Raymond Pun 24:04
Great, thank you for sharing those and certainly. Again, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and we’re really happy to have you still involved with CPDWL and the IFLA work. And with that, we wanted to thank our listeners for listening.
Past Webinars from IFLA CPDWL Section and New Professionals SIG
ALA-APA Wellness Page
ALA President 2018-2019 Loida Garcia Febo’s Facebookpage