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#HumansoftheLibrary: Jessica Castro-Cristobal, the Vlogger Librarian

Jessica Castro-Cristobal, RL, MLIS of the Vlogger Librarian PH Youtube channel

I always advocate librarians to blog and write. The more librarians blog or have active online platforms, the better! We are a profession always misunderstood, and educating and sharing with the public what we do is important to me. We can write or blog about our own experiences, and writing is a helpful skill when we create materials to promote our libraries. We follow 'influencers' in social media, so why not librarian influencers? There are librarians who blog on social media platforms and I noticed that during the pandemic time, many librarians have also started blogging, usually through Facebook pages. 

Youtube is undeniably one of the biggest online platforms right now. We use Youtube for entertainment, education, and to pass the time. I use Youtube for fitness, recipes, and inspirational videos. 

While browsing Facebook, I discovered this new channel called "The Vlogger Librarian" and I checked out the videos. The channel is run by a Filipino librarian, Jessica Castro-Cristobal. She is the current Head Librarian of the Center for Culinary Arts Manila, the Philippines’ first Culinary School.  

Her channel "was created, first, to promote BS in Library and Information Science as a College course, second, to uplift the profession." She often does videos interviewing librarians and LIS students on various library-related topics. Her content is engaging, interesting, and educational and is surely a must-watch for any Filipino Librarian.

Follow her on Youtube: The Vlogger Librarian PH

The Vlogger Librarian was kind enough to answer my questions about her career as a librarian and her interest in vlogging. Let's get to know her more.

Why and how did you become a librarian? 

We’re family of Librarians! I grew up in Gerona, Tarlac. My tita, tito, and older cousin from Rizal have been in the field for many years now. I didn’t have a specific desired course after I graduated High School. Grateful for these relatives who did not persuade me to take this program, yes, they did not persuade me, I just observed growing up na these people are living a simple and comfortable life while earning and saving, so might as well, why don’t I follow their footsteps? Safe to say, the Universe, through my loved ones, brought me to this beautiful world of Bachelor of Science in Library and Information Science. 

I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of the East Class 2013 and passed the Librarians Licensure Examination in the same year. I have successfully completed my Master in Library and Information Science at Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 2018. 

Can you share your present work in the library field? 

I have been practicing this profession since 2013. I worked with an International pre-school for 2 years, maximized my career growth in a Technical Education and Training Institute in the past 5 years, and presently, I am serving as the Head Librarian for the Center for Culinary Arts Manila, the Philippines’ first Culinary School.  

What makes librarianship special, unique, or different from other professions?

To relate this question to my work experiences, having been a sole-charge or one-man Librarian ever since I landed a Librarianship career, I think that’s what makes this vocation so special, unique and different from other occupations - it lets you learn endlessly; it opens a variety of doors and windows of opportunities, challenges, and improvement; it transforms you into the finest version of yourself na hindi mo inakala. 😊 

What made you start a Youtube Channel?

Funny how this pandemic made me decided to set up my own Youtube channel. I’m not even a Youtube fanatic until COVID-19 forced us to better stay at home, so that’s it, it became a hobby, watching Bianca Gonzales and Toni Gonzaga’s vlogs. I was inspired by them especially when the content is something motivational or educational. And just to share, I chose LIS Campaign as my pilot content so I can finally turn my MLIS thesis into reality! I’m really proud of this “milestone”. I now found my comfortable platform to freely express myself and introduce BLIS Program and Profession! 😊 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘new normal’, and most services moving online, what can libraries or librarians do?

If only libraries can speak, I’m pretty sure they’re terribly longing for people to care more about librarians. Undeniably, one of the professions that COVID-19 affected is us, Library Professionals. Maybe, some of us had chosen to resign, to accept retrenchment or early retirement offer. Nevertheless, I would opt to believe that majority in the Librarian community chose to stay being connected with their respective affiliations, still making a difference, and coping up with all the digital or virtual mechanisms just to keep the library services and collection accessible. 

Fellow Librarians, please know that we all matter especially in these trying times. Libraries are still valued. You are playing a very significant role in your company even everything has moved online. A day will come that all librarians shall be gathered in one event, like how we used to like no pandemic has happened. 

Aside from librarianship, what else are your interests and hobbies?

Well, obviously, I’ve just unleashed a new interest which is “vlogging”. I like exploring our local tourist attractions in short gala ako. I see to it that I don’t only engage myself on professional development, it has to be balanced, we should also reward ourselves more often. I also love reading inspirational books like The Slight Edge, The 7 Principles for Making a Marriage work (HAHA!), The Four Agreements, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Got one more interest to share, I’m also a fan of Ukay shopping, my weird hobby to release stress.😊 

Is there anything else you would like to share about librarianship?

If I was to describe Librarianship in one word, I would pick “MEANINGFUL”. 😊 

Thanks for her time in sharing about herself and her channel. I hope more librarians also try out blogging or vlogging!

To see the other librarians featured in this series, go to the #HumansoftheLibrary tag.

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