When my application for my transfer from UP Baguio to UPD SLIS was approved, I promptly asked Ms.Valerie Darl M. Corral-Piquero, a sister in Alpha Phi Omega who was then an SLIS undergrad, to give me some readings used in the degree program. It was a nerdy instinct, I know. But I had the urge to deeply know the next four-year course I was about to take.

See, when I was in the editorial board in the student publication of UP Baguio, it was routine for us to discuss various social issues of the day: ranging from the then trending Lady Gaga and the Jejemon hoopla to the more serious issues like poverty, STFAP, and democracy. My fellow editors will discuss these issues with the lens of their respective fields. One would see poverty in a language perspective, the other in economics, and there I was looking at it through a communication arts lens (which has no legitimacy because I was not a comm arts major. I just happen to read a lot about comm arts.) Hence, when I transferred to UP SLIS, I was determined to own up to the discipline.

In my three years of stay in this university, I learned the reality that people tend to shift out of LIS to pursue other fields. While the prevailing thought that undergrads shift out primarily because of the marketability of other courses, I reflected that the reason to stay (or leave) is more than that. I believe that undergrads seek identity in LIS. We have to identify ourselves in every aspect of the course for us to stand tall and be proud of the course. I hypothesize that this is also the reason why people from engineering lean more to the 160s and the Soc Sci people to 170s and 120s because these are the LIS subjects that are nearer to their interests.

This phenomenon is most noticeable as we live our Tuesday to Friday GE classes where LIS undergrads collaborate with other UP students from other disciplines. I wonder whether or not they can confidently identify themselves apart from others as students of LIS. I overheard one conversation that goes like, “LIS ka pala? Anong ginagawa niyo dun?”
“Ayun, nagbabasa,”
“’Di ba kayo yung gumagawa nung sa OPAC? Mukhang mahirap ‘yun ah,”
“Ah oo. Basta, ganun.”

While others undermine the role of LIS professionals, others evade the ‘librarian’ stigma.
“So anong magiging trabaho mo pagka-graduate mo? Librarian?”
“Puwede. Pero mas gusto kong maging Knowledge Manager,”
“May ganoon palang trabaho?”
“Ah oo. Middle-management, yung companies…(brags about salary and other corporate cliques)”

The one talking in the latter conversation was me.

Many LIS undergraduates who don’t shift out of the course tend to shy-away from the course. It’s as if every time someone asks us about our course, a huge burden of justifying the study of a primitive and outdated profession falls upon us. But LIS is not a primitive and outdated profession. This is the Information Age! The relevance of information to every minute of our daily lives is higher than any point in the history of mankind. We see this every time we scroll down through our Facebook Newsfeed, every time we watch and observe the comprehensiveness of the news programs, and every time we witness students doing their thesis stumble through Google looking for materials for their RRL and crumble in frustration because the answers they’re searching for are not there. I can give a thousand examples on how awesome LIS is and I can say with full confidence that what we do is more than just reading books (although reading books is a sophisticated and dignified act on its own.)

And so, I initiated this project called the LISSA Student Journal (LSJ) to promote discourse on the field. It aims to engage LIS students and practitioners in sharing experiences and knowledge their passions towards LIS. Through the enrichment of our collective knowledge, I believe that we can strengthen our identity and be more proud that we are LIS students and practitioners. In this light, I encourage everyone to join the discussions put forth by our contributors by liking, sharing, and commenting on the articles. Our main media portals are our website and our Facebook page. We strive to publish one article every week.

Thank you and have a good read!