In March 2003, I sent an email to the Newlib-L listserv, "a discussion list for librarians new to the profession... those who are considering becoming librarians, and to those established in the profession who might wish to mentor newcomers":
Hi! I'm new to the list. It's my first semester taking a Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of the Philippines. I'd be interested to know if there are any Filipinos on this list (whether inside or outside the Philippines). Thanks.I got three replies, two of them from Filipinas. One of them was Lulu Barnachea at University of Maryland.
Lulu and I exchanged a few emails, but it would be more than 18 months later, when I got another email from Lulu, that I realized just how much the world had changed—and hadn't:
Hopefully your email address is still active. I just got a copy of the ILS newsletter which is a few months old and noted that there is a recent graduate of MLS with your namesake. I thought it was you. So I thought of emailing you and extend my congratulations...And so, while we found each other via email, it was a newsletter that she received via snail mail that revived our online friendship.
To make a long story short, I finally met her three months ago—on her birthday. She took me around the University of Maryland campus, and told me about her work as a coordinator for the technical services division at the McKeldin Library. By the way, Lulu is rubbing the nose of Testudo, the university's mascot, in the photo above. It's supposed to bring good luck.
More than three years after we first "met" online, I got to meet Lulu in person. I've encountered other librarians online then met them offline, but the email-snail mail combination—and the fact that I never thought I'd ever be in the Maryland area to meet her in person—made this meeting very memorable.
Categories: Filipina, Librarians