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Alejandro, Reynaldo G., 1941-2009

Reynaldo G. Alejandro was better known as the author of lavishly-illustrated coffee table books on Filipino culture—from cooking to dance to parols to stamps. But what many do not know is that he was a librarian, and was one of the very first to graduate with a master's degree in library science at the University of the Philippines in 1966. (See "The San Juan Municipal Library: a proposal.")


October 25: Added "In Memoriam" card above (courtesy of Michael Tan)
August 17: "NY-based Fil-Am writer Ronnie Alejandro dies" by Joseph Lariosa
August 20: "A full life" by Michael Tan

September 8:

I thought of blogging about him after reading "Catholic education" by Michael Tan (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9 June 2006):
We had a great library, with an even greater librarian, Reynaldo Alejandro, who eventually left for New York but still comes home regularly and is known for his wonderful books about the Philippines. The priests fully supported him in developing an excellent library, without censorship. Much of my curiosity about the world, which I try to share through this column, was nurtured in Mr. Alejandro’s library.
Some called him Ronnie, others Ronois. Nancy Reyes-Lumen remembers how she came to work with him in "‘Ronois’ and The Adobo Book" (Business Mirror, 13 August 2009):
When a book writer dies, he isn’t really dead. Books live forever, and so do their authors. Ronnie Alejandro left us 38 books and two works in progress. Now we know why he was always in a hurry to finish a book. Time is fleeting but words are permanent.
It seems he was in a hurry until the end, and even prepared his own "In Memoriam" card. Some of the tributes on the card are shared on Grupo 58 Memories:
Nelson Navarro
Ronnie is the compleat librarian who collects and collects but cannot seem to throw away anything. What he treasures most of all are memories of good times and good friends, of which he must have a world record. Everyone loves Ronnie and he knows it deep in his heart.
Nonon Padilla
Ronnie Alejandro has been a friend from way back when I was a high school student at the Ateneo, and he was a librarian at the Ateneo High school...

He was born with hysterical energy. Had he not gone to the US of A as an immigrant to work at the New York Public Library, he would have worked and whipped his arms and limbs to become the Pinoy Martha Graham...

He did hard labor as a lonely librarian but continued his Annie Batumbakal persona on the side, in Manhattan. There he directed the Philippine Dance company in New York City, galvanizing the Pinoys in the asphalt jungle to take pride in ethnic differentiation and cultural assertion...
I think it's amazing that even though he was not a librarian for very long, the fact that at least two individuals have fond memories of him as a school librarian indicates that he was more than just a keeper of the books, but a librarian who contributed to the development of the students who used the books.

Thanks to Eloisa Borah for the heads up.

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