Category Archives: Staff Updates

Leila Celestin: A Portrait

Interviewed by: Andrei Wayne K. Defino

leila celestin

Photo by: Brian Tagalog

What did you study for your Undergraduate education?

A Bachelors of Fine Arts and French Studies.

What motivated you to study French and the Fine Arts?

Well, I’ve always wanted interested in art, but to be honest, I kind of did it to prove a point. I was interested in art since elementary school so my mother encouraged my creativity; I entered a lot of competitions and won a lot of competitions. However, coming from a family of physicians, studying art wasn’t always the ideal thing for me to do. But I really wanted to do it, so I kept on honing my craft and I decided to get a degree in it. French Studies was kind of cheating since I already speak French. I was however able to study in France for a year, CLEP a lot of classes and get my degree.

That sounds fun! Can you tell me more about your art?

I really like doing realistic paintings, but I’ve always been interested in doing portraitures. I did a lot of realistic portraitures early in my life, but I got to a point where there was one professor who encouraged me to do more of a free stylized art. It turned out that I was a very quick painter so what he would do was make me cut out these square pieces of woods and challenged me to make self-portraits on them in five minutes. I ended up getting really fast and I started utilizing light to make the images look like a person without really having specific features. Eventually I started getting interested in bold brush strokes. It came to the point where, for my senior thesis, I presented about 50 portraits that I painted in about 30 minutes each. It was due to three professors that I finally found my style and I continuously do portraits – for my friends and people who might be interested in getting portraits done – despite the busyness of grad school.

As a Master’s student, how do you find time to still do portraits?

Listen, if I’m being honest, I only do them when I have a sliver of free time or when I need extra money. If someone really wants me to do one of them or even a lot of them, I usually have to tell them that it might not be available until my next slot of free time; I hold quite a few jobs on campus, so it’s hard to always be available but doing portraits doesn’t always take long for me so I guess it works out.

So I’ve seen that you’ve held multiple art shows. How did that happen?

I had my first art show here at Andrews, but I also got to do a show in Albany, New York, in Oct. 2013, which was really cool. A lot of the people I that were in my portraits were able to come and see them. Later, they asked me to do show my pieces at the Town Hall. Basically, in Albany there is this big dome where they have meetings, town events, museum tours and art shows. For this one show, I was able to show my pieces at a refugee celebration—a real highlight of my career.

What is art to you?

Here’s the thing: for me, I realized that halfway through my degree that if I had to do this to eat, I would begin to hate it. After I finished my 50 pieces I was very burnt out; I didn’t paint for a year; I didn’t touch a paintbrush or a pencil to draw, sketch, or anything like that after I did that show. And even now, this past Winter break I did a whole bunch of pieces and I don’t think I’ll be painting again until May. I guess that’s always been my thing – innately I like a lot of variety in my life. I like to say that I can paint, I do some tutoring, I do some teaching. So for me, art is like a relaxing process. It’s stressful when I have deadlines, but it’s usually a fun thing. It’s not even that all my pieces have a deeper meaning or anything; I just really like to paint.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artistic minds?

Listen to Ira Glass’s “The Gap” because in every creative field there is a “gap.” You have your tastes and you get into a field where you hone those tastes; To you, however, when you start your skills are still at a low level and all your efforts will seem to suck…until you bridge that gap. When you’re a musician, it can take years of practice to finally mend that gap and finally think you’re good. Poetry, art, acting, in literally all these fields, you will have so many days when you think you aren’t good enough, but you have to persist. You have to be okay with crappy work until you get to that point. Surround yourself with other people who have the same interests as you because they’re going through the same thing. As artists, comedians, dancers, painters and whatever else we never want to admit that we have bad work and only show off our perfected pieces, but really by seeing each other struggle we can feel better about improving. Surround yourself with people who can go through those low points with you and spend time watching and listening to people’s coming up stories; you’ll be surprised how many great artistic figures have struggled in similar ways to you. No one becomes successful overnight. Kevin Hart, Christopher Nolan, Angelina Jolie, Misty Copeland, all started off with 500 or even a thousand bad tries before catching their break. Be encouraged that everyone who has inspired you and helped you had a long and reckless journey; any failure you have right now is just part of the game. Take heart that everyone in the creative field is going through the same thing.

 Leila Celestin is a Speech Pathology masters student and an employee at the James White Library
Article first published in Student Movement vol. 100, issue 16: Wednesday February 10, 2016

Member Benefits from Professional Mentoring

By Xiaoming Xu, Cataloging Librarian, James White Library

I am Xiaoming Xu, cataloguer at the James White Library at Andrews University. I mainly perform original and complex copy cataloging of books, sound recordings, CDs, microforms, kits and text files. My work includes assigning call numbers and subject headings to those items which lack this information. I was submitting both the original cataloging records and the call numbers and subject headings assigned to the copy catalog records to the senior cataloguer to ensure their quality before uploading the records to the OCLC database through Connexion. The senior cataloguer would check my work and make corrections without much explanation.

Eight years ago, Philip Tan came to the James White Library to serve as senior cataloguer. After becoming aware that I was having all of my cataloging records checked, Philip began mentoring and training me. He gave me the LC classification outline to study and helped me to understand it.

Philip made me aware of the purpose of the classification scheme and the broad picture of what we are doing to catalog the specific materials to support study and research at Andrews University. He guided me in using that broader understanding when I assign call numbers and subject headings to the records for the materials that I catalog. At the beginning of our mentoring relationship, Philip examined all of my work very carefully and explained when I made an error.

Philip has continued to mentor me and makes sure that I understand how to use the cataloging tools: RDA, the new cataloging standard and its relationship to the old rules, AACR2; Library of Congress Subject Headings; the Library of Congress Classification schedules; Online Classweb; and our local cataloging practices. He encourages me to ask questions to clarify my understanding. He has included other staff members by offering training sessions that give us all the information and skills needed to catalog library materials.

As a mentor, Philip gives me constant feedback “You have improved,” “You have done well.” This has given me encouragement and strengthened my spirit. As I have become more confident and able to do this work, Philip has allowed me to work with less supervision. One of my tasks is to catalog books that are published in languages other than English. After we created some templates to help identify the cataloging information and I had spent time practicing, Philip decided that I no longer have to submit my work to him.

Philip has pushed me to perform increasingly complicated cataloging. Some of the materials were new challenges for me: board games, jigsaw puzzles, kits and multiple authored works. Now I am not afraid to tackle any format or complexity of cataloging work. My confidence has increased. Now Philip has given me the task of checking the student clerks copy cataloging tasks.

In addition to the one-to-one mentoring and staff training sessions, Philip holds monthly cataloging meetings to clarify and formalize the cataloging practices and procedures in the James White library. We all know the preferred local cataloging methods for the James White Library. Philip also sets a good example with his attitude towards work and in handling interpersonal relationships.

Philip is only one of the library faculty who engage in mentoring in the James White Library. Kathy Demsky, the architecture librarian, Lauren Matacio, instruction librarian, Terry Robinson, the seminary librarian, Silas Marques, Cynthia Helms, Reference librarians, Larry Onsager, Dean of the library and others have taken the initiative to mentor, subordinates, co-workers and students.

I feel that one-to-one mentoring and coaching is an effective method for training catalogers. I am grateful to have Philip Tan as a professional mentor.

Article originally posted here:

Adventism in China Conference and the Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage

By Lawrence W. OnsagerOnsager, Dean of James White Library, Andrews University

On October 31, 2014, I presented a paper, On Fire for China, the story of Erik Pilquist, Pioneer Adventist Missionary to China, at the joint Adventism in China and the Association of SDA Historians conference, Reflection on Adventism in China and Asia, held at Hong Kong Adventist College.

On the same date, I represented Andrews University at a ceremony celebrating the creation of the Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage located in the library at Hong Kong Adventist College. Jean Hong and Kat Ma are the curators for the Center. A news story appeared on the Adventist Today website,

Larry Onsager presenting a picture of Erik and Ida Pilquist to Jean Hong, curator of the newly created Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage in the Hong Kong Adventist Library, October 31, 2014.

Larry Onsager presenting a picture of Erik and Ida Pilquist to Jean Hong, curator of the newly created Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage in the Hong Kong Adventist Library, October 31, 2014.

After the conference, I participated in a China tour from November 3-14, 2014 led by Bruce Lo, which visited China treasures such as the Great Wall and present and former Adventist sites in Xi’an, Shanghai, and Xiamen (Amoy), China.

Larry Onsager and Ann Gibson at the Meihua Life Health Center in Xiamen, China. The plaque describes the role of Benjamin and Julia Anderson in building the Meihua School at this site.

Larry Onsager and Ann Gibson at the Meihua Life Health Center in Xiamen, China. The plaque describes the role of Benjamin and Julia Anderson in building the Meihua School at this site.

Citizenship Earned Effortlessly


By Rozenia Marinho, Media Center Manager, James White Library, Andrews University

Have you ever wanted something very badly and saw someone get it without any effort or desire? When it comes to being an American citizen, the reverse is true for me. In many ways I easily fell in to US citizenship, something that many people around the world are passionately seeking. As a proud Brazilian who loves my country, I never planned to live in the US, much less become a US citizen. However, I came here in December 1997, got my MA in Curriculum & Instruction, and went back home to Brazil in 2004 believing that I would never come back. Instead, two years later, I was back, and in 2007, the same year I got a job at James White Library, I also got my Green Card. In December 2013, I applied for my citizenship, and in September 2014, I got my U.S. passport! I did not have to give up my Brazilian citizenship, which for me was great.

It sounds like things were pretty effortless, but I argue that what looks easy on the outside was not without personal cost. When I think of the many winter days I had to endure compared to the warm weather back home the sacrifice feels real. I also remember missing all my family’s parties and reunions, or not being able to drink a glass of fresh coconut water by the beach every Sunday. In the States, I had to give up enjoying different types of fresh fruit juice and many fresh-fruit ice cream types, as well as Brazilian food. I would often think about and miss my undergraduate teaching career and my students, and felt so limited with my English vocabulary, feeling embarrassed, ashamed and even humiliated sometimes.

For me, the feeling of effort, or not so much effort, depends on the way you see your life. I choose to see my life from the perspective of how much God blesses me. I believe He takes care of me wherever I am. And my extra special blessing now is my grandson–an American boy.

May God bless America!

Whatsoever the Committee Votes For You to Do, Do it With All Your Might!

JWL - Andrews University

By Sarah Kimakwa, Marketing and Reference Librarian, James White Library, Andrews University

In July 2014, at the ASDAL annual conference held at the General Conference headquarters in Maryland, I was elected treasurer of the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians (ASDAL). After the vote, I was filled with mixed feelings and wondered if I could step up to the task ahead of me. I am not usually intimidated, and I generally enjoy challenge, so why did this sound so enormous? I attributed this nervousness to my “newness” and to knowing that my predecessor had done a great job. As a new ASDAL member and also a first time conference attendee, I had a lot to learn. I figured that to understand my new role and everything I should know to do a good job, I needed to get engaged in the process . . . and the sooner, the better.

I woke up early in the morning to be at the venue in time for registration so that I could observe all aspects of the conference. Everybody seemed to know everybody; they exchanged hugs and pleasantries. I seemed to be the only new one. But, not to be left out of the fun, I quickly got acquainted with my colleagues from the Adventist colleges and universities around the world. I listened to their stories, which were fascinating. The theme for the conference was about providing access to Adventist resources online – the Adventist Digital Library. In between the sessions I took breaks and consulted with my predecessor about the new task ahead of me.

The five-day conference came to a conclusion and I returned to my office. Within a matter of weeks treasury files arrived from Walla Walla University, Washington, and then it began to feel like serious business. Before too long I received the banking details from Lincoln, Nebraska. “Oh, now this is getting intense,” I thought. I was the stewardess of ASDAL and knew I needed God’s grace to do this work faithfully. I barely have any free hours a week after my library marketing and reference responsibilities, and supervising, mentoring, and scheduling the information desk. I had to look for ways to get more than 24 hours a day, six days a week, and I didn’t want to burn out and start resenting either my paid work or my volunteer work. I got a Serenity Prayer plaque for my office to provide the source of motivation and encouragement. I also prayed for God to send help, but I couldn’t imagine where the help might come from.

God didn’t let me wonder how I was going to do all of this for long, however. God performed a miracle! One weekend, I received an email from the Dean of Libraries that I could get student help for some of my marketing tasks. I was exhilarated at the news. We advertised the position and I got several great applicants. I prayed for God’s guidance in selecting the right worker. And my God, who is faithful as always, provided me with not just one, but two great employees.

Another challenge I had was ensuring that the ASDAL files are safe and secure. Also in answer to prayer, the Dean acquired a secure filing cabinet for me to use. This has been such a tremendous affirmation that God cares for us and is faithful in both the small things as well as the big ones.

What I can say is that God provides for us in mysterious ways. All we need to do is accept any challenge put before us and say as in Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am, Lord. Use me!” Be faithful to the task and God will take care of the rest.

Terry Robertson: Promoting Technology for Promotion

Terry Robertson was promoted to the rank of Professor on July 1, 2014. He was one of the first faculty members to submit an electronic portfolio to the Rank & Tenure Committee using Libguides content management system. This format was ideal because it included a photo of the library as a heading while also demonstrating the utility of a ‘new to Andrews University’ library tool. Overall, the application process was affirming and a good opportunity to review the accumulated accomplishments of the past few years.