Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2012: Valorie Lee
Valorie Lee is an information resource officer (IRO) at the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP.) She left the library she managed to introduce the public library model and the spectrum of its values from free access to information to community empowerment at 400 plus American Corners around the world.
Information literacy, digitization, electronic libraries, and e-readers are just a handful of the topics that IROs teach or speak about to foreign publics at our overseas libraries.
Valorie is also a fourth-generation Asian American, which she thinks, is now a minority within a minority. Two of the four generations were prohibited from American citizenship, owning land, voting, and [being judged by] a jury of their peers, in the form of the Chinese Exclusion Act and amendments. As the first and second generation Asian-American friends enter and labor in the fields of law, medicine, journalism, science, and the arts, the idea of representing America abroad as a diplomat remains for them a curiosity. "It takes time...but as much as we speak of the greatness of our diversity to the rest of the world it's when we are able to show it [at home], then that we'll have hand delivered one of the greatest messages authored by the United States of America."