Cedie Lopez VargasAs executive director of the Lopez Memorial Museum and Library, Cedie Lopez Vargas has steered the institution toward timeless significance in the age of social media.
In the last 10 years, the museum and library has become more accessible to tech savvy researchers through online presence and a digitization project that continues to bring history within the reach of all. Its website, www.lopez-museum. org, is complemented by a blog, www.lopezmuseum.blogspot. com, and accounts on Facebook and Twitter (@Lopez_Muse).
“In the current 21st century social media environment, where almost all the information is available on the internet, our holdings still have a place and we need to create a stronger awareness of the wealth of materials available. We are very researcher-friendly. Unlike the internet where everything can be downloaded and is spoonfed, doing library research requires more critical faculties. We aim to make work easier for the researchers,” says Vargas.
Among the Lopez Values, Vargas says nationalism is the most evident in the work of the museum and library. “It was put up to strengthen pride in Philippine letters, culture and the arts. It is a constant symbol of the Lopez family’s commitment to nation building.”
Not coincidentally, Vargas last year took on the role of “the voice of the Lopez Values” in an ongoing campaign to inculcate the Lopez Credo and Values among a workforce of 13,000.
“Working with the team on the Credo allows me to share with employees that same Lopez family commitment. I have found it to be quite rewarding because of the strong feedback we continuously receive from the employees. They are positively engaged. Amazingly, we have realized that we are not building a strong work culture from zero but rather from a solid base that has organically been in place. It is a reflection of the kind of employees the Lopez Group has, and the type of values each company has inculcated on their own. The focus of the project then is on strengthening at the Group level what the employees have been living every day in the workplace,” Vargas explains.
Oscar M. Lopez and Cedie Lopez -VargasOwing to the great work Vargas has done, she was designated in January 2012 to concurrently serve as executive director and president of Lopez Group Foundation Inc. (LGFI).
“I no longer have a life,” she says facetiously about the added responsibility.
In truth, Vargas has found a “strong core of committed individuals” at both LGFI and the museum and library, making it possible to share expertise across both organizations.
“LGFI has a strong brand name in corporate social responsibility. The museum and library has long been known for stewardship and the preservation of national treasures. Both have strong networks or affiliations. I feel that we can strengthen both brands by working together in the service of the institutions in our charge,” says Vargas.
Meanwhile, despite the added load, Vargas deliberately pursues a program to engage younger audiences with contemporary exhibits like Beat.
“Contemporary artists do a lot of research in the library, digging through images, books, maps, pottery. We will continually offer a complete experience because our exhibits are backed by strong, solid research from the library,” she says.