Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dear Librarian: Reply on Baking at the National Library

This month's Dear Librarian guest blogger is Ms. Anne Rosette G. Crelencia of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP). Ms. Crelencia is the section head of the NLP's Rarebooks and Manuscript Collection. Since NLP is an institutional member of the PBBY, Ms. Crelencia is the institution's representative to the PBBY board. She lends her opinion for this month's Dear Librarian post.

Anne Rosette G. Crelencia

Whenever I get orders from my superiors to write something, be it answers to research queries and requests, project proposals, business letters, and articles for the newsletters, most frequently those are accomplished in no time. But this time it’s different. Weeks passed by quickly without writing an answer to the challenge posted for our organization.

I am tasked to write an answer to a very big challenge posted not only for the managers of the National Library of the Philippines but also to the latest leaders in the government who are to run the country in the following six years. I have managed to resolve complaints and requests about our library’s services and collections from clients through e-mail and phone calls, but to manage a challenge as big as acquiring or renovating or transferring the current National Library of the Philippines building to a one is something else.

The thing is, I had a hard time identifying if it is really the building that calls for change just so we can say that our library is no decade behind the Library of Alexandria or is it just the way the structure is being handled. I mean, even a nipa hut has lots of possibilities to be something else other than being the plain and simple shelter for s small family. I believe change is never confined to physical developments but it’s about setting priorities.

With the very little budget allotted for our national library and the public libraries attached to it, it is tough to prioritize the architecture of libraries than the acquisition of good quality materials for library patrons’ use. However, this does not mean that initiative towards development of architectural structure of libraries in the country should be hindered by the lack of budget. A good proposal coupled with diligent plan of action to implement development might do the talking. That always depend on the priorities set by leaders in government, I guess.

I have seen beautiful and sophisticated libraries in other countries such as Singapore and Germany. We are no doubt too much behind them, but then again, that does not mean these countries are not experiencing difficulties in terms of working conditions and library collections and services just because they have the most sophisticated or modern buildings and resources. They do have their own dilemma just like us.

What exactly am I saying? I would like to believe proposals for a new library building has been initiated several times by the present and past library managers, only that nothing yet happened. But despite government’s inattentiveness to the requests, the National Library of the Philippines continued to persevere in performing its role in the society. It is challenging to meet the changing needs of library users in this age of technological advancement with very ample budget, but the staff who dedicated their craft and even lives in the name of service to the public is more valuable than any amount of money for the improvement of the library is available.

Perhaps a little more effort to open the eyes of our leaders in government on the value of books and libraries in the country is needed to be established first before anything else. I am dreaming of a national library flooded by people not because of the great architecture but because it is filled with resources where vast amount of knowledge and information can be acquired any time.

Tomorrow, June 30, 2010, we will officially have the new President of the Republic of the Philippines. Just as the whole nation anticipates for a great change in the current status of the society, I am as well crossing my fingers that somehow the President will make a difference in the field of libraries and education in the country.

For now, as I cannot just wait for the president to act on our needs as a government, education, culture and research institute, I will continue to do the best I can to serve the public with utmost diligence and integrity even if the fading architecture and facilities of the building remained unnoticed. National Library of the Philippines will be the priority in time…

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dear Librarian: SLIA's REPLY for Baking at the National Library

Here is my reply for Barefoot Baklesa's lament on the state of the country's biblioteque. I will make this short and sweet.

One can't change a system that has been damaged and neglected over the decades. The state of art and culture, and yes, education and library system included, in this country is in a dismal condition. We can cry and bewail to the heavens; gnash our teeth and pull our hair. At the end of the day, it remains as is.

What one can do, despite this, is to continue working on ways to uplift the dismal status of arts, culture, education and library system in the country.

The duly elected President of the Philippines will be inaugurated on Wednesday, 30 June 2011. I like to believe that he won by a stroke of great hope set upon him by many of us. His ascension to the presidency is influenced by a choice of character over competence. We all need to dig deep into our own character and find strength there in order to continue pushing for the advocacy we support in -- arts, culture, education, socio-civic development, library system in the country, etc.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book Blockade Over

The outgoing Philippine President has done a bit of good for this country.

Head on to this link for the official press release. Read the highlighted link for more information on the signed EO85.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Link Love

Found out something simply great today! The post on an Information Literacy class I did a few years back got linked in Schoollibs.

I suddenly longed to work in a school library again.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

PAARL Forum on Bibliotherapy

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2010 Alcala Prize Winner

Congratulations to Aldy Aguirre for winning this year's Alcala Prize! Aguirre rendered playful and whimsical illustrations for Raymond Falgui's poetry.

Zeus Bascon, Serge Bumatay III and Rommel Joson made it as honorable mention. See you at the NCBD 2010, Museo Pambata!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dear Librarian: Baking At The National Library

This month's Dear Librarian feature is a blog post from Barefoot Baklesa. He does not need any advice, but his blog post on the state of the National Library of the Philippines is worthy of discussion. Here is an excerpt from his blog post ( which can be read below). The full article is linked here.

As I went into the reading rooms, and through the stacks to look for what I needed, I could not help but stare at the state that place was in. The place was clean as libraries go, but the disrepair, the poorly maintained stacks, and the general atmosphere of the place akin to that of a backwater town that government funding forgot.

As I walked those halls, It did not seem to me that this was the place that held almost everything about the world since the first movable type. What is this place to be for some impressionable youth seeking to fuel himself in the arts and sciences? One could argue that what really matters is what is inside those books and not the place that hold them. But if the place lacks the very books that can take them onto this journey -No, that the one that sends Bastian into Fantasia but you get my drift- then what?


Is this neglect associated with the priorities of every government that came and went? In the middle of my research I composed a text message that I sent to my mentors in the hopes that they may at least help me make sense of the experience.

“Sitting here at the National Library, a week after elections and just before the new come to take office, I wonder what will a new president really do for the Arts? To be specific, what does it matter to my art now that the people seem to have found hope and change in a man who is also of the old order?”

And this was the most disturbing reply

“Anak, ano ba naman ang alam niya sa Sining natin? The Arts have always been the least of any leader’s priorities since I can’t remember. If anything, the Arts to him may be just like tonight’s latest “gossip” that would be replaced with another juicier one by tomorrow. Palibhasa gossip rin lang naman ang alam ng kapatid niyan and I’m afraid they may play the Arts card when it is to their advantage like a badly acted teleserye”

And there I was, sitting on one of the wooden tables at the end of the Filipiniana section telling myself once again, that a place such as this should be the beacon for those wide-eyed youth seeking to be inspired, seeking to understand the world, and be fueled to contribute to the Sciences and most especially the Arts. No matter how disheartening that text message was.

Watch out for my reply and a guest blogger's response in the next few days. I have invited a librarian from the National Library of the Philippines to do so.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Basic Teacher-Librarians Workshop

I was invited by the Rizal Library and Pathways To Higher Education for a talk on school library reading programs last month. The one hour lecture is part of the Basic Teacher-Librarians Workshop organized by the Rizal Library to re-orient and start off the teacher librarians who will run and manage the libraries in their schools.

For my talk, I gave the participants an overview of Reading. In planning and implementing library reading programs, the librarian (for this context it is the teacher-librarians who are concerned) needs to see the bigger picture of Reading. This would help him/her in organizing relevant and meaningful literacy activities for students in particular and the school community in general. I included an array of reading activities that teacher-librarians can do. The activities range from individual to group and community wide initiatives. Lastly, I presented a framework for them to use when planning the proposal for a library reading program.

This initiative may seem to run opposite the ideals of RA 9246. But one has to see the bigger picture. Due to the dearth of licensed librarians as well as work items for librarians in the public school system, most school administrations resort to assigning teachers to man the school library. On top of their teaching loads, teachers become officers-in-charge of the school library.

The need to apply and implement this law is great, indeed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Visiting the Paglaki Ko Room at Museo Pambata

I missed the launching of the Paglaki Ko Room (When I grow up I want to be...) of the Museo Pambata in April. Nonetheless, I was able to visit the career options area of Museo Pambata last Saturday during the Batang Bayani series launch. Earlier today, the PBBY board made a quick tour right after its monthly meeting. Nina Lim Yuson, the gracious host, allowed us to be kids again.

It's an interactive area, as every thing else at Museo, of course! The walls cover a mystery-investigatory approach to knowing the writers and illustrators featured in the exhibit. The comics on the wall is very engaging. Sadly, I failed to ask Nina or Teacher Noreen the artist who made them. The room is littered with curiosities from the featured writers and illustrators, memorabilia, quotable quotes and their definitive masterpieces.

Larry Alcala's Slice of Life was an inspiration that allows visitors to look for well loved Pinoy children's book characters.

And definitely, Jose Rizal's The Monkey and the Turtle earned a space in the exhibit.

My daughter Zoe enjoyed the area where creative play and theatrics were encouraged. She wore the Ibong Adarna head dress cum wings.

The Paglaki Ko Room is the first interactive museum that features Filipino writers and illustrators who've made a mark in Philippine Children's Literature. Jose Aruego, Albert Gamos, Jo-Ann Bereber, Beth Parrocha, Robert Alejandro and Kora Dandan Alabano are the featured illustrators. Augie Rivera, Rene Villanueva, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, Carla Pacis and Russell Molina and Rhandee Garlitos are the writers who made it to the esteemed list.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...