Thursday, March 31, 2011

There and Back Again




I am back after days of busyness. Still busy as a bee though and I do not think work and domestic duties will let up till after the summer. Whew.

But I'm alive and blogging back again! I'll try to whip up a post that would summarize the library and literacy activities I've done the past two weeks. For one PBBY is putting together a Rizal themed celebration for the July National Children's Book Day. Speaking of children's books, here's a one day conference that SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Ilustrattors, will be conducting on 4th of June 2011.

I will be attending the event. See you!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Developing Digital Collections

I was fortunate to be at the Adamson University library last week for their seminar on Library Services via International Collaboration. I wondered what the seminar was all about when I got a call from the Library Director herself inviting me to sit in the seminar. The topic suggested many areas of interest for the practicing librarian. The phrase, international collaboration, would mean globalization among other things "international".

Upon getting the program, I learned that the seminar was simply about collection development but, with a focus on the application of IT especially web technologies and platforms for a digital collection.

With James Galbraith, M Ryann Hess and
Madame Dhel Calimag, Director of Adamson Univeristy
Library (Manila)

It was a full house! What with two scholars from DePaul Univeristy, Chicago as resource speakers, Pinoy librarians were all eager to listen and see models of practice and application of digital collection building from the presentations of James Galbraith, Associate Director for Collections and Scholarly Resources of DePaul University and M Ryan Hess, Web Services Coordinator of the same university.

The library staff at Adamson University did not expect that they will get a very good attendance. Besides, the event was simply a venue for professional sharing and networking. It was not a money-making activity. The librarians at Adamson University are bent at collaborating and sharing resources with DePaul University being

Needless to say, the seminar was a timely one. Everyone is up and about on e-books and e-reading. Setting up a digital collection is not an option but a choice that has to be made. I sensed an unspoken anxiety and wariness among the participants though and suffice it to say that this unease comes from the bigger task of actually going digital. It sets off a host of implications which, for the local librarian, these would mean a lot of work!

One implication is the upgrade of a librarian's competency and training. Second, going digital would also mean tougher library management skills for the library manager who is in the middle: on top is his/her responsibility towards the administration and below is his/her authority and capability to lead the library staff. Developing digital collection would also entail a robust IT manpower and support systems, sustainable budget for its growth and development, on-going training of library staff, users of the library and continued networking skills for collaborative projects.

The long and short of it, developing digital collections require the accommodation of changing paradigms and the assimilation of new business models to run and operate modern library systems.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Picture! Picture!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Yes. I have been amiss in the blogosphere for days. I have been busy -- very busy. Suffice it to say that I have been getting a life that is removed from the virtual world. Or so I think. Hahaha. Who am I kidding?

Seriously now, I have been to a bit of an adventure. Well, it's more like a journey that is both internal and external. My visit to four schools in Tanauan, Batangas a few days back has affected me greatly on many levels. I'm still reeling from what I saw and witnessed there. Nothing earthshaking as compared to the quake and tsunami in Japan. But the experience was enough to break my heart over and over again.

Sugar cane field being prepared for planting season.

Among the four schools I visited, only two schools have identified a room that functions as a library. These reading rooms have textbooks, very old textbooks that date back to the 70's. All of the four schools have kindergarten classrooms where local picture books and storybooks are housed. The books stay there until it is worn out or yellow all over. The grade school classrooms do not have classroom libraries but shelves lined up with textbooks. In my conversation with teachers and head of schools, even the delivery of textbooks is a problem. For example, a district has ten schools and one thousand textbooks arrive. These instructional materials will be divided equally to the ten schools. On the average, each school has a population of two hundred. How many textbooks will each school have? Do the math for me please.

This book about Marcos is inside the reading room in one of the elementary schools I visited.

I did not dare ask obvious questions. I already know the answers. And I did not ask for the librarian. I know where the licensed librarians are.

I thought we had it tough and rough in the National Capitol Region when it comes to public school library development. I was wrong. It's worse in the rural area.

Library stack room. Indeed.
If it's any consolation, it is the resilience of the teachers, head of schools and district supervisors in the region that gives me hope. They battle it out everyday, every week, every month and every school year.  They muster whatever skill they have on sharing, building linkages and being resourceful so that the kids they teach would not be deprived of their right to education. They won't give up. Really. But they need all the help they can get.

I just could not give up on them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Read Aloud Day!

To kick off our READ ALOUD Day celebration, here's Jay Menes, storyteller and workshop facilitator, in a read aloud session among preschool kids.

Watch out for more videos of storytellers, teachers and librarians reading aloud!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day 2011

It's International Women's Day! Now here's a treat --

Watch Gcina Mhelope-Becker in this short clip of her storytelling about a Tortoise who proclaimed herself Queen, flew to the sky with the help of ducks and, because of her vanity and arrogance, fell to the ground cracking her smooth, beautiful shell.

The Queen of the Tortoises turned out to be a great leader after the fall. She has a scarred and cracked shell to prove it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Director of the NLP

The National Library of the Philippines has a new "acting" director.

Congrats to Atty. Antonio Santos for the new appointment. PAARL Wikispaces has his profile. Read it here.

Atty. Santos joins the roster of Filipino male librarians who've made contributions to the growth of Philippine Librarianship.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On the Wings of Literacy

Been riding on the wings of literacy the past few weeks and here are some pics to share with you!

At Hope Christian High School's preschool department during the opening of Literacy Week. There were storytelling sessions by Jay Menes courtesy of Adarna House.

Visiting storyteller, Gcina Mhelope-Becker, of South Africa gave a workshop on telling folk tales, personal and family stories, and contemporary stories at Museo Pambata. She was riveting! Her experiences of growing up in a Zulu tribe in South Africa provided exotic setting to her stories. Her version of the folk tale, The Tortoise that Fell From the Sky is insightful and moving because it speaks of the success of a fallen leader. 

From a cautionary tale, Gcina fashioned the folk tale to a modern story of leadership and facing up to one's mistakes but, with the wisdom on what to make of the failure into a learning experience. 

The Scholastic Warehouse in Pasig City opened its doors to the public via a sale that offered big, big discounts. I was fortunate to see their new showroom/library. I had the opportunity to meet their new team of Book Fairs specialist and exchanged ideas with them on the importance of reading and libraries.

A teacher from Valenzuela shares her Reading beliefs in a seminar I conducted on libraries being an agency of literacy development.

And just yesterday, I had a long, but substantial lecture on Literacy Campaigns at the National Library of the Philippines with teachers, teacher-librarians and school librarians from the National Capitol Region. Most of them came from the public school system and are no stranger to literacy activities and strategies. So, I presented collaborative and integrative literacy campaigns done by Sambat Trust, Sa Aklat Sisikat, Room to Read, the PBBY, MyLibrary Project of Filipinas Heritage Library, Early Readers Online, etc. The forum was sponsored by the Children's Literature Association of the Philippines. 

The UN declared 2003-2012 as the Literacy Decade. What have you been doing to encourage reading and the understanding of literature to kids and young adults?

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