Saturday, April 25, 2015

ILN Discussion: Prove your worth!

I have been thinking through these questions:
•    How do you measure success in your library?
•  Are library statistics gathered? How are they used, and what do they tell you about the library?
 •    Who makes funding decisions about your library? How are those decisions made? Is funding very difficult to get?
 •    What is one story you can tell about a positive outcome that was achieved by your library?
These are the questions I need to answer for the ILN's topic of discussion. It cuts across library advocacy and knowing the roles that librarians play in the community he or she works with. I will get back to answering these questions before the weekend comes to a close. For now, follow these links since ILN participants have written about proving the library's worth and library advocacy.

What will you do to prove the worth of your library?

SLA Success Stories

The Elevator Pitch

Return on Investments

Library Measurement and Metrics

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Alex Lunar

Alex Lunar is this month's Filipino Librarian. He is currently the media librarian at the University of Batangas, Batangas City.

What's your lib story?

I am an accidental Librarian.

Never in my wildest dream that I saw myself doing library work. One thing I like doing that is somewhat related to library work is organizing things around me. I like to see things neatly arrange, from my room, to the things I use, to my garden. After graduation, the same school that gave me a scholarship in college called me because they needed an encoder in the library department. I applied for the position and got hired. My first degree was Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. I do some computer programming and trouble shooting. While working in the library, I felt I need additional job so I enrolled professional subjects in BSED because I feel I can teach. I choose TLE as my major because it was related to computer education and eventually I got my teacher’s license. I work as an encoder, computer trouble shooter and binder. As part of professional development the school obliged me to enroll in library science subjects for me to have background of the field. I went to Philippine Normal University to enroll in their specialization program. The very first day I set foot on PNU grounds especially the library, I knew changes will come to me. I met brilliant professors in the likes of Sir. Cobaria, Sir. Marasigan, Mam. Joven, Ma'am Orendain and Ma'am Tayona.

I think I didn’t choose LIS, it was a gift to me. I met different students taking up LS Specialization, some are young but mostly are older, most of us were graduates of other fields. When I finished my specialization program I thought PRC would allow taking LLE because I already have 18 units in LS and already a LET passer but they did not allow me. It took them sometime to decide but in the end, I was not able to get the exam. That was the first challenge I encountered.  I enrolled in the graduate program MAEd-LS in the same school, thinking it was my last option to be qualified for LLE, I have to do well. I met a lot of good people, I learned a lot, I’ve known PNU well and the thought of qualifying for exam just became a consolation price, the learning and experience became my motivation. I finished the program, it was year 2008, the last year non-LIS and non-MLIS graduates can take the exam, I have to nail it one time, thankfully I got it. 

The only guy in the group is none other than Alex Lunar, male Filipino Librarian.
What has been the greatest challenge you've faced so far as a licensed and working librarian?

The greatest challenge I encountered so far as a licensed and working librarian was teaching future librarians. It was the time that I am the one demonstrating and showing them how to become the best librarian they could be. It was challenging because they saw you as a mentor and model just like what my professors did to me. I have to make them see what I saw, the beauty of books and reading, research and service.

What is your area of expertise in LIS?

I could say that my areas of expertise are information technology and indexing, but I also do things other than that. If being funny and humorous is some sort of expertise in LIS, I would be the first in line. I could be a friend to anyone.

What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?

For me to become LIS professional, one should have a deeper understanding of things around them and be able to appreciate their importance. One should understand the importance of being informed and be able to share the information to others. You have to be positive and optimistic enough that the things you are doing will bring positive results. One should love to discover from basic sampling to complicated scientific research.

What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?

Rewards, I was given a chance to teach young people about libraries, books and the beauty of reading. I was able to serve different type of clients belonging to different walks of life. I met a lot of bright people and I was able to learn from them. It was rewarding to belong to organizations doing good things to other people to make the world a better one. I was able to talk and share my knowledge to my colleagues. I was awarded several times for being good (daw) in practicing my profession which I cannot achieve without being one. I became known and popular somehow, elected in several positions in different library organization, maybe because I gathered more votes because I’m talkative and friendly. Lastly I can say, it was financially rewarding, not that much but it pays better being a librarian.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ARC: The Navy SEAL's Email Order Bride/Red Hot Beginnings Anthology

My affair with contemporary romance novels hit an all time high when I started reading Cora Seton, particularly The Cowboys of Chance Creek series. I have read all eight books in the series and was very much amused at the quirky characters, loveable female leads and the swoon worthy cowboys that are matched with them. It was a lot of fun reading the romance stories of Ethan and Autumn, Jaime and Claire, Cab and Rose, Rob and Morgan, and the rest of the Matheson brothers.

When I learned about The Heroes of Chance Creek series, I immediately purchased the first book The Navy SEAL's Email Order Bride. When I finished reading this, I bought the second one, The Soldier's Email Order Bride and the third, The Marine's Email Order Bride. I am patiently waiting for the fourth installment in the series, The Airman's Email Order Bride, to see how the Halls' quest to reclaim their home and ranch will end. Of course, it will end happily ever after, like most romance novels do. But the adventure, the relationships, the sense of community, along with its complications are elements in the series I want to see unfold and come to a conclusion.

What worked

I love Mason Hall because he loves his brothers, his family's heritage and the land he grew up in. Apparently, this SEAL has a strong and well balanced mental faculty that he does not suffer any post war trauma. Nope. He is not the dark and brooding hero. He is prideful, handsome, a gentleman and knows where his head and heart should be. He is your romance hero whom you can depend on. Ah, but his pride would get in the way some times and this is where Regan Anderson comes in to temper and put Mason into rights.

This is what I love about the book. How the author mixes and matches her characters to bring home the message that, despite differences, man and woman can live together. The stuff of fiction, some would say. An escape from reality, a few may add. But, I have seen real life relationships endure that makes me a believer in this conceit.

What about the sex? Of course there is plenty. But Regan knows what she wants and how to get it. Mason gives what he can and takes, in all sincerity and respect, what Regan is capable of giving.

What did not work

It's too short. I would have wanted to see more complications between the leads but, Cora Seton reserved that for the second book in the series.

As for the anthology, the Red Hot Beginnings, it is a sizzling read; a good reading companion these hot summer days. I've finished the second book, Life Blood  by V.M. Black and it can stand strong, enough for me to suspend my disbelief. Though it is not a finished novella, I can say that this is the better vampire romance novel I have read in a while. There is a series to the initial offering, Cora's Choice, so I might check it out soon as well. I am on the third novella now, Beauty Touched the Beast by Sky Warren, another promising read that touches on a May-December affair.

I will leave this review here but with a promise that I will come back to finish it. Until next post!

The Binan Public Library and Museum

The stained glass reminds me of my lola's house.
I made the visit to the public library of Binan, Laguna last week. Thanks to Dr. Merlene Alon who accommodated me that afternoon. Dr. Alon is a proud Binanense who volunteered to help develop the library and the museum. The public library is housed in the old municipal hall which is flanked by the public market on the left and the church on the right. There is an azotea overlooking the town plaza and the skeleton of the old Alberto House. That afternoon of my visit, I was given an application form for a library card!

The library has a spacious reading room; a viewing room; an Internet station; and a working area for its staff and volunteers. That afternoon, the reading area was empty but there were teenagers who were using the computers for research and, yes, Facebook.

This poster about Rogelio Limaco is found in a room dedicated for Binan's World War II hero.
There is also a museum on the second floor. It was impressive since it has a gallery of photographs that show Binan's industry and trade since the time of the Spanish conquest. There is a room dedicated for Roger Limaco, one of Binan's local hero as well as past mayors and the memorabilia that are marked by each's term of office. I learned from Dr. Alon that more and more, family members of past mayors have contacted her to donate more memorabilia from their collection. This is good news indeed and the local government unit better take good care of these archival and historical objects, documents and donations.

As a librarian, visiting this library is already a treat. As a member of the community, I feel I need to do more. So, the extra books we have identified for donation in our school library will be having a new home in this public library inside a heritage house. More photos on my next post!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DIY School Library Bulletin Board

Here is a sneak peak on a handout and content on my forth coming workshop for Adarna House and Intervida next month. I will be giving a session on library improvement for teachers, librarians and cultural workers in Bicol.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Visit From Librarians of Lipa City Colleges

The visit of eight librarians from the Lipa City Colleges in our library was one event I was thrilled to host. They were the first group to see us at The Academy for benchmarking purposes. To prepare for their visit, my staff and I showed them the basic library functions we have set up, the activities and programs we have conducted, so far, gave them a tour of the campus and had a round table discussion at the end of the tour. We also served them the fabled puto Binan and brewed coffee.

The team from Lipa City Colleges was led by Ms. Belle De la Cruz. From this post in FB by Marianne Diesta, I think we had all a wonderful time. Here's hoping we can establish stronger networking ties with our colleagues in Batangas.

Monday, April 20, 2015

SLIA: A Decade of Blogging

The blog turned ten years old yesterday! There is reason to celebrate! So, from here on, I'll be posting throwback posts that consists of Top Ten lists about the blog and topics I have written about the past decade.

For the meantime, here is a screen shot of my first post in 2005.

Von Totanes greatly figured in my blogging life. He remains an inspiration.
At the time I started out, my agenda  was to promote school librarianship; the work I do as a school librarian; advocate reading and literacy; and use the online space as a way to address topics and issues relevant to the profession. Along the way, I realized that blogging helps me learn new things. I am still learning new things. SLIA opened opportunities for me to grow professionally by being a main platform for my own personal and professional learning network. Blogging gave me avenues to be creative.

It has been an exciting ride. It is one where I had encountered bumps along the way and where I was able to pause, to reflect and pick myself up to move on. I've reached a decade of blogging and, perhaps, a "dot com" website is inevitable.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Haiku Writing Workshop

Candy May Schijf and I composed a haiku during the workshop.
I like haiku. You can say so much, and more, in three lines and in very few words. Back in 2009, I wrote twelve haiku, one for each month to capture a moment. In my poetry workshop for kids, I always put in a unit on haiku writing. Imagine my delight to learn about a Haiku Writing Workshop in the IAFOR LibrAsia 2015!

It was the last session of the conference for Day 1. I was on cloud nine to have had my photo taken with haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. In our brief conversation before the start of her workshop, she told me that she is a poet, and that poets are bubbles. She smiled and excused herself as she had to prepare for her workshop. Just like that, she disappeared from my sight like a bubble. Upon entering the workshop venue, we discovered stuff on top of each chair. At close inspection, it was a crocheted bookmark and a one page handout for the writing workshop. The crocheted bookmarks were done by Ms. Yamashita's mother who is over 90 years old.

With haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. Bubble personified.
During the workshop, Ms. Yamashita and her co-facilitator, gave inputs on the basics of writing a haiku, a brief origin story about it and the form of a traditional Japanese haiku in 5-7-5 syllables. They showed samples of haiku by Issa, Basho as well as western ones. What followed next was an on-the-spot haiku writing workshop where feedback was given immediately to the brave souls who stood up and delivered. At the end of the workshop, I was lucky to get a book on a collection of haiku written by children from all over the world.

As in all art forms, writing must be practiced. It is something done everyday to sharpen one's skill, perceptions and feelings. So, I committed to writing 100 haiku. What I do is to select photos I have taken from my travels or from simple things I see around me. Like what Ms. Yamashita said in the workshop, a haiku is about moments. It is not about the passing of time. I started last April 6, 2015. I am on day eleven now. I post my haiku on Instagram. Check these hastags: #haiku / #humahaiku / #The100DayProject #iaforLibrAsia2015results.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Comparative Librarianship

The OICC - Osaka Internattional Convention Center
One of the new things I learned from the 5th LibrAsia Conference was about comparative librarianship. I have read and participated in international librarianship, but it was my first time to encounter the term, comparative librarianship. Turns out, it has been around since the 70s and that, my engagement with IASL since 2005 is part and parcel of ICL, International and Comparative Librarianship.

Here are links to ICL websites:

ICL Definitions
IFLA - Interest Group: ICL
Peter Johan Lor on ICL

Thinking through this experience, I realized that my current involvement in the International Librarians Network's peer mentoring and partnership program is an ICL activity. I have been exchanging emails and blog entries with my Polish friend, Wanda Sliwowska, a school librarian in Poland, for over a month now. You can read the ILN introduction I wrote in this link. Wanda has made a blog since our "convo" and email exchanges. I also learned from her that they have a school librarian association in Poland. Our last topic of discussion in the ILN program was about games in the school library. While Wanda has started organizing a game board collection, I still have to study and explore this possibility in our school library.

Receiving my certificate from Dr. Patrick Lo
In my introduction, this is what I said on my purpose for joining ILN: I joined ILN because I know little of the world. I wish to expand my worldview in the context of my work as a school librarian. I am excited to know more about my peer mentor hoping that I can also contribute or give back a little of what I know. It has been an enjoyable and enriching experience. There are times when I do feel alone in the work place. No offense meant to my learning community. But being with one's kin or kind inspires and uplifts me to do more; to push myself; and to look at my small self in a bigger world. Such experiences affirm that the little things I do matter.  To quote June Carter, "I just want to matter."

Going back to the 5th LibrAsia Conference where comparative librarianship was a topic of presentation, Dr. Patrick Lo shared his research on librarians in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. It covered librarians working in schools, academia and universities. In a nutshell, there is work to be done in school librarianship across Asia. 

We can start rolling our sleeves and go to work by answering this survey: - Where we can mull over on our roles and feel good afterwards. - Where we can think about comics and how it can change our services to readers.

These are all for now on the IAFOR / 5th LibrAsia Conference.