Thursday, February 11, 2016

Filipino Librarian: Kevin Conrad Tarrobal Tansiongco

This is Kevin with kids who enjoy listening to his storytelling.
This month, the featured Filipino Librarian is Mr. Kevin Conrad Tarrobal Tansiangco. I first met him in the Information Literacy seminar workshop I conducted with the Aurora Boulevard Consortium in August last year. He was a Library and Information Science (LIS) student then and a candidate for graduation at the University of the East.

I was impressed at Kevin's idealism for LIS development in the country in general, and in particular on his advocacy for reading through the establishment of reading centers and libraries. Last January, I met him at the Follet Destiny workshop at ISM. He has graduated from university and has begun work as a new LIS professional with Follet. Here is Kevin's interview.

1. Why did you major in LIS?
Actually, I enrolled as an accountancy student  then I shifted to LIS because, first it has a board exam and this is one of my goals to finish a degree with a board exam. I don't have any idea of what it is and what will be my future in this course. This was a suggestion from my aunt who is working in the university where I was a student, the University of the East. I was so curios about the course and when I enrolled in LIS on my first semester I loved the way it was taught. To fast forward, I see myself as a successful librarian in the future, specifically a good storyteller.

2. What learning did you get from your LIS training that you will take with you in the workplace? 

Before I graduated and hired in a job I was a student assistant of the UE Library for 3 years. I experienced almost all of the activities and services needed to be learned as a future information professional. Most of the learning I brought with me in my new workplace is more on the management aspect taught in the subject library management.  Even my storytelling skills  is a way of demonstrating to my audience, which are mostly librarians and administrative officials, the points of management concepts, like marketing. Through storytelling, I can persuade them to look at the benefits and how good our library software is. Also learning cataloging principles help in explaining and demonstrating the advantages of cataloging online.

Cool Kevin in the City of Pines
3. What are your expectation as a new LIS Professionals? 

I expect a big change to the level of the librarians to other professionals. I expect that we as the new generation of LIS professionals will take an action to help the profession be known and become more important than usual. Continuing education and research must start from us librarians because that can help us level up our love for the profession. I really expect, as always, that the librarians' world are very wide and opportunities in the society.

4. What aspect of your advocacy are you most proud of?

I am very proud of the way we help children; to lift up their dreams; and to help them study more as I make a difference in each of child. I am very proud also that I will start with my new program which is the READ Program - Read, Educate, Act, and Develop. This way I can say that I can help lessen illiteracy in my community. The plan is to build a reading and learning center under the READ Program in my community. The Library Renewal Partnership is one of our partners continuously helping and donating books.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Makati Library Hub Steps Up on Professional Development for Teacher Librarians

With Phia Delfin
The Library Hub in Makati City is alive and functional. Catering to more than 40 schools in the division, it is manned by a licensed librarian, Ms. Phia Delfin and aided by a library staff. I first met Phia in 2010 during a workshop for librarians and teacher librarians (full time teachers assigned to do library duties) who were assigned to run the hubs.

It was a workshop sponsored by Adarna House. I have blog entries about it. One is about the outline of my seminar workshop while the other post featured Mrs. Digna Aquino who was then the assigned teacher librarian in the Pasig Library Hub. At the time, the library hub in Pasig was the exemplar of best practice. Now I wonder what has happened to the library hub in that city. Mrs. Aquino is a retired teacher who made wonders for the library hub. She is probably in her 70s now. Is she still working as a library hub teacher librarian? If not anymore, who replaced her? Is the hub being sustained as an exemplar of best practice? The challenge of succession, leadership and sustainability are issues that many libraries and communities willing to have functional reading centers, at least, face constantly.

Since Phia has been with the Makati City Library Hub for six years now, she has been able to build relationships with the teacher librarians in each schools. The workshop she organized last Friday, February 5 at the Makati Elementary School was the first for the year. I got the impression that there will be more in the months to come.

Here is the presentation I used in the workshop.

Teacher Lorima read aloud their book to a listening adience.
I live blogged the morning session of the workshop. It was an input session on basic library organization and programming. In the afternoon, Mrs. Leonila Galvez of the Library Hub DepEd Central shared more reading promotions and projects. After an hour of sharing exciting activities on reading, I was back to facilitate the book making and story writing workshop. These are staple workshop activities I do in all my teacher librarian workshops. It may not be a new activity since they have had experience with this kind of workshop before.

As a storyteller and published author, I believe that creating stories, writing and reading them aloud to an audience is a creative experience. The exercise will not lead them to publishing instantly. The point is for participants to look at themselves as a collection of stories. A living and human library. With in them are life stories that are worth sharing to others. To code and write down these stories into self made books empowers them to create and communicate. What happens when there are no books? The answer is, tell stories. Life stories.

Tell personal stories. Code it. Write it. Read it aloud.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Teacher Vic's Top Tips

Two weeks ago, the blog featured Teacher Vic and the work he does in reading assessment and intervention. Here now are his tips for literacy learning and better reading.
  • Your top 5 tips for kids so they can be independent and lifelong learners
  • Read about things that you like. You can listen to suggestions from your parents and teachers. But in the end, it’s your choice.
  • Read, even if your parents don’t.
  • Read, even if your friends don’t.
  • Just like any skill, reading takes practice.
  • Listen to your teachers. Most of the time, they know how to help you. 
  • Your top 5 tips to teachers so they can teach literacy better 
  • Know your stuff.
  • Know when you don’t know enough.
  • Know when to ask for help.
  • Know when to have a break.
  • Read, and be seen doing it.
  • Top three books that influenced your choice of career
  • Teaching Them to Read by Dolores Durkin
  • Beginning to Read by Marilyn J. Adams
  • Best Practices in Literacy Instruction by Michael Pressley

For inquiries on reading assessment and intervention programs, Teacher Vic can be reached through these contact numbers: 293-5431 (Builders School) and 09178527491 (mobile number).

Friday, February 5, 2016

Live Blogging: Seminar Workshop on Organizing the Library at the Makati Library Hub

Presenting right now is Ms. Leonila Galvez, consultant for Library Hub, DepEd Central Office on best practices, reading activities and programs for the school library. We are here in Makati Elementary School where the Library Hub workshop on Organizing a Library is being held. We are speakers to sixty teacher librarians.

This morning, I did a perspective taking on library concepts and emphasized the important role that librarians do in learning communities. I gave them basic principles in organizing a library and provided steps in setting up a book collection. I showed samples of online directories and e-book collections. Wikis. Pathfinders. LibGuides. Librarian made online directories via google sites.

The participants enjoyed my read aloud of Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk using an ebook. I couldn't find my print copy so I bought on Amazon. I got the same response from the teachers. They were engaged and entertained. Because the ebook was projected using a LCD, everyone can see the colorful visuals of the illustrated story books.

After Madme. Leony Galvez, I will be working with the teachers for a book making project.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Insights From UP FLIPP's New Professionals Series Seminar & Unconfenrence

The young and the restless: UP Flippers, Mdme Salvacion Arlante & me.
I wish to congratulate the officers of UP FLIPP (Future Library and Information Professionals of the Philippines) for a successful LibSpeak 2016. I have had the pleasure of being invited several times over by this vibrant and young group of students. Every engagement is a different experience but laden with learning and insights as always.

This year, LibSpeak 2016 had two simultaneous events, a conference graced by three esteemed UP SLIS alumni and the "first" New Professionals series seminar and unconference. The former follows tradition. Something tried and tested. The later deviates a bit from the path more traveled. That was where I found myself yesterday.

It suited me just fine.

The New Professional Series is meant to foster mentoring, build networks and linkages, and open up opportunities for continuous professional growth and development. Sounds familiar? Same objectives that many professional organizations have. What made this different was the format in which the seminar and "unconference" was conducted. The methodology went like this: a resource speaker gave an input on the theme; two senior colleagues gave a response; a breakout session followed and in each group, a sub-topic that was related to the theme was talked about; next was the feedback and reporting; open forum; and then, a closure. For some, this may look like a small scale PLAI Congress or a format done by organizations off shore in conferences too. Not entirely new, but it was modified to fit a particular context.

What I really liked about the format and method employed by the Flippers was that, it surfaced many voices. Participants were given choices of groups to belong to. Voice and choice. Two important features of instruction that is centered on the learner. The design of the seminar and unconference also lent for discourse, though, this kind of conversation needed refinement of thought and thinking processes.

I think we need meaningful discourse to prepare us for more difficult and challenging cognitive tasks: reading, writing and research.

Joseph Marmol Yap was in top form. The young LIS professional I met in Bacolod in 2012 is not the same man I listened to yesterday. Congratulations to the UP Flippers for a job well done! I am sure your mentors are proud of you. Thank you once again for bringing me along in the journey of the path less traveled by. It was not a lonely walk, but an interesting one where conversing with the future LIS professionals gave me hope to keep on doing what I have considered as my life's mission. It was an inspiring morning!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

LAUGHrary: The Justin Bieber Question

BEFORE: These are the two questions I asked to seniors working on their Extended Essays


AFTER: Two weeks after, it was converted to a Justin Bieber question.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

PAASCU Accreditation Visit: Another Way of Learning

Teacher and artist, Rolly Delos Santos
My recent PAASCU Accreditation visit to De La Salle Santiago Zobel (DLSZ) was a learning experience, as all accreditation visits are, at least for me. For newbies to the PAASCU visit, this would seem like an inspection done by experts. For the seasoned ones, the PAASCU experience is an exercise where both parties, the school seeking accreditation and the accreditors, learn from. It is, in one way, a means toward professional development. Looking at the bigger picture, the accreditation process can be likened to a conversation and colloquim of educators seeking ways to learn continuously in an ever changing world.

This PAASCU experience made me think of the future of school libraries and how technology is changing its purpose as fast as drifting sand. How are LIS professionals, the young and especially the seasoned ones coping? This is a question that can't be answered in one sitting. This would require a connect the dots process and tons of research, on the field and in libraries.

I share with you now what I took with me after this PAASCU visit.

For one, reading through the report is an analytical task. One way to develop critical thinking is to look at criteria and read reports that justify, qualify and explain the evaluation rating assigned per criterion. Going through exhibits and conducting interviews are additional tasks that further lead to this kind of thought process. As I tend to think globally on most times, depending on my emotions to make decisions and feeling my gut to take on an action the analysis work of accreditation provides the needed balance in thought and thinking. The brain has the left and the right sides. Learning how to tap into both hemisphere takes time to develop and practice.

Visiting different libraries through PAASCU work gives me a sense of how things are in Philippine school libraries. This is a big data I often file somewhere in my mind. I pull some of it out when the need arises. Like, when I give talks and conduct workshops. I see many kinds of school libraries. I talk to many school librarians. The experience is both amazing and overwhelming. I come face to face with problems of many school librarians. The challenges are huge. I tell myself to hang on because, really, there is no better time to be a school librarian in the Philippines but today. A lot of things are happening. Giving up is not an option.

Jay Diola, Librarian of DLSZ
Meeting friends and making new ones are experiences I enjoy during a PAASCU visit. In DLSZ, I met librarian friends and colleagues. I met Tito Rolly Delos Santos, finally. I first learned of him ten or eleven years ago during the first iBlog. He attended the iBlog conference as a newbie. We both were green horns in the conference among younger bloggers who have taken into blogging like fish to water. Thank God for the blogosphere and social media, we are able to keep in touch. I asked him for how long he has been with DLSZ. With a proud smile, he said he has been teaching in DLSZ for three decades already. That is a lifetime! It was nice of him to bring me to the grade school library to meet another good friend of mine. We did not miss the collage of St. John La Salle in the high school library though. This work of art is his masterpiece!

I have also picked up some marketing ideas along the way. Asking permission from librarian friends there, I will adapt and modify these strategies.

Since DLSZ is subscribed to Overdrive, their shelves have bookmakers on books that have ebook versions and audio book counterparts in Overdrive. The DLSZ library also has a Learning Commons. While some may think that this is merely a space or a room for interactivity, there is a philosophy and a pedagogy behind its presence and practice. I think this is another trend that needs thinking through before implementing and adapting it in school libraries. Will I put one in our school library? Study the possibility.

Book Menu of the Day
 What I find cute and easy to do is the Book Menu. This reading promo/display can actually be a bibliotherapy book promotion. What the DLSZ librarians did was to set up the Chicken Book for the Soul series like a menu from a restaurant or cafe. Imagine serving books as food for the soul? Sounds exciting, right? I can get to talk about books I have read that have bibliotherapy value to readers. I will be definitely be blogging about these reading promos and how I adopt and adapt them in my work place. Watch out for it!

Apart from these reflections and experiences, I had a closer look at Blended Learning, UbD and the outreach programs of DLSZ. Big ideas that need to be eaten like an elephant.

Teacher on Center Stage: Victor "Teacher Vic" Villanueva

This month, the blog features Mr. Victor, "Teacher Vic" Villanueva, teacher and reading specialist. He conducts reading assessment and implements reading intervention programs for K-12 learners. Teacher Vic teaches at Builders School in Quezon City. In this blog post, he tells us a bit about his job as a reading specialist and provides parents with tips on how they can help their kids become better readers.

What does it take to be a reading specialist? 

The person who aspires to be a reading specialist must have a real desire to help someone to read better than how he is reading at the moment through mindful teaching. This person needs to have a solid understanding of how the reading process actually happen in normally achieving individuals so he can tell when it is not working for a particular person. This understanding should be fused with teaching skills that will enable this person build the literacy competence of the one who struggles with reading.

 If not a reading specialist, what are you today? 

I would have been a high school history teacher. When I started dreaming of becoming a teacher, I was also falling in love with story of humankind. I was in high school at the time. I knew then that I wanted to teach.

Your top 5 tips to parents so they can help their kids become better readers 

    •    Parents should first have to believe that their children can become better at reading or in anything that is worth being good in.

    •    Parents should be convinced that reading is worth being proficient in.

    •    They have to think that reading is an ability that depends on desire and habit.

    •    They need to have a basic understanding of how a child develop the love for reading and the skill to do it.

    •    They need to put their money where their mouths are. If parents believe in the value of reading, they need to be ready to spend for it.

For inquiries on reading assessment and intervention programs, Teacher Vic can be reached through these contact numbers: 293-5431 (Builders School) and 09178527491 (mobile number).
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