Sunday, August 28, 2016

Support Systems for School Libraries: Technology Department and Communications Team

Study Skills and Recommended Reads
Where I work, I am a one-man/woman librarian. I have a staff, though, who assists and helps me in all administrative, clerical and technical matters of library work. Early on in our journey of setting up the library, it had been our agreement to start right. This meant, setting up systems and structures that are efficient and productive so that, we can concentrate on readers' services and user education.

My staff and I have been together for the past five years and so far, we have been doing pretty well. The work doesn't end there since we are to evaluate the systems and structures we set up. While we get feedback from the community, a formal evaluation is necessary. Annual reports are there to qualify the numbers, but I am looking for a more client centered method. More on that in a future post as this would involve Design Thinking for school libraries.

This academic year is also our International Baccalaureate (IB) authorization process. In some ways, it is a way of analyzing and evaluating our library services and programs through the lens of outsiders, otherwise known as IB evaluators. For the past few weeks, I have been deep into writing reports, reviewing statistics and attending meetings. Did I say that there's been requests for Information Literacy sessions, acquisition and cataloging work, management of technology and teacher - librarian collaborations?

More Recommended Reading
Yep. I am a busy bee!

What helps see us through, is the supportive people in our learning ecosystem. Ah, the advantage of working in a small school. One of these people happens to be the Communication Associate who is always on the ear for good news to share with our community. Since school started in August, the library is getting space in the weekly school newsletter. Students, teachers and leadership are regularly informed of our new titles, events and activities and updates in art and culture through the school's mailing list. There, another system that supports the library - the Tech department!

The inclusion of library updates in the weekly school newsletter is one way of putting a face of the library to the bigger members of our community: the parents, the alumni, possible donors and organizations to partner with. In a bigger sense, the library is seen as a part of a bigger whole that belongs to a school community and its ecosystem for learning.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My Books in the 2016 IASL Tokyo Conference

Pilar Francisco, Filipino Librarian
For a good and valid reason, I skipped the 2016 International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) Tokyo Conference this year. Despite its tempting venue, I couldn't be there in this time of my life. Thanks to friends who posted on Facebook. I was able to relive the experience of the fun and the academic excitement of attending the IASL Conference through their postings of photos and videos.

I also have Veronica Silagpo and Pilar Francisco to thank for.

Pilar, a librarian friend I met at the 2013 IASL Conference in Bali asked if she can get copies of my books for donation to the Books for Children campaign of IASL. Books gathered from this campaign will be forwarded to the winning applicant of the Books for Children Award. Veronica is a librarian friend from the International School Manila who attended the conference there. So, when Pilar sent me the PM of her need, I requested Veron to deliver my books.

Veron and Pilar met at the conference and they took photos.

Books for Children
What a joy to see my books, Dear Nanay and Big Sister, spread out on the display table. Double the joy! My books will reach children from another country. My books are written in English, but there is a Filipino translation for all. I am hoping a Filipino child, or a Filipino parent gets to read it too.

Apart from these good news, Katy Massingil Manck is the new IASL President! Congratulations, dear friend! I also sent Katy a copy of Big Sister and My Daddy, My One and Only through the kindness of Veron.

The next IASL Conference is going to be in Long Beach, California. You know what that means. It's time to write. It's time to save up!

Veron and Katy at the IASL Conference in Tokyo

Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 NCBD Bumasa at Lumaya Blog Tour Round Up

I know this is so late, but, as I always say in my defense, better late than never.

As this is the final round up for the Bumasa at Lumaya blog tour, here are links to visit if you need to review on the first round up and the second one. Here is where you can read the list of bloggers who participated in the Bumasa at Lumaya volume 2 blog tour.  The first round up can be read here while the second round up is at this link. And now, for remaining two bloggers who posted on the Bumasa and Lumaya volume 2 * drum roll* --

Tarie Sabido, PBBY President, wrote about her book giveaway for the blog tour. You will also find a comprehensive content of the book in her post. This blog tour contest has three winners. They won a copy of Bumasa at Lumaya volume 2 by simply posting a comment on Tarie's post. Easy as pie.

Jord Earving Gadingan wrote a chapter review. He picked Lin Accacio-Flores' writing tips and found out how easy and accessible is Lola Lin's narrative. Jord has added Lola Lin in his list of writers to read.

So, that's about it folks. This blog tour ends officially now, but the aspiration to produce quality books for children and teens in the country today continues. Proof of this is the literary festival that is happening today at the Raffles, Makati. More on that in another post.

Have a restful long weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Curating for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

I thought of making a list of books by Filipino authors and illustrators, published in the Philippines (except for one) for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy. The list covers a year and a half of blog posts. How few. I should review more.

The curated post includes Filipino authors and illustrators I have featured in the blog as well.

Author Interviews: January 2015 - August 2016

Sophia N. Lee
Christine Bellen
Genaro Gojo Cruz
Ma. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag
Gidget Roceles Jimenez

Illustrators Interviews: January 2015 - August 2016

Jia Rubio Montserrat
Mark Lawrence Andres
Kora Dandan Albano

Book Reviews: January 2015 - August 2016

What Things Mean
Mommy Loves You Just The Same
Wrap Them, Store Them, Peddle Them The Filipino Way
Amazing Me
Mang Andoy's Signs
All About the Philippines

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Reading Guidance: Study Skills and Work Habits

At the start of the Academic Year, we encourage everyone to read books and borrow from the BA Library. Our Griffins follow a book quota to complete throughout the school year. The book quota is a reading challenge activity wherein students meet a number of books to read and borrow in a school year. The numbers to meet for each grade level are as follows:meet a number of books to read and borrow in a school year. The numbers to meet for each grade level are as follows:

Grade 9 - 20 books

Grade 10 - 30 books

Grade 11 - 40 books

Grade 12 - 50 books

This year, to guide our Griffins through the reading challenge, they were given an infographic that identifies topics and genre of books to read. 

To start them off with book recommendations, the BA Library put together a list of books on study skills. This was routed and shared to the advisers so that they may be able to inspire their advisees to read and direct themselves to better study skills and work habits.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Illustrator Interview: Ms. Jia Rubio-Montserrat

Back in May 2016, the blog featured Ma. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag as its author of the month. Her book, Mommy Loves You Just the Same, was launched and was reviewed on the blog that same month. And now, the illustrator of Mommy Loves You Just Same, Ms. Jia Rubio Montserrat, shares with us her experience of illustrating  a children's book in digital format.

1. Where did you get the inspiration to draw the little boy in the story? He looks, smart, makulit and cute at the same time. Typical kid!

One of my inspirations for the little boy is actually Teresa's 2 older sons. They do look smart, makulit and cute. I don't know them personally though, and I don't have a little boy of my own yet, but I do have a sweet little girl. I am also inspired by her who loves music, who is always playful, curious and as much as she could, she would try to give a helping hand. She is going to be a big sister soon at the age of 2. 

2. Mommy Loves You Just the Same is your first illustrated story book for kids. How did you approach the visual narrative of the story as a whole? Was there a meeting with Ms. Dumadag before and after production? You can describe your process, your medium and the experience of working with the author.

Teresa and I met in South PiNanay's anniversary celebration on October 2015. She was promoting her book and she delivered a talk about Hands-On-Parenting. I was there because my commissioned paintings about breastfeeding were on display. I was able to chat with her because I find her inspiring in the way she is juggling her career on the side of taking care of her kids. And she asked me for the possibility for us to collaborate and told me about the story that she wrote. That made me excited because I've always wanted to illustrate a book. And I even shared with her that my husband and I were praying for baby number 2 and it would be more meaningful for me to do it if ever I get pregnant again.

Months came, God answered my prayer. I found out I was pregnant on New Year's eve and gladly announced it on Facebook. Teresa immediately sent me the story of Mommy Loves You Just the Same and asked me if I could do the illustrations. Though I have lots of things at hand, I couldn't say no because it was really timely for me. 

I made a few sketches. Teresa and I agreed right away on how we want the illustrations to be. It has to be warm and full of love. And that is how it came to be. We agreed right away because I guess that is what mothers feel in general when they're expecting another child. 

It was a fun learning experience. I hope we can have more projects like it soon. And I hope we'll be able to see each other again soon. We haven't met again since the time we first met. We're busy work-at-home-moms.  

3. Being a mother too, what can you share with other mom's that will help them be more confident and adept at parenting?

Coming from a very career-driven singlehood, I can be very impatient with myself in accomplishing things and it often reflects on my little one. She tends to be fussy, clingy, and she even gets sick when I am too overwhelmed & preoccupied with my to-do-list. When she is like that, I know that she needs her mother. And because of that, I am trying to learn the art of being patient with myself, to accept that I am not perfect, but I am trying my best to be perfect, to let go, and take just one step at a time. Because I am mother above all else. Like they said, our children are the most important work. And it is very important for all parents to know that. They're only little once.

4. After Mommy Loves You Just the Same, where do you see yourself heading to? Any projects you want to pursue or current works you wish to promote?

I am currently helping in setting up our family's food businesses, Bertie's Artisan Bakeshop (which was established since 1998 but we just relocated starting this year. It is located at Bucal Bypass Road, Calamba) and DataBites (A Gaming Lounge Cafe opening this July in UP Los Banos). I am also helping with LATCH Los Banos activities as a LATCH peer counselor.

For now, I am trying to slow down because I'll be giving birth soon. It would be my season to welcome and nurture our newest family member. And when I already can, I hope to launch my mommy artist website/blogsite soon to further establish my art career. I am currently trying to build-up a collection of artworks on parenting entitled "Gintong Pag-ibig" for a possible solo exhibit.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: What Things Mean

What Things Mean
By Sophia N. Lee
Scholastic, Singapore 2016

I am trying to remember when I first met Sophia N. Lee. Was it in a KUTING workshop or during the PBBY Kabanata Workshop? I couldn't recall anymore. What I remember is reading the three chapters of a novel that Sophia N. Lee was working with at the time. It had a narrative voice that was sensitive, introspective and curiously delightful to read. I was intrigued at the format she was trying to experiment with. Each chapter began with a word and what followed were definitions of it. I immediately warmed up to the fledgeling novel.

One of my hobbies when I was in my tweens, and up to my teenage years, was that I collected words, quotes and paragraphs that strike me as powerful, subtle, poignant, riveting and mind boggling. During those wonder years, I had no awareness of the purpose of collecting such "stuff". I loved to read (I still do) and words fascinated me (still). So, I jotted down in a notebook, all the words, quotes and paragraphs I could find that piqued my fancy. Some words I remember. Others I forgot. I realized I needed to use them. I did so by keeping a diary. My curated words and quotes, lines of poetry and paragraphs finally found another home, another life. I grew up, of course, and started collecting other things.

But that childhood memory remains. It is one of those memories that make me ask myself, to this day, why I did that when my friends were interested in something more exciting than collecting words. That's why, when I first read Sophia N. Lee's drafts, I saw my fourteen year old self: a word collector trying to find the meaning of things.

I have connected one dot to another.

What Worked

What Things Mean is about Olive who sees herself a little different from her cousins and her classmates. It bothers her, a lot, but Sophia N. Lee approaches this personal issue with a nuanced narration of stories from her quirky uncles, her cousins, her aunts, her grandmother and her mother who has her own unique style of evading the truths that Olive wishes to discover.  Her journey towards self discovery is a quiet one; subtle and insightful. Thank you, Ms. Lee, for this portrayal of the un-emo teenager.

I am so tired of the big drama and the loud characterization of obnoxious teens, especially in mainstream telenovelas and kalyeserye. In real life, some can be overly dramatic and annoying. True. There are those who suffer in silence and somehow, turn out fine later on. To me, this teenager was given a voice through Olive.

I enjoyed her conversations with her uncles the most. Her aunts, her grandmother and her mother are all strong women characters. Each is presented with a personal battle and could hold their own in the midst of their internal conflicts. Yet, it is the male characters whom I found to be giving more sensible advice to Olive. While the women in the novel are always there for each other, most times, she feels isolated in their midst. But, don't we all feel this way in our own family sometimes? The thing is, the uncles and her father are either often away or missing, however, the men in this novel made a bigger impact on me.

I cried when Uncle Ricky had to leave again. I cried when Uncle Sol's postcards are left unappreciated. I cried when Olive finally met her father. I cried for their wives and their daughters who must cope, endure and accept that taking leave is part of life.

The truth is not an easy pill to swallow. But, it sets us free. Olive's journey to this new found freedom has just begun.

What did not work

There is no sequel.

So I won't know how Olive's relationship with her father progressed. I am left with a hole full of questions. Only my imagination could fill in the gap for answers. Which, if you think about it, isn't that bad at all.

I read this book at a time in my life when I am battling with my own issues of detachment. I couldn't thank Ms. Lee enough for getting in touch with me. I am glad I accepted to review this book because once again, I realized that the gaps, the spaces and the lacunas in our lives are necessary to complete us and make us whole again.

I am honored and privileged to have witnessed the life cycles of Olive, the novel's turn about into a published book, and that of Ms. Sophia N. Lee, Filipina and writer.

Recommended for readers age 13 and up!

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