I've given a good number of seminars and workshops for school librarians and I often encounter shy, timid and meek as a mouse school librarians sittng in the audience. They emit a certain aura of subservience. They seem to lack the courage to assert their important role in the school. At times I catch myself imagining that while I'm delivering my presentation, bubble clouds would pop in their heads with these lines-
Librarian bubble cloud 1: How would I tell my principal that we need a bigger budget for books this year?
Librarian bubble cloud 2: The activities that she is presenting are really cool. It will surely improve our library programs and services. Our students will learn a lot from those activities, but, how will I start? Who will help me out? I'm a one-man librarian in my school.
Librarian bubble cloud 3: I'm only a librarian. My training is to organize the library's collection and circulate it. Do I really need to collaboarte with teachers and parents? Then there is the principal to contend with. I'm afraid she won't beleive me.
Librarians are not completely to blame for this paradigm of passivity. First of all, the Philippines' educational history is anchored in subjugation not empowerment. It is seen more as an economic tool rather than a pair of liberating wings that allows one to think freely and become his/her own person. Second, the state of Philippine School Librarianship needs a make-over. Reviewing the standards and guidleines governing the management of school libraries is long overdue. Last, there is the training of librarians to look into. How can colleges and universities offering LIS empower their students? It's a question I wish to help my colleagues answer in due time.
For now, I'm hopeful to see other librarains doing their share of advocating the profession. Read the Filipino Librraian's post for today.
Many Filipino librarians do not have the leadership and communication skills necessary to persuade their superiors and possible donors—even subordinates—that they can effectively implement the projects for which they ask assistance.
If you are one of the shy librarains I'm refering to, this post is not meant to degrade or look down upon your skills and abilities. My intent is to inspire and motivate you to be a proactive librarian because, our students need us. Our co-teachers in the school need partners like us. Our school parents would be happy parents to know that we are helping them raise independent learners who can compete in the global arena. Our school directors will trust us with the budget we ask for because we will put it into wise investments. School libraries are important. School librarians, even more.
Taking off from the Filipino Librarian's point, here is an article to start with. Build up your communication skills and get the support that you and your library truly deserve.
People at Work I am still unable to speak fluent English'
By Tita Datu Puangco