Thursday, October 13, 2005

As a Children's and *YA Services Librarian...

If your clients are children and teenagers, please READ this post. It is of importance to school librarians like you and me. If you are highly concerned about what Pinoy children and teenagers are reading so you can provide them the reading materials that they need and are appropriate to their level, do READ this post. And if you want to know what a 15 year old teenager is clamoring to READ, you MUST read this post. If you are not interested at all, you know where I will put you in the librarians' two school's of thought (of course I'm kidding! There is still time to redeem yourself. Joke!).

To understand where the whole story begins, go to this site. To know the sequel, go to this site. After going to both sites, go back here in SLIA, read my post and comment all you want. I will not take it against you. Promise!

Then again, you may not want to go back and forth from one blog to another. You're Internet connection may be slower than snail mail. So, I'll just summarize the whole issues as briefly as I can.

A 15 year old reader wrote Butch Dalisay asking why she could not find, locate and buy any Young Adult novel in the bookstores today written by Filipino writers. Butch Dalisay, the Filipino Literary giant that he is, replied as best as he could. But Carla Pacis who writes for children and young adults gave better answers as one who writes for her audience. So if you want to know the "nitty-gritty" of it all, go to the links I cited earlier.

Now, as a school librarian, I am deeply concerned about the clamor and lament of this young 15 year old reader. Call me over-acting (OA), but there are valid reasons why.

First Reaction. Why would the teenager reader go to a bookstore and not in her school library or public library to find and locate books to read for RECREATION? Yes, bookstores are more accessible than the school library or public library, but aren't libraries supposed to provide books and reading materials both for education and entertainment. Libraries are too identified with research, academic endeavors and scholarly undertakings. Nothing wrong there. Then again, learning can be fun. Libraries are capable to do that, to give the "fun factor" to its clients particularly to children and teenagers. Unfortunately, this is not made manifest in Philippine school and public libraries. Why? I think I've written bits and pieces about it in my previous posts.

Second Reaction. Like what Carla Pacis told Butch Dalisay, there is a group of Pinoy writers producing literature for Pinoy children and teenagers. KUTING is trying its best to finally realize the publication of BAGETS, an anthology of short stories for teenagers and adolescents that discuss their issues, their whims and their awesome and painful stage of life.

Third Reaction. Pinoy children and teenagers must be exposed to the values, beliefs and heritage of their culture through the literature that they read, either crap or Palanca best. Our Filipiniana collection for children and teenagers is very limited. How then can they appreciate their identity (both self and national) if they could not taste a flavor of Pinoy literature? You might be raising an eyebrow, thinking that our kids are growing in a global world so why let them read Filipiniana? Sweetheart, before they can contribute and compete in the global arena, they must know who they are and what they are made of. They must bring in something unique and different from themselves or they'll be like everyone else.

Pinoy writers of kid's lit these days maybe beating their chest, pulling their hair and gnashing their teeth to get published for their intended audience. Publishers of kid's lit maybe in their discerning moods, praying to God which among the many manuscripts they have in their hands are worth of publication. Teachers maybe forever on the lookout for books as required readings in his/her literature class. This could be the present scenario that make me to ask, what about school librarians?

What are we doing to help promote readership of Filipiniana for children and young adults? Are we too concerned with technical task and clerical tasks in the library that we lose sight of the needs of our readers? Are we too hooked on IT magic and how it can lighten our technical and clerical jobs that we could not translate its magic to better readers' services? Are we concerned to provide reading materials to our child readers? How do you see yourself, as a school librarian in the development of literacy and the appreciation of one's culture? Are the technical and clerical work we do just an end to itself or a means to an end?

What is the end? I'd appreciate a comment or two.


*Young Adult

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