Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Learning Extended

Many still perceive the library merely as a warehouse of books, equipment and resources. Such perception impedes the potential of libraries as viable venues of learning. The books, resources, equipment and facilities it holds are sources of ideas and information. It is in the hands of a dynamic library staff where the creation of new ideas and the constructs of new knowledge are made possible. Through programs and services geared towards the full utility of these resources by students and teachers, school libraries are centers that build a learning community.

Interestingly, “learning community” does not only refer to the intellect. It also pertains to the active involvement of students, teachers and members of the school population in helping the school library grow and develop. In the past quarter, the GS LRC is a living witness to this kind of support extended by people from the Xavier community.

ART SERVICE CLUB. Mr. Jonah Valenzuela of the GS MAC rounded up his boys for a collaborative project with LRC Service Club members and its moderator, Mrs. Chit Olivares. Together, they facilitated a poster-making activity that promoted books and reading; use of one’s talent and skill in drawing; and the ability to work cooperatively with another. The students’ output, colorful posters for the primary students to see, provide visual stimulus to encourage continued use of the library.

Aside from the posters, members of the Art Service Club made book covers for the ones that are worn out. Move over, Silvertongue. There are new “book doctors” in town. Through this activity, the students’ talents and skills were put into good use. Good books that needed repair and covering were salvaged from the weeding box. These were given new covers, simple drawings on oslo paper but most are neatly and colorfully done. Such an activity puts value on books as important technological tools for learning. Likewise, it fosters a sense of community and a willingness to be of service.

BOOK DONATION. Are you familiar with the saying, “Too many books, so little time (to read)?” For Scott Lee-Chua of Gr. 2 A-St. Sebastian, he has all the time to read good books. When he is done reading them or has outgrown them, he donates them to a library.

His mom, Queena, does the sorting of books for donations. When Scott learned that ICA and Ateneo were the regular recipients of their donations, he asked his mom, “Why not my school, Xavier School?” Out of the 416 volumes, around 300 were added to the GS LRC’s growing collection. The rest were given to the Jesuit Mission since they are supporting libraries in the provinces.

Inspired by parents who also read, Scott’s donations reflect a varied and diverse reading interest. Reading has taken Scott into many lands and places. He has been to different worlds, real and imagined. He hopes that others can derive the same delightful experience that reading has afforded him. By donating books, this young reading advocate has taken the first step towards that dream.

GUEST ALUMNUS. Last Thursday, December 7, 2006, grade school students who frequent the GS LRC at lunchtime were treated to an engaging visit from an alumnus. Mr. Joel Chua (’95), comic book creator, illustrator and graphic designer, regaled Xaverians with his artistic adventures.

He presented the process involved in book illustration; shared how computers help him design and illustrate books and graphic novels; showed his work and current portfolio; and drew on the spot caricatures. His audience was filled with wonder. But what really impressed his young and eager audience was his old grade school HSCN filled with drawings and sketches – an early attempt at honing his craft. This memento from his past was enough inspiration for those who dream of becoming an artist someday. As for the ones who were merely interested to meet an artist and illustrator that day, Mr. Chua became a role model to them. His focus, determination and knowledge of one’s self are defining qualities to be excellent and successful in a chosen craft or trade. In Xavier School lingo, it is called magis.

Mr. Chua was grateful for the opportunity to go back and give back a little something to Xavier School. If given another chance, he is open to the possibility to teach digital drawing to students. Visit his website at

Students helping and reaching out. A young reader who shared with others his enthusiasm for books and reading. A visiting alumnus living out the spirit of magis. These are but a few of the many ways the school library can enrich and enhance the academic and formation programs of the school. No more of the warehouse and student services mentality for libraries. The GS LRC is an extension of the classroom.

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