Saturday, March 24, 2012
Filipino School Librarian: Jude Gorospe
Mr. Gorospe is a dog lover. He has two labradors, one golden retriever and one shih tzu.
What made you decide to become a librarian?
I am a late bloomer. I started working as a librarian only in 2008. I was a teacher for 17 years before shifting to the library field. My love for this work is like a whirlwind romance.
It started with getting burned out of teaching. I wanted to explore new challenges in school work. That’s when I thought of attending grad school in UP-SLIS in 2006. I immediately fell in love with my studies (must have probably caught the love bug from my professors then), could not stop myself from thinking, reflecting and reading about librarianship, especially school librarianship, until I passed the LLE (Librarians' Licensure Exam) in 2008. And, it did not stop there. Like a person in love, I always get excited and in awe every time I discover new and better ways of improving and innovating our LMC (Library Media Center) services and programs.
Describe your typical day in Miriam HS Lib. What is the greatest challenge of the job yet?
I might bore you to death. May I just share a thought that I have started to believe about school libraries: If you would like to check the quality of teaching and learning going on in the classroom, one good measure is to check their collections and programs in the library. It is most often a reflection of how updated, deep and vast the information is being shared among the teachers and students. And that has always been the challenge I place upon myself — to make sure that relevant, up-to-date, and exhaustive array of information is available for all our students, teachers, librarians, guidance counselors and administrators’ academic exchange.
As current president of PASLI, what direction is the org taking to uplift school librarianship in the country?
PASLI is envisioning to help establish a robust school library structure in the country through establishing network of people and resources, through empowering school librarians in our role as information specialists guiding our students toward effective use of information and technology for acquiring information and creating knowledge, through upgrading ourselves with skills and tools to effectively collaborate with subject teachers in curriculum development, its implementation and evaluation and through leveling the path for partnership with school administrators to stir more enthusiasm and interest for funding and better management of library resources and support programs.
What is the pressing issue of Philippine school libraries today and how are individual school librarians and orgs like PASLI responding to these issues?
In my few years of service in the field of school librarianship, I have discovered a lot of pressing issues, actually. There is the seemingly unstoppable practice of assigning unqualified personnel (like subject teachers) to manage the school library, ill-equipped to handle and develop LMC programs and unprepared to deliver effective library services to their patrons -- students and teachers. Related to that is the misconception that the school library is a warehouse of books where librarians just sit all day and oversee their circulation to borrowers. Still related to it is the issue of assigning not enough number of librarians to deliver all library programs and information services to their clientele.
More often than not, in our Philippine school context, only one librarian is assigned to respond to at least 500 info and research needs of students, collaborate with around 100 teachers, process acquisitions, catalog materials, oversee circulation, do indexing of journal articles, develop the vertical file and oversee its usage, maintain computers, conceptualize and execute book promotion activities, and a lot more. But nothing is more disheartening to see than school librarians resigning themselves into this structure, consequently delivering mediocre library services.
I think PASLI and other school librarianship organizations have a lot to give in terms of helping the schools rediscover the valuable position of school librarians, their skills and programs in curriculum development and education of the young. Researches have continuously revealed that academic achievement of students and quality library services are necessary partners. Once this is achieved, everything else that we, school librarians, list down in our desiderata will have greater chances to come true. And, this is where I am leading PASLI to go.
Last, what is your top ten favorite book?
For fiction, you might be surprised I am a fan of gothic writings of Anne Rice. Her narratives of vampires and witches’ stories, humanizing them in her tales, mesmerize me. Her alternative views on life and faith as revealed through her characters keep me in deep thought.
For non-fiction, I always keep a copy of “Living, loving and learning” by Leo Buscaglia. It always serves handy whenever a student needs a good read for bibliotherapy. I love that book because it never fails to inspire and touch the hearts of people, particularly the young teens that I serve.