Look at these photos:
This is the new school library of the Laguna Sino-Filipino Educational Foundation. The school library was set up by Ms. Yasmin Ong, Language Teacher and the designated Library Coordinator. She is not a librarian. But, she loves books and she is an avid reader. Yes, my dear librarian friends, we are not the only ones who can set up and organize libraries.
Nope. This is not an April Fools' Day joke.
When Ms. Ong was introduced to me via Facebok by a common friend, she and I started a three month long conversation on setting up and organizing a school library. This all happened in Facebook! Last March, she sent me these pictures of the library. How lovely!
Our initial "convo" was about the Dewey Decimal Classification. We librarians learned the DDC in university for one semester. So what I did was to explain the concepts of library organization to Ms. Ong in the most practical and simplest of ways. Uniformity, Accuracy and Reliability are key concepts "to live by" when organizing a library collection. The rest, procedures and structures, will follow. I also recommended her some reading materials like the IFLA-UNESCO Manifesto and School Library guidelines. Since Ms. Ong is a teacher, I encouraged her to work with her students when dividing and organizing the books by genre: FICTION and NON-FICTION. It is in fact ideal if students can be given a role in helping set up a system of organization since they are the immediate beneficiaries of the library. Teachers can take part too, as they are involved in teaching and learning. The library is a place where learning and teaching are nurtured and developed. Much of library development is anchored to its community's context and culture.
For librarians who are helping teachers, community developers and people in Non-government organizations set up libraries, remember to begin with the knowledge of the community and their experience of libraries. We are creating learning spaces and avenues of thinking. The books and formats of information we organize must be contextualized to a philosophy and a culture. That culture and philosophy is in part found in the community to which the library belongs to.
This is going to be a running post so do watch out for more tips on library set up and helping library advocates organize reading centers and libraries.