Thursday, June 11, 2015

Afterthoughts on the ASEAN School Library Workshop and Meeting Dr. Maria

My trip to Bangkok is a brief one but just as memorable as the first two. Being with the ASEAN delegates and listening to their country reports made me realize how culturally diverse we all are but then, we share the same problems and challenges as far as school library development is concerned. What has changed since 2003 and then 2012?  ASEAN school librarians are now more aware of the need to advocate school library development. The impetus to create action plans that cover local, national, regional and international scope is more palpable now than in the last three, twelve years. The changes and challenges in economics, technology, educational reform and family dynamics all lend to a strengthening of human support systems. The school library is a support system of human development.

Apart from these insights and reflections, I met Dr. Maria Laosunthara after twelve years. She is a retired Filipina professor at the College of Education in Srinakharinwirot University. I remember her well because she was the reason that the Philippine delegate of 2003 to Bangkok was able to watch the puppet show about Rama and Sita. This is a memory that I will tell my grand children.

This reunion was a sweet one as Dr. Maria was very much surprised by our visit.

I was surprised myself since I only learned yesterday that Dr. Maria was the first to teach children's literature in the university. She was also responsible for setting up the library's first children's literature collection. For her exemplary services and innovation, the Central Library created The Maria Room, where books for children and reading services for children are provided for. Dr. Maria maintains her ties with family and friends in Antique by helping a public library there. She is 90 years old, has a very good command of English, and has a light in her eyes that bespeak of the wonders of childhood.

My question is this: Can someone tell me, please, if there is an academic or university library that has a collection of Philippine Children's and Young Adult Literature? And I do not mean a room of books only, but one that runs programs for children's and teens' reading needs?

Comment on the post or send me a PM if you have answers to my question.

1 comment:

Robert Egeter van Kuyk said...

Dr. Maria Laosunthara's passing away is also a moment of remembrance for all those who have worked in, or profited from, the UNESCO libraries system. Even though today, regional UNESCO offices may have no longer a physical library, in the days that those were still considered a necessity, Dr. Maria has been instrumental in developing the system in S.E. Asia, from Bangkok/UNESCO. Her priority was to spread information, not to hoard it. Thus, regular bulletins of selected articles were regularly distributed throughout the S.E. Asian region. Before the days of internet, this service was of great importance to educational development centres. As Dr. Maria's de facto successor as Head, UNESCO Library for S.E. Asia & Pacific, I have often observed with how much respect and gratitude Dr. Maria was considered in many small educational organisations. This is one more important aspect of her legacy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...