Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The 2015 NBW Blog Event: Filipino Librarians and Their Reading Habits

Photo source: PLAI and the NLP
The 2015 National Book Week Blog Event begins this week. We are starting off with the topic on:
Filipino Librarians and Their Reading Habits

Do Filipino Librarians read? If yes, what are they reading? If not, why? Why are they reading? What is their preferred reading format? Whom do they speak with about books they have read? Where do Filipino Librarians get their books?
Our guest blogger for today is Ma. Christine S. Hernandez.  Known as Jing to her family and friends, she is a librarian detailed at the College of Mass Communication Library, University of the Philippines Diliman. She loves to travel, to take a stroll in the beach and to go on a hike with her chums. She likes to grab some coffee shots partnered with a cookie or muffin

She writes about Filipino Librarians and the books they read. She conducted a survey among librarian friends in her learning community. She shares what she found out about them and their reading habits. Librarians read, of course! But... read on and find out for yourself!
 
Have you ever wondered what librarians do between coffee breaks and when they are at home? According to popular belief, librarians are the well-read people who are compensated to read. In the Philippines I wonder if this is true. So out of curiosity, I formulated a survey asking librarian friends questions about their reading habits. Luckily some of them responded and through a guided format, I was able to get answers. You would be amazed how witty and interesting their responses are.


As to my first question, all of them agreed that they read. Yes, Filipino librarians despite a tight schedule still find time to read. They listed down the materials or resources they are reading. They read the Bible, newspapers/featured articles, textbooks, novels, scholarly books, self-help/inspirational books, magazines, trivia books, scholarly journals, reference books, blogs (for librarians are techie nowadays), comics and even manga. That’s quite a list! Some of them prefer books on a given topic or interests like books about Philippine history, romance, librarianship (ahem!), archives, biographies/autobiographies, technology, food, health, gardening, philosophy and the opposite sex (because we are humans too).


In reference to what they’re reading, they cited reasons for reading. Most of the respondents read for entertainment and leisure. One librarian imaginatively expressed that it’s her way of escaping from this world. I now wonder what happened to the world, for others, reading is a stress reliever. Reading keeps them sane. Some librarians read out of curiosity on a given interest or topic. Some use it as a guide and find it as one of their favorite hobby. And due to the fast-paced world, librarians want to keep abreast of the new trends (be it in their profession or not), to increase their knowledge (both in librarianship and other fields), and be able to learn new things that they may apply in daily living.


Jing Hernandez sitting on a C at the College of MC, UP Diliman
I asked them as well as to the formats they prefer and itemized some of the formats. On the survey, majority prefer both formats. For clarity, 20 librarians prefer both formats, 4 prefer printed ones  and 4 on non-prints. But to top it all, almost all of them were well-versed to print and non-print formats.


In the survey, they were also asked if they speak about books they have read to someone who has read it as well. Majority shares it with friends, next to their colleagues, followed by members of their family, to library clientele/patron, then business partners and in online  forums. In some case, some respondents don’t speak about it to anyone. Some of the reasons why they share it to others is, first, they find someone they can relate it to. Another reason is that, the other party would benefit from it too. Based on experience, we Filipinos love to tell the gist of interesting stuff we read about.


For the final question, I asked them as to where they get the books they are reading or have read. Most of the librarians got it online. Then some of them read books from libraries where they work. Some are from bookstores bought  especially when it’s on sale! Others are from friends, given as gifts and lent by few good ones. They also get the books they read from book fairs and colleagues.


If there is one gift God bestowed upon humans, it is the ability to read. Not just the ability itself but also to construe and construct from what has been read. In an era where instant is the new frontier, Filipino librarians find ways to keep abreast on the trends of the profession and the world in general. Behind the office desk. While we lend out books for clients or answer their queries, between our wee breaks and packed lunches, on our way to home or on meeting a friend, we Filipino librarians read and think about what to read. And when we’re in our haven, we snuggle and let our imagination lead.

Yes, Filipino librarians read. In the age of ASEAN integration, reading is a tradition that is for keeps.

3 comments:

Candy Gourlay said...

Lovely piece. Happy reading, librarians!

Ma. Christine Hernandez said...

Thanks Ms. Candy! :D

Zarah C. Gagatiga said...

Thanks Candy. It is a series of posts and each blog article is written by a Filipino Librarian. One blog post is by a couple, Igor and Iyra, both librarians from UP Diliman :-) visit the blog again and read up. There are interesting thoughts and ideas on books, reading and the issue on globalization from our librarians here in the country.

Hope to see you soon!

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