There is this comment in Filipino Librarian that I will dissect. You may find it petty, and some may argue that it is the person's opinion so better leave it. Sorry, but I can't just leave it. Take this as an "intellectual" discourse -something that we all can think and ponder.
But before I do that, I suggest you go and read Filipino Librarian's post where the comment was made. That way, you have a working schema and an understanding to where I'm coming from. Just click the bold FILIPINO LIBRARIAN in the first paragraph and you're there.
Here is the comment-
depends. it's individual for everyone. sometimes you just gotta own your own copy of a book. sometimes it's best to just borrow. what's with the inferiority comples w/librarians these days anyway? a substantial amount of them always seem to be saying "what about us! look at us! helloooo!!" books are good, music is good, information is good. so potentially are the places that serve them: stores, internet, libraries, and informal places. who cares. each has it's own pros and cons.
First dissection - sometimes you just gotta own your own copy of a book. sometimes it's best to just borrow.
Yes. Agree. I do have my own collection of books though I'm working in a school library. I'm proud at my school library's collection, print, AV and online, however, it is a school. I have my own reading needs and interests to fill and satisfy that my school's library could not. Isabel Allende and Niel Gaiman are treasures to have, but how many "children" will read them? There are teachers who may borrow fiction also, but their professional needs come first in the school. Instead of buying a book about teaching strategies that cost Php 1,500, they can borrow a variety of books on the same topic in the school library.
There are different kinds of libraries catering to particular and special needs of clients. Libraries also cater to a specific reading public. Bookstores do not. Libraries offer alternative titles and more options for its clients. Bookstores offer what they have in the shelves.
One time, I was looking for Dean Alfar's Siglo (you must have figured that he's one of my favorite Pinoy writers for I always mention him in my blogs, but really, his wife Nikkiwrites better)and it turns out that the poor boostore ran out of copies. The poor saleslady could not give me an alternative, where as, a librarian who has a content and product knowledge of the library's collection can lead me to other titles of graphic novels or the speculative fiction genre.
Second dissection - what's with the inferiority complex w/librarians these days anyway? a substantial amount of them always seem to be saying "what about us! look at us! helloooo!!"
Current research shows that high degrees of student achievement is attributed to succesful library programs. Librarians are needed to run these programs. Librarians can teach and faciliatte learning. Libraries are learning laboratories. Are bookstores venues for learning? Are sales people in the bookstores have the educational preparation to facilitate learning?
Bookstores help libraries and libraries help bookstores. But in the case of the Pinoy reading and learning experiences, bookstores supercede libraries as learning avenues. If one needs a book, one goes to the bookstore. Now I don't blame people who do go to bookstores because, public libraries are lacking in the Philippines. That's reason enough why librarians must make a loud noise on the importance of libraries.
If you hear or encounter a librarian lamenting ""what about us! look at us! helloooo!!", be glad that you meet that kind. That librarian does not have an INFERIORITY COMPLEX. That librarian has a clear understanding of his/her role in the individual lives of people and in society at large.
Third dissection - books are good, music is good, information is good. so potentially are the places that serve them: stores, internet, libraries, and informal places.
With this last part of the comment, let me address my fellow librarians who are reading this post. If a person exist with this kind of "perception" about information, it's retrieval, location and access, it implicates that as a professional group, we have to strive harder. We must impact the lives of people we meet, interact and serve. And as we push further to the digital age, the challenge to do so is greater.
Back to Filipino Librarian's question. Are bookstores better than libraries? My answer is a resounding NO.
What if we turn the question over. Are libraries better than bookstores?
Do librarians always have to be on the defensive end all the time? Librarian or not, I want to hear you say your piece. Go on. I won't bite.