Thursday, January 26, 2006

Graphic Novels in the Library

Wonder where I've been the past few days? I've been really busy with work, particularly, our graphics novel launching this month. Here is a picture of the first session. We invited an alumnus, Atty. Andrew Fornier ('96) and Elber Or from Nautilus Comics to talk to our boys about comics, what else?


Will blog more about the event and what we hope to do the following days with our graphic novels in the school library.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Children Reading Folktales

I was asked. So I gave some answers.

At what grade level are folktales being read and studied?

Folktales can be appreciated by readers of all ages. The truth about leveling and recommending reading materials for children to read and study is for purposes of order and organization. This is more for the use of adults working with children. Children have varying needs and interests. It is true that children go through stages of learning and development, but to offer and provide them with reading and learning materials only for their level is unfair. They do not deserve to be boxed or pegged in a hole. As a children's librarian, I believe that reading and learning children must be given options and choices.

As for the readership of folktales among children, it depends on the treatment of theme or subject matter and how the folktale was rewritten, adapted or originally done. Augie Rivera is the first to achieve writing an original folktale (correct me if I'm wrong).

His Alamat ng Ampalaya is an original. He conceptualized the whole story. He researched legends and folktales on the ampalaya and found none that was written on the sour veggie. Then again, since folktales are oral in roots and tradition, who am I, or who are we to claim of its originality. What matters is the rendering of the story. Is it fresh or clichéd? Stereotyped or evolutionary?

Using Ampalaya as an example, notice that the story is simply narrated and uses a sequential plot that young children can easily follow. The exposition begins with a community of veggies all happy and living in harmony. Then comes ampalaya, sprouting from somewhere one day but it was not explained why and how. No need to justify its sudden existence. Now ampalaya is entirely the opposite of all the nice, pleasant, fun loving and good-natured veggies. All of ampalaya's malice and envy led to his being the bitter fruit we all hate or love to eat. It was a result of his intent, a consequence of his actions that made him all bitter and shriveled.

Alamat ng Ampalaya is one folktale I always use as an example for preschool teachers and early primary grade teachers as a good read aloud story to share in class because of its simple rendition of a story - beginning, middle and end - its honesty, its drama, and its very Filipino flavor.

What subjects are 'taboo' in the elementary years? (death? broken families? sexuality?)

Again, only the adults think of taboo subjects. Children may appear to be vulnerable and incapable of facing such realities, but it is too often that adults are the ones afraid to expose them to such realities. I sometimes wonder if Tscriptwriterrs, MTV show producersmoviemakersrs, advertisers ever think of these taboo subjects that children may see and witness. I think that with reading, taboo subjects need not be avoided. Taboo subjects are part and parcel of life. Children, as they grow up will eventually experience death, loss, sexual awakening, separation, stress, bullying and all the stuff that Pandora unleashed.

Children's writers of fiction or non-fiction can at least respect the child reader. The book or story maybe about divorce or bullying but if it was written in a fashion that empowers the child to overcome his or her own inner obstacles, how can it be considered taboo? Or is the story written to help the child cope and enable him or her to become a better person? Are there events or instances in the story that empowers and enables the child reader? What insights, reflections and thought process can a child reader derive from the story?

For us in the business of teaching, writing and working for and with children, we still have a lot of inhibitions, concerns and issues to thresh out when it comes to taboo subjects and children's story writing. Regarding folktales, however, a reader must understand this genre of literature. Children MUST be instructed or taught of the different genres of literature - humor, horror, fantasy, romance, sci-fi, folk literature, realistic fiction, etc - to fully appreciate reading it. If this is impossible, at least, a frequent and repetitive exposure to such will help. Research on user needs analysis among children show that when they know and understand the genre of literature that they are reading, it results to better comprehension and better choices of reading materails.

Check out these titles of books and stories for children that deal on (taboo) issues - Papa's House, Mama's House on separation; Denie (Judy Blume) on masturbation; Forever (Judy Blume again) on sex and contraceptives; Sandosenang Sapatos (Luis Gatmaitan) on handicapped; Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel (Gatmaitan) on lukemia; Xilef(Rivera) on dyslexia; Federico (Evasco) on down syndrome; War Makes Me Sad (Ordinario) on Muslim and Christian relations - oh, I could go on. For a betetr bibliography, I will post the list in my library blog about Filipiniana and foreign books for children that discuss issues and problems.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Read and Bloom

o_bloom poster
Originally uploaded by sumatra_woman.
Would you put this up in your library?

I work in a boys' school, so I'll just hang it up in my office wall. That's a Tolkien journal he's hugging!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Blogs as Visual Aids

I do not have a flash drive. I ran out of CDR's. I refuse to use a floppy 3 1/2 diskette. OHP transparencies are so out of fashion to use as visual aid in my LIS class. But, I have a blog.

My posts for January 13 and 14 are all about User Centered Information Design - my report in my grad school course LIS 267 - and I will use my blog to present my topic. Since we have computer and Internet access in the institute, I'm confident to show my blog to my classmates.

Here are links to my report -

Report Outline

User Centered ISD : Background

User Centered ISD As Process

Models of Information Needs

See how I utilize it as a visual aid. Isn't blogging wonderful?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Models of Information Needs


User Centered ISD as Process

User Centered ISD as Process (Bryce, 1996)

Step 1 – Identify a user group or population

Step 2 – Investigate the information needs of the user population (Needs Analysis)

Step 3 – Discover the task that users accomplish as they meet these information needs (Task Analysis)

Step 4 – Investigate the resource that users require to complete these task (Resource Analysis)

Step 5 – Summarize the preceding steps in user models (User Models)

Step 6 – Design augmentation and enabling (Usability - Design and Testing)

User Centered ISD : A Background

The user centered design to information systems begun from the availability of search technology for ‘novice’ end users. They outnumbered the experts.
-- Nahl (2005)

Information systems are communication systems.
-- Bryce (1996)

It is a *philosophy and a **process.
-- Katz-Haas (1998)

*the person or user of information is the core of the design

**focus on behavior and cognitive functions as user interacts w/ a system.

There is a 3rd P - ***purpose

***goals, objectives, needs and tasks of users.

User centered ISD looks into users' needs, tasks, goals and fucntions so that the information systems to be developed and designed are useful and usable.

Friday, January 13, 2006

User Centered Information System Design

I will be reporting on User Centered Information Systems Design on Saturday. To start with, I have the following objectives and presentation plans.

LIS 267- Class Reporting / January 14, 2006

Topic: User Centered Information System Design

Coverage: This report looks into the user centered approach as a paradigm for designing information systems. It focuses on the background of User Centered Information System Design (ISD); the components that make up a User Centered ISD and the relationship of these components in a User Centered ISD. This will be followed by the different information needs of users namely, the cognitive model, the social model and the organizational model, and how these affect the interaction of users to an information system. The remaining topics on design directions, and implications of expressed information needs on information systems will be taken up afterwards.

1. To be cognizant of the User Centered approach to information systems design;
2. To develop an awareness of the components that make up a User Centered ISD;
3. To understand the models of information needs, its relevance and how these models affect a user’s interaction with an information system.

Report Outline
I. Part 1 – User Centered Information System Design
A. Background
1. Nahl (2005)
2. Katz-Haas (1998)
3. Bryce (1996)
B. Components of a User Centered ISD
1. Needs Analysis
2. Task Analysis
3. Resource Analysis
4. User Models
5. Design for Usability (includes testing for usability)
C. User Centered Design : A Process

 Break / Activity (?) 

II. Part 2 – Models of Information Needs of Users
A. Individual and Social Variables
B. The Cognitive Model
C. The Social Model
D. The Organizational Model

Allen, Bryce. Information tasks : toward a user-centered approach to information
systems. US : Lightning Source, 1996
The New Paradigm Establishes Itself
User Centered Design

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blogs as Resource Tools

Since I have begun going back to garduate school this semester, I have set up another blog for my LIS 261 class under Dean Faderon of the Institute of Library and Information Science, in UP Diliman. This blog is my online learning portfolio, one of the many requirements of the course.

I keep notes and write my daily reflections in a notebook, but blogs fascinate me so much. For one thing, I know I have information to share and I want it available online for easy access. Blogger has not dissappointed me yet. Second, I depend so much on the Internet these days that I keep my links for the course in that blog. And lastly, I am experimenting on the potential of blogging as a personal resource tool.

I have always thought that this medium, a blog, is a means to communicate. I still have to see how far it will get me in organizing my web resources. The XS GS LRC blog that I created last year is a collaborative blog for the purpose of current awareness services (CAS) and specific dissemination of information (SDI). It has not taken flight yet. There are factors that impede its latency. In general, technology is not just about gadgets. The human component plays a great part on its success or failure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Book Launching : A Social Event for School Librarians

School librarians need not confine themselves in the four corners of the school library. Seize the opportunity to go out, meet different people from different disciplines and socialize because it is a learning experience in itself. Chances are, you'll get to meet people who can help you in your work. Your sphere of network widens as well as your perspective of the world.

Aside from attendance to seminars, workshops and professional fellowships, a book launch is also an event for learning and socialization.

Last night, in the Tahanana Book Launching, I met Isabel Kenny. She is a writer, producer and lecturer at the Ateneo De Manila University. Come February, she will conduct a workshop on script writing. I gave her my contact numbers since we have people in the library who are into production and it is a big help if they attend workshops. Teachers in my school are also doing video productions as instructional materials. They may also be interested to further their skills in script writing. Our high school students produce short videos as requirements for their Media Ed and Computer class. They may want to meet an expert in content development, like a script writer.

Through linkage the school library can help its clients, both primary (students) and secondary (teachers)clients. The school library can inform the community of such events, thus, contributing to the teaching and learning process.

Also, Isabel has several projects on visual literacy. If she is around by September of 2006, we'll invite her as speaker for International Literacy Week.

Put aside the networking possibilities I pointed out, book launchings are places where school librarians can get good discounts and touch base with publishers and writers. By engaging in conversations, the school librarian can feedback reading habits, behaviors and interests of child readers as well as the current state of the school's curricula. And believe me, writers and publishers crave the information we have in our possession.

Writers write the book. Illustrators draw. The publishers put it all together. School librarians promote the book and the reading culture.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Book Launch : Barefoot In Fire

Tahanan Books sent the invite for the launching of Ms. Barbara Gamboa-Lewis's book for young adults, Barefoot in Fire : A World War II Childhood.


This is Tahanan's second launching of a historical fiction novel for young adult (13 - 24) readers since November 2005.

I missed attending the first one so I will go this time around. I rarely meet (my own kind) school librarians in book launchings. Either they were not invited or they do not go to book launchings at all. I'll enumerate the advantages on my next post, unless, I finish the article on the Systems Development Cycle vis-avis library automation first.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Child Friendly Integrated Systems

This morning, in my MA class, I pointed out the scarcity of Integrated Systems that are designed for children's use. Let me rephrase that. I am actually in search of an Integrated System that is child friendly - one that children can actually use independently. This ellicited some response from the class that got me thinking until after we're dismissed.

One of my classmates pointed out that an Integrated System (IS) is made up of several modules (as if I do know) and that, if there is one module that children are concerned with using, it is the OPAC. It is therefore important that children are instructed on how to use it. This well meaning classmate of mine went into explaining the need for library orientation and library skills instruction. All good points. Clap, clap, clap.

If you are a school librarian, however, the librray services you provide and the programs you manage must be centered on children's needs, learning behavior, reading habits and interests. The services and programs that you offer the child-client must meet their developmental and curricular needs. This is what children's library service is all about. How can a school librarian teach the use of OPAC to kids when the librarian used a very academic approach (vocabulary control, included) in cataloging? One IS may be very good, but its interface is not child friendly. There can be an IS running on a sophisticated platform, but its infrastructure and design may not be suitable for young learners.

If such is the case, only the library staff benefit from available and commercial IS used by most Philippine school libraries. Now this is just my hypothesis. It would be interesting to do a research and find out how child friendly the IS that automated school libraries subscribe to. The Internet is another Frankenstien to contend with. My answer to that is Information Literacy Skills Instruction.

As for library instruction, it does not end with library orientation. It is best integrated with a content area as children go up the grades. They learn skills and concepts in the different subjects and they apply these learning outside the four walls of the classroom. The library is one place where they can extend their learning, aside from the fact that in using libraries, they make their own choices, construct their own meanings and make sense of their knowledge through the resources, print, AV and online, available in the library. The library is where students can become lifelong learners (ha! I got it right this time Anansi Girl!)and independent seekers of information.

Library instruction or Information Literacy Skills instruction begins as early as Nursery and carried on until high school. By college, they are ready for life.

Now, some of what I postulated are happening and are possible. Most are not. My concerns are valid (as attested by my professor), but I think, it is about time to develop readings and literature on children's library services in the Philippines. For systems designers, I give you this challenge: design an Integrated Systems that children can use. Because you see, children are capable of learning on their own.

Friday, January 6, 2006

In Honor of Larry Alcala

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2006 PBBY Alcala Prize. The contest is co-sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and The National Library. The winner will be given a cash prize of P25,000.00, a gold medal, and an opportunity to be published with the help of the PBBY. Prizes will be awarded in an appropriate ceremony to be held during the celebration of National Children's Book Day on July 18, 2006.

Contest Rules:

1. The contest is open to all Filipino citizens except those who are related to any PBBY members up to the third degree of consanguinity.

2. Entries must be based on any of the three winning stories: Can You See (What Buboy Sees)? by Marielle Nadal; Tonyong Turo by J. Dennis Teodosio; and, Rosario and the Stories by Ian Rosales Casocot. Copies of the story may be requested from the PBBY Secretariat.

3. All entries must be original unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest.

4. All entries must consist of three (3) illustrations that are of the same size and medium.

5. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.

6. Each entry must be signed by a pen name only, preferably on a small piece of paper pasted on the back of each artwork. Entries with a signature or any identifying marks are automatically disqualified.

7. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a separate envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant shall appear. The envelope must contain the contestant's full name, address, contact numbers, short description of background, and notarized certification vouching for the originality of the entry and for the freedom of the organizers from any liability arising from the infringement of copyright in case of publication.

8. All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, Room 201, JGS Bldg., 30 Scout Tuazon St., Quezon City by March 4, 2006.

9. Winners will be announced no later than March 25, 2006. Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than April 29, 2006, after which they will no longer be the responsibility of the organizers.

For more details, interested parties may contact the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, at Room 102, JGS Building, 30 Scout Tuazon St., Quezon City.

Telefax 372-3548, or email pbby(at)adarna(dot)com(dot)ph.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Legend of the Chinese Zodiac

There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac namely; Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Rooster, Horse, Monkey, Snake, Dog, Dragon, Goat and Pig. Legends abound on its origin and so one story goes that Buddha held a race for all the animals. The first twelve that reached the finish line were given a year each named after them in the Chinese Zodiac. Each year moves in cycles of natural elements like earth, wood, fire, water and metal. 2006 is year of the Fire Dog.

Now why isn't there any year of the Cat? Do cats portend bad luck particularly the black ones? Or they are too full of themselves that joining the race is beyond them?

Ed Young provides an interesting answer in his book The Cat and The Rat, as well as a viable reason why cats and rats hated each other so much. Because, you see, they were such good friends along time ago.


The book is a good read aloud for primary to upper primary levels (garde 1 - 3) and a perfect story to celebrate Chinese New Year. The illustrations lend a mysterious mood to the story, thus, holding the reader's or listener's interest.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Cool Change

How do you like my 3-column template? The design is courtesy of Caz. Her templates are easy to use and alter so if you want to check out other designs by her, go here.

I've been aching for a change in blog templates since November, but I thought that 2006 is a better time to do so. The links and content remain. I will, however, make changes soon as I've begun organizing and categorizing posts and entries of 2005. Next on my list of to do's for this blog would be a back up file or database.
commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The Reading Librarian

Do you read? For librarians, I believe it is a must. It is sad if you're an excellent cataloger and you could not even squeeze a wee bit time for some pleasurable and leisurely reading. Not to brag, but aside from the required reading in graduate school and the daily newspaper, I have read more books in 2005 than in
. Here is how I fared:

1. Meditations on Middle Earth edited by Karen Haber
2. Almost Married by Tara Ft Sering
3. Zorro by Isabel Allende
4. South of the Border East of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
5. The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis
6. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
7. How to be a writer (drat...I forgot the author! Sorry.)
8. Reconnaisance by Tara Ft Sering
9. Siglo: Freedom edited by Dean Francis Alfar
10. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
11. Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke
12. Forever by Judy Blume
13. HP 6 by JK Rowling
14. Eleven Minutes by Paolo Coelho
15. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
16. City of the Beast by Isabel Allende
17. Ngalang Pinoy by Neni SR Cruz
18. Elias and His Trees by Augie Rivera
19. Siglo Passion edited by Dean Alfar
20. Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 edited by Dean Alfar
21. Ten Poems to Open your Heart by Roger Housden
22. 12 Little Things by Alexander Lacson
23. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susana Clark
24. The Leadership Secrets of Jesus by Mike Murdock
25. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

I won't be making a reading list for 2006, but I hope to double the number of books read. Desperaux, Dragon Rider, The Pendragon Chronicles and The Hobbit are still in my waiting list. Cheers to another year of reading pleasure!

Monday, January 2, 2006

Best of SLIA 2005 : Posts & Entries

I've categorized the posts and entries I wrote last year in five divisions. These are Philippine Librarianship, Technology and IT Integration, Reading & Literacy Advocay, Events & Book Reviews and Information Literacy. The entries very well describe the route that this blog has taken and what will its direction be in 2006. Honestly, I have not seriously thought about it yet. Although a redesign is in the works, I still have to evaluate my content.

Drop me a comment. I appreciate feedback.

Philippine School Librarianship
Proud to be Librarian
Orientation Thoughts
Helping Out
Schools of Thought
Shy Librarians
Why Libraries? Why Not
As a Children's and YA Librarian
Bags of Books
Librarians are Missing Ingredient

Technology and IT Integration
IT Integration
Tech BYtes
Teens & Tech
Online Newspapers
Website Evaluation Criteria
Basic or Beyond
Web Resources for Teachers & Parents

Reading & Literacy Advocacy
Time to Read
Author Visit Program
International Literacy Week
Graphic Novels
Going Graphic
Filipiniana for Children: The Special & Handicapped

Events and Book Reviews
NCBD 2005
Books I own and Love
26th Manila International Bookfair
Filipino Writer.Com
Zara's Zoo
Salanga 2006
Christmas Reading List
Para sa Pinoy na Mabook

Information Literacy
More Insights
Role of Librarian
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