Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gawad Kabataan Para sa Panitikan

Pinoy children will finally have their voices heard regarding the books they love to read. Read Or Die's Gawad Kabataan Para sa Panitikan website is up and running. The organizers are inviting schools, libraries, writers and publishers to join and support the initiative.

Below is a brief description of what it is all about. For more information, visit the website here.

About the Gawad Kabataan

The concept behind the awards is somewhat similar to the Red House Children's Book Awards. We will be networking with children's book groups all over the country, give them free or discounted copies of nominated books along with review sheets, and, based on reader response, come up with a list of favorite and recommended books, after which a final round of voting will determine overall winners. The readers themselves will therefore be choosing their writers and their books.

I'm really thrilled with this project and as KUTING president, I'm cooking up some strategies to have the organization involved in it. Though I can not help but think if school librarians would find this worth their time. I have emailed our English coordinator and I'm hoping it's one project where we can collaborate. Now this is petty, but take note that libraries are encouraged to get involved and not the librarians who run the programs and services for the libraries.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pinoy Readers Choice Award

Read or Die, a book club for the Reading Pinoy is host to the first Pinoy Readers Choice Award. Organizers have short listed best books for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Komiks. So they claim that a special category for Young Adult/Children's Literature will soon be given but, when?

Read more here .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Law of the Seeds

Gerald Brown of IASL shared this moving parable via email. I feel the compulsion to pass it on to my staff and colleagues.

Isn't it that we have so many wants and needs for the improvement of our library services and programs but we can't have them all? We are shaken by changes either internal or external that challenge our views of the profession. This parable is a perfect story to strengthen our resolve to face changes and challenges in the profession and in life, in general. Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Learning Extended

Many still perceive the library merely as a warehouse of books, equipment and resources. Such perception impedes the potential of libraries as viable venues of learning. The books, resources, equipment and facilities it holds are sources of ideas and information. It is in the hands of a dynamic library staff where the creation of new ideas and the constructs of new knowledge are made possible. Through programs and services geared towards the full utility of these resources by students and teachers, school libraries are centers that build a learning community.

Interestingly, “learning community” does not only refer to the intellect. It also pertains to the active involvement of students, teachers and members of the school population in helping the school library grow and develop. In the past quarter, the GS LRC is a living witness to this kind of support extended by people from the Xavier community.

ART SERVICE CLUB. Mr. Jonah Valenzuela of the GS MAC rounded up his boys for a collaborative project with LRC Service Club members and its moderator, Mrs. Chit Olivares. Together, they facilitated a poster-making activity that promoted books and reading; use of one’s talent and skill in drawing; and the ability to work cooperatively with another. The students’ output, colorful posters for the primary students to see, provide visual stimulus to encourage continued use of the library.

Aside from the posters, members of the Art Service Club made book covers for the ones that are worn out. Move over, Silvertongue. There are new “book doctors” in town. Through this activity, the students’ talents and skills were put into good use. Good books that needed repair and covering were salvaged from the weeding box. These were given new covers, simple drawings on oslo paper but most are neatly and colorfully done. Such an activity puts value on books as important technological tools for learning. Likewise, it fosters a sense of community and a willingness to be of service.

BOOK DONATION. Are you familiar with the saying, “Too many books, so little time (to read)?” For Scott Lee-Chua of Gr. 2 A-St. Sebastian, he has all the time to read good books. When he is done reading them or has outgrown them, he donates them to a library.

His mom, Queena, does the sorting of books for donations. When Scott learned that ICA and Ateneo were the regular recipients of their donations, he asked his mom, “Why not my school, Xavier School?” Out of the 416 volumes, around 300 were added to the GS LRC’s growing collection. The rest were given to the Jesuit Mission since they are supporting libraries in the provinces.

Inspired by parents who also read, Scott’s donations reflect a varied and diverse reading interest. Reading has taken Scott into many lands and places. He has been to different worlds, real and imagined. He hopes that others can derive the same delightful experience that reading has afforded him. By donating books, this young reading advocate has taken the first step towards that dream.

GUEST ALUMNUS. Last Thursday, December 7, 2006, grade school students who frequent the GS LRC at lunchtime were treated to an engaging visit from an alumnus. Mr. Joel Chua (’95), comic book creator, illustrator and graphic designer, regaled Xaverians with his artistic adventures.

He presented the process involved in book illustration; shared how computers help him design and illustrate books and graphic novels; showed his work and current portfolio; and drew on the spot caricatures. His audience was filled with wonder. But what really impressed his young and eager audience was his old grade school HSCN filled with drawings and sketches – an early attempt at honing his craft. This memento from his past was enough inspiration for those who dream of becoming an artist someday. As for the ones who were merely interested to meet an artist and illustrator that day, Mr. Chua became a role model to them. His focus, determination and knowledge of one’s self are defining qualities to be excellent and successful in a chosen craft or trade. In Xavier School lingo, it is called magis.

Mr. Chua was grateful for the opportunity to go back and give back a little something to Xavier School. If given another chance, he is open to the possibility to teach digital drawing to students. Visit his website at

Students helping and reaching out. A young reader who shared with others his enthusiasm for books and reading. A visiting alumnus living out the spirit of magis. These are but a few of the many ways the school library can enrich and enhance the academic and formation programs of the school. No more of the warehouse and student services mentality for libraries. The GS LRC is an extension of the classroom.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Opened Doors*

In the fairy tale, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, a magical door to a cavern filled with priceless treasures could be opened using a most interesting password: Open Sesame! Thus, the one who knows the password could easily have access to the cavern’s contents. This part of the fairy tale would always leave me in awe because the school library is very much like the cavern of treasures in the story. The doors of the school library, however, are always open for its main users, students and teachers, who are equipped with the knowledge and skill in using the learning resources that are available.

Learning resources refer to the combination of print, AV and electronic formats for teaching, instruction and leisurely activities. The GS LRC gears up with initiatives that balance the utility of these learning resources.

Storytelling Workshop. Last November 8, 2006, 35 parents trooped to the EED LRC for a fun filled workshop on Storytelling. These parents were all volunteers for the National Book Week celebration in the EED. Already an annual workshop, it had new offerings and techniques for the parents who attended. With their positive evaluation of the activity, more and more parents would be confident enough to tell stories. As one parent puts it, “…[I learned how to be] engaging so that kids would enjoy and like reading books.”

Mediashoppe & Techtorial. These two programs of the GS LRC have helped teachers identify instructional materials for the classroom. One very important service that the AV section of the GS LRC has been giving to Filipino & Social Studies teachers is the recording and dubbing of commercials for their media education lesson. Integrated in the Filipino and Social Studies curriculum, the commercials are used to teach concepts, and enhance critical thinking skills. The good news is, ads and commercials can now be accessed via the Internet. It is only a matter of time until procedures for using and embedding them in PowerPoint presentations could be identified to agree with the correct use of copyright and intellectual property.

Online Directory. Reference & IT Librarian, Mrs. Chit Olivares has come up with an online directory for teachers. Using a free hosting website,, it is now easier to track URLs of websites for teaching. It may sound like your ordinary Bookmark in a web browser but FURL lends help by referring users to other web resources available in its online database. It even has a filtering capability to prevent sites of malicious content. What’s more, building the directory of websites can be done in a communal effort. That is why the GS librarians are putting their heads together to present this directory/database to teachers in the hope that they can use it, and at the same time, contribute to its development.

These are but a few of the many treasures that the GS LRC can provide the learning community. Its doors are always open and no password is needed to access resources and information that are appropriate to students and useful to teachers.

* This article first appeared in the Xavier School Website.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Turtle's Tale by Gerald Brown

I was with Gerald Brown, Honorary Ambassador of IASL, in the National Book Week Fellowship Night. The following day, we met again to discuss his next trip to Manila sometime next year. Apparently, Gerald, has touched base with PATLS for a conference addressing library education in the Philippines. Plans are still tentative and everything else is still floating on air but, given the time and the resources, it may just be possible.

Lunch with Gerald Brown was a full meal of food and conversations. At the end of the productive lunch meeting, he left with me his proposals for workshops, CDs of presentations, a research paper and a story.

In his calling card, you would find important information about him, of course. But the most striking thing about his calling card was the logo of a sea turtle. It took only one question, "why a turtle?", for Gerald to tell the story.

Twenty five hears ago, Gerald's friend and coleague was frustrated at the state of librarianship in that district of Canada where they work. To pacify his friend, he said, "Be like the turtle, slow and steady but it's going to get where it intends to go. It's a mark of leadership." From then on, Gerald has used the turtle's metaphor for change and evolution.

Tutles do know where to go. They have the vision. They stick their necks out but they're slow and steady. They can overcome obstacles and hardships because they're made of tough skin. Or shell, I should say. They lay eggs. And these eggs are like ideas. Some eggs die before being hatched. Some are eaten and manipulated. Some live but are endangered by predators. Some go back to the sea to flourish and live. This has been the turtles' life for years and it has survived.

Leadership like the turtle's is not made of arrogance and bravado, but of hardwork, wisdom, longevity, risk taking and perseverance. Such traits that also bespeak of Gerald Brown.

Have a safe trip back to Canada, Gerald! See you again soon!
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