Friday, April 27, 2007

From Words to Worlds

The first day of the RAP Annual Summer Convention is over. These are my highlights:

1. I met old friends from the teaching industry.

2. I met new ones, too.

3. I saw Teacher Portia Padilla's students perform a storytelling gig. It is to me, very special because, I gave them a workshop on Storytelling last November during my lean months.

4. Barbara Walker's and Dr. Nemah Hermosa's plenaries. Reading Comprehension is proces; active conversation; and community. Reading Literacy has a changing face, a changing idfentity. Therefore, reading teachers must be able change paradigms too.

5. I had a SRO for my presentation on ICT integration. But the room was so hot I was profusely sweating.

More plenaries and concurrent sessions tomorrow!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Integration of ICT PowerPoint Presentation

Integrating ICT & Reading Comprehension

Below is the abstract for the professional paper that I will be presenting in the Reading Association of the Philippines (RAP) Annual Summer Convention at St. Paul Quezon City. It will be tomorrow, April 27, 2007. The convention will run for two days and the program promises to be an enriching and engaging convention. With Manilyn Reynes as special guest and Nani Cruz of the TNL, it's one convention that combines education and entertainment in a most effective fashion.

With the advent of new technology and its drawing power on children and teens, more and more, schools are investing on gadgets and electronic learning resources that enrich and enhance instruction. Teachers undergo training on the utility of computer software and hardware. The appropriate infrastructure and manpower are also being provided for technical support. Although traditional learning tools can still be trusted upon to help in the delivery of instruction, experiments and initiatives on technology integration are being implemented by teachers in basic education.

This paper discuss the importance of well thought of activities and strategies that integrate technology in the content area classroom. Issues and concerns pertaining to the use of technology are also explored to see relevant factors that may affect the success or failure of such integration. The focus, however, is mainly on web enhanced teaching strategies that lead to a better understanding of concepts and skills taught.

The IRA’s Position Paper on Technology Integration and the NETS Technology Standards are presented as guide to aid teachers in the planning and implementation of such strategies. Actual projects and class activities are identified to show concrete examples of web enhanced teaching strategies. A directory and bibliography of resources are included to further inspire and motivate the classroom teacher in using the Internet as a valuable instructional material in the content areas.

For questions about the convention, contact

The Living Library (2 of 2)

*Some images can not be displayed due to file error.

Lines and Cycles : The way we do things in the Library

Aside from the image and identity we carry as we do the roles expected of us, the way we do things in the library is a factor that can make or break a living library.

The pattern in which the services we do and offer can be linear or cyclical.

Linear Pattern

Cyclical Pattern

Sugar! Spice! And Everything Nice!

Now that we have identified the patterns of library service and factors influencing its operations, we take a closer look at making the library a reader friendly venue, one that is truly alive.

Physical Arrangement/ Location and Design/Operating Hours
Let’s begin with the external appearance of the library. As much as possible, provision for all kinds of reading purposes must be present- from serious reading to light and leisurely reading; to big classes and small group discussions; Internet labs; viewing and listening rooms. Bulletin board displays must be strategically located for all to see; posters at corner walls and corridors enliven bare areas. Such visual stimulus inspires and motivates users to think, even wonder. Shelves for display and racks for magazines and newspapers make for an enticing reading invitation.

Location of the library is important too. Its physical accessibility is one factor for readers to go and flock there. The ideal place is its central location to everything and everyone in the community.

Operating hours must agree with the official time of the clients. If it necessitates extension of operating hours, work out a schedule that will benefit everyone including the staff of the library.

Library Collection
The collection of the library must reflect the course offerings or the content set upon by the mother organization. Standards on collection development must be followed as well as guidelines set upon by accrediting institutions for which the mother organization is affiliated. Aside from these, the collection of the library must answer the reading needs and levels of the community it serves.

Library Programs
A reader friendly library is best known for the programs and activities it can offer the client. Here are some examples of library programs and activities that foster literacy development:

a. Library Promotions Program – Storytelling; Read aloud, puppet shows, book talks, book mobile; film viewing; websites; newsletters
b. Author/Illustrator Visit Program
c. Information Literacy Skills Program
d. Teacher Training Program (Use of technology in instruction; library orientation for new teachers; hands-on training)
e. AV-Instructional Media Program

The PR & Marketing Plan
In cases when library services and programs need pushing and lobbying to administrators, teachers and parents, and other stakeholders in the organization, a PR and Marketing Plan can be drawn together for a strategic approach to implementing them.

Amelia Kassel recommends these seven steps:
1. Prepare a mission statement.
2. List and describe target or niche markets.
3. Describe your services.
4. Spell out marketing and promotional strategies.
5. Identify and understand the competition.
6. Establish marketing goals that are quantifiable.
7. Monitor your results carefully.

Keep it real to keep it going

In the course of bringing excitement and verve to the library, you will come to a point of exhaustion, stress and burn out. When these set in, be kind to yourself and take a break. Sit back and detach yourself for a while. Take a break and recoup your energies. Managing a library is indeed no easy task. There may be technology and human resource to help us and assist us in making our library a reader friendly library, but they too conk out and get tired.

Look for outside support that will keep you and your programs going. You will be surprised how many individuals and institutions are willing enough to help you.

To generalize, a reader friendly library is a library that is alive and thriving in all aspects of services and programs. The success of planning and implementing these operations and plans rest on the librarians perception and philosophy of his profession as well as, a clear identification of his role to the community he serves.

The things we learned in library school are a means to an end. It is not the end itself. It’s about time we stretch our horizons and extend our borders for after all, librarians exist because we are needed to help our clients make meaning of these new horizons and construct new knowledge that push them to broadening borderlines.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Living Library* (1 of 2)

*A lecture delivered during the conference on books, libraries and reading promotion by the PNU University Library and the National Book Development Board last April 21, 2007, Friday.

Let me begin by quoting the famed library guru, Dr. Ranganathan.

“The library is a growing organism.”

He said these immortal words decades ago, but it remains to be one powerful, if not, popular mantra in the field of library and information science. I do not know about you, but to me, it encapsulates the very essence of our crucial role in fostering a reading culture and in building a nation of readers. Whether we are librarians from the academe or from the school; the public library or the special library, we have a responsibility to firm up the cornerstone of knowledge and the creation and communication of information. It is our primary duty to make our clients READ. Therefore, it is our job to make our libraries attractive and interesting to clients so that they can read the many resources we offer them.

By reading, I mean a lot of things. Reading is the utility of references, print and online; it is the searching done in a database, OPAC or the manual catalog; it is the excitement of a grade school student when he borrows his first book; it is the delight of a preschooler upon hearing stories read aloud during storytime; it is the discovery of new facts and information by a high school student; it is the expansion of world views and perspectives one encounters with literature; the reconstruction and accommodation of new knowledge by a college student in research; it is the critical analysis of messages brought by print, broadcast and technological media; it is the application and the integration of concepts, skills, values and technology of the varied resources that empower a professional.

Reading is synonymous to learning. It takes place not only in the four walls of the classroom or in the corporate conference hall but in the library as well. Reading is connecting with one’s self and reaching out to the world. The library can afford that to a person.

It is our contribution to the community and the society at large to nurture and nourish our clients by providing a library that lives. Dr. Ranganathan may have spoken of the library as an entity that is alive, but without the professional expertise of a librarian, do you think the library would ever grow? Do you think reading, and its many facets and definitions to different kinds of learners would ever occur? It will only remain a building with books, shelves and technological watchamacallits. The challenge now lies at how we can breathe life to our library programs and services so that we can bridge the gap between the collection and resources we manage to the people that we serve. We have to start with a recollection of who we are as professionals in the community where we belong and partake. We need to look at how we do our work in the library in the light of new demands and trends brought by changing environments and client culture. And then, we act. Roll up those sleeves and let’s get down to business.

Image & Identity : Who are we? What is our role? How do we portray our role?
It is already the age of information technology. It is an exciting and challenging time to be a librarian today. With the advent of technology, we can use them to spear head projects in our library; empower our services; enhance our programs to attain goals and impact the lives of those we serve. However, while our training in library school prepared us for the real world, we suffer an image problem. We are still perceived as docile and boring, strict or timid. This can only happen, when we accept that perception as our professional identity.

Of course, most of us have disagreed to this stereotype. We have continuously asserted the relevant role we play locally and globally. The efforts of the BFL to resuscitate the continuing professional education guidelines for librarians and the PLAI’s move to reorganization are indicators that we are adapting and changing with the times.

On the micro level, how do you fare? In your own community, how are you perceived? What is your perception of yourself? Tough questions? Let’s go to the different school’s of thought in library and information science.

The first school of thought dwells on the belief that the library is an information center where users and clients can access different learning resources. The librarian does the selection, acquisition, organization and circulation of these resources to clients. The librarian provides reports and feedback relevant issues and concerns pertaining to library work to the administration.

The second school of thought adheres to the philosophy that the library exists to help its mother organization achieve and accomplish its vision, mission and goals. The librarian collaborates with teachers and administrative staff for the development of the library’s collection. The librarian engages himself in the behavior of his clients to determine their information needs. The librarian gathers evidence from the practice of the profession and makes use of this evidence to further improve services and programs.

Which of these schools of thought do you subscribe to?

There really is no right or wrong school of thought. In fact, you can even combine the best of either schools of thought according to given situations or parameters set by your environment. But, whichever school of thought you chose determines your professional image and identity. It has a bearing on how we do service and run programs. It has an effect on how alive we want our library to be.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Workshops by the School Librarian In Action

Help me spread the word!

The Write Attack!
A Writing Workshop for Kids Age 8-12
Session 1 - Age 8-10 / 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.
Session 2 - Age 11-13 / 1.00 pm to 3.00 p.m.
Workshop fee - Php 3,000.00
April 23 - 30, 2007 @ Unit 309 FMSG Bldg. 3rd St., Cor. Balete Drive, New Manila Quezon City. For inquiries send SMS to 09209602884 or email

Storytelling Fiesta!
A Storytelling Workshop for Teachers, Parents and School Librarians
May 5, 2007 / Saturday 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. @ 5th flr. Galeria Corporate Center, Ortigas Pasig City. Look for May 631.6381 or send SMS to Juvy 09173731721.
Workshop fee - Php 600.00

Friday, April 13, 2007

PBBY Recommends

*Here are 20 titles of my favorite Filipiniana for Children. The list is for a future project of the PBBY. It is hoped to be published in the website soon.

I would like to believe that the production of reading materials for children in the Philippines today is in a rapid, if not constant, growth. Every year, there are books being published for the Filipino young reader. A good number of magazines are also out in circulation to schools and bookstores. Filipiniana graphic novels and comic books are also shaping a life of its own and building a modest following among young adult readers. Reading, writing and publishing for the Filipino child and teenager is alive and well.

Those of us who advocate it’s growth and development need only to chronicle the trends and directions that it has taken so far. Then again, a push and a little lift, is necessary to keep it going.

Below are my picks from recently published reading materials for the young reader. With the exception of some old favorites, the list has new titles reflective of the imagination and creativity that Filipino writers have. More and more, they are becoming sensitive to the needs and profile of the young audience that they write for. As for the publishers who risked putting them out, it is brave of them to gamble at such endeavors knowing that they’re up against foreign competitors. Our writers and publishers are treading new grounds and exploring different genres. Such talent and courage deserve support and patronage.

So, my dear teacher, parent and school librarian, go over this recommended list and see what titles would interest your kids. Allow them to read stories from their own culture and context.

A Jenny & Jay Mystery : The Pillowcase Cat Caper. Marivi Solliven-Blanco. Illustrations by Remus San Diego. Tahanan Books, 1996.
The first in a series of three adventure-suspense chapter books, Jenny and Jay went after a black embroidered cat that led them to mischief and mayhem all across town. Find out how midnight, moonlight and a mysterious gust of wind can magically turn an embroidered cat alive. Gr. 3-5

Enrique El Negro. Carla M. Pacis. Illustrations by Mel Silvestre. Cacho Publishing House, 2002.
Yabon was barely out of his teens when pirates took the life of his family and tribe. Captured and sold into slavery, he became servant to a temperamental Portuguese explorer. With a new name, Enrique El Negro traveled aboard a galleon; sailed the uncharted seas; met strange peoples with cultures different from his own and became the first of his “kind” to travel around the world. Pacis takes a stake at historical fiction with considerable success. Gr. 5 – High II

Elias & His Trees (Mga Puno ni Elias). Adapted by Augie Rivera. Illustrated by Romeo Forbes. CANVAS & the UST Press, 2005.
Adapted from the French folklore, The Man who Planted Trees, this Filipiniana version bespeaks of the Filipino diaspora and his constant longing for the land of his birth. Haunted by stories of a land, green and beautiful, he went back and met a tree planter named Elias who has created and nurtured a new sanctuary -- so that those who fled may come back; and for those who chose to stay may grow and flourish. Rivera displays mastery of the writing craft as he sensitively implies that hope for this country springs eternal. Gr. 6 – High IV.

Barefoot in Fire: A World War II Childhood. Barbara Ann Gamboa Lewis. Pictures by Barbara Pollak. Tahanan Books, 2005.
An autobiographical account of life in war torn Manila. Lewis narrates her experiences as a child growing up in the midst of war. Her struggles with internal and external conflicts shaped her identity as a person. A reflective and affecting read for today’s generation whose only reconnaissance of World War II is in history books or in a Hollywood-ized movie version. Gr. 5 – High II.

Bagets : An Anthology of Filipino Young Adult Fiction. Edited by Carla Pacis and Eugene Evasco. UP Press, 2006.
Enough of Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High. Move over Olsen Twins and Lizzie Maguire. These 16 well crafted short fiction (8 in English; 8 in Filipino) by members of KUTING (Kwentista ng mga Tsikiting) looks into the psyche, issues and concerns of Filipino teenagers today. The fifteen writers showed respect to their young adult readers by presenting and showing their stories as it is – no sugar coatings, non judgemental, bitter sweet and shockingly truthful. Gr. 6 – High IV.

Project : Hero. Edited by Andrew Drilon and Elbert Or. Quest Ventures and Nautilus Comics, 2005.
Here is a hilarious and wonderful comic book by Filipino writers, artists and comic book creators. With new superheroes emerging from its pages, young readers are bound to enjoy the adventures and heroics of Yaya Kadabra; Jet Tatanium; Kid Continuum and Channel. Made in the tradition of well loved Pinoy comic books, Project : Hero stands out as a new creation of well written stories that kids of this generation can easily understand and relate to. Gr. 5 – High I

Ang Paaralan ni Fuwan. Victoria Annonuevo. Adarna House, 2002.
Fuwan is torn between going to school and helping in the rice field. After being absent for several days from school, he missed his classmates and teachers. Upon his class’ surprise visit, his father realized how important going to school meant for him. Finally, he was allowed to go to school. Gr. 4 – High I.

Teo’s Trash. Garce D. Chong. Illustrations by Beth Parocha-Doctolero. OMF Literature, 2003.
What is old can be made new and what seems to be new is actually old and rare. In this story, Chong explores the natural curiosity present in all children through her favorite character, Teo. His fondness for old things earned him a feature in a TV show. Resourcefulness, ingenuity and familial piety are values that the story promote; the same characteristics that Filipinos are known for.

Hipon and Biya. Carla Pacis. Illustrated by Joanne de Leon. Adarna House, 2004
Hipon and Biya are friends. They share a home in a little coral among the reefs. What Hipon can’t do, Biya is there to help out and vice-versa. A well crafted concept story on symbiosis, the writer’s knowledge of subject matter reflects the thorough research that went through in producing such an insightful tale.

XILEF. Augie Rivera. Illustrations by Beth Parocha-Doctolero. Adarna House, 2000.
Felix has dyslexia. Through the support of his parents and his teachers’ commitment to teach him, he eventually learned how to read and earned his self-esteem. Here’s a story with solid adult characters involved in the becoming of Felix as a boy who triumphed over his own demons. Gr. 3 – 6.

Bruhaha! Bruhihi! Ompong Remigio. Adarna House, 1997
A little girl suspects having a witch for a neighbor, until a humiliating incident shattered all perceived ideas of the old woman. She is after all, just that, an old woman - shriveled, lonely and alone. Thus, the little girl extended her compassion and friendship. A story perfect for read aloud since it is embedded with rhythm and an effective use of onomatopoeia. Gr. 1 – Gr. 3.

The Zimbragatzees of the Planet Zing. Rene Villanueva. Illustrations by Jason Moss.: Lampara Publishing House, 2002.
Villanueva writes about a planet, much like our own, but inhabited by fun loving Zimbragatzees. Each Zimbragatzee is known for its unique nose. It does not only function as an organ for olfaction, but it is their identity as well. They were a happy lot, until one day, they had a sneezing fit due to the growing pollution of their planet. The effect was devastating. Their noses became smaller and smaller until it disappeared. It took them awhile to solve the problem and to face the consequences brought by their decision to modernize.

Sandosenang Sapatos (A dozen pairs of shoes). Luis Gatmaitan MD. Illustrations by Beth Parocha-Doctolero. Hiyas-OMF, 2002,
Karina’s father is a shoemaker. She gets to wear shoes made especially for her. On the other hand, her sister Susie could not because she was born without feet. Karina is protective and compassionate of Susie. Together, the siblings deal with the reality of their father’s unfulfilled dream. Gatmaitan presents the unrivaled love a father can give to a handicapped daughter in this award winning story. Gr. 4 – 6.

I want my Yaya!. Annette Flores-Garcia. Illustrations by Isa Nazareno. Lampara Books, 2002
When Blesilda’s nanny left for good, she had a string of nannies who slept a lot; ate too much; or often shouted that they were all incomparable to her favorite nanny. As she awaits for a new one to arrive, she discovered that she can learn to take care of herself. An empowering story for kids who are learning to be. Preschool – Gr. 2.

A Spider Story. Germaine Yia. Illustrations by Liza Flores. Lampara Books, 2002.
Spider envied the beautiful homes her neighbors could make. She tried her best to fashion something fancy but all her efforts were futile. With sun beams, she saw the sturdiness and brilliance of her old web and realized its worth. Gr. 2 – 5.

The Spectacular Tree. Robert Magnuson. Lampara, 2001.
Magnuson's first book is a triumph on writing and illustrating for someone who claimed that his writer's block is the greatest block of them all. In his book, he enunciates another meaning for "spectacular". By emphasizing collaboration, dependency and co-habitation, Magnuson reminds young and old alike that each creature in this world needs another. No man is an island so they say.

The Cat Painter. Becky Bravo. Illustrations by Mark Ramsel Salvatus III. Adarna House, 2006.
Rahal is an angel assigned to paint cats. One day, he thought out of the box and painted a cat not with the usual black or white, but in different colors of spots, blots and stripes. This angered the head angel. God had the last word. Bravo, a cat lover in person, deftly handles the issue of being different in a most receptive and considerate way.

Are you the Forest King? Reyes-Velasco, Penny. Pangea Books, 2000.
A young boy wanders and wonders who could be the Forest King. His curiosity led him to discover a lush beautiful forest inhabited by creatures big and small. These animals and plant life make up the delicate balance of nature. Written originally in English, the book had been translated in the Filipino by Rev. Fr. Rene B. Javellana, SJ. Illustrated using collage technique, Velasco used dried and pressed flowers, leaves and seeds.

Ang Mahiyaing Manok. Anonuevo, Rebecca. Adarna House, 2000.
Onyok is a shy rooster who could not crow. To overcome his shyness, his parents gave him all the encouragement he needed. He soon found his voice and his self confidence. The writer’s use of onomatopoeia has been most effective to characterize Onyok and the changes in his character.

Dinosaur Pop-up Activity Book. Jomike Tejido. Adarna House, 2006.
Tejido continues to stand out as a true versatile artist. His knowledge of the child reader is impressive. In this pop-up activity book, Tejido capitalizes on a one page spread to inform, educate and entertain the child who has an insatiable fascination on dinosaurs. The book is engaging as it is interactive. Children can make the dinosaurs pop-up by following the simple instructions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The PBBY-Alcala Prize for 2007

Sergio Bumatay III won the PBBY-Alcala Prize for this year's winning Salanga piece, Tight Times by Jean Lee-Patindol.

The Alcala is awarded to the best illustrated story for children based on the Salanga Prize. Bumatay and Patindol will be granted cash and trophy this coming July 2007 during the celebration of the National Children's Book Day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mentor vs. Supervisor

One of the many adjustments I made upon assuming the role of Library Coordinator, was that of a supervisor in charge of evaluating the library staff. Two things are important to evaluation. First, the targets set upon by the librarian in consultation with the supervisor; and the environment set upon by the supervisor for the librarian to reach the set targets.

The targets are of course, relevant to the attainment of departmental objectives and the school's goals. The good thing about the performance appraisal tool that we use is that, it has components that evaluate a librarian's professional character and involvement to the community at large. This motivates the librarian to take a holistic stand on his development. Not only is he expected to perform well in professional competence, he is also called upon to become a professional who is empowered and aware of his worth to the community.

The process looks easy at first, but so much factors fall into place that can spell success or failure for both. The over all culture of work plays a big part in the librarian's and supervisor's performance, as well as individual perceptions and philosophies on the job and the profession in general. Now, that is where conflict can begin.

This coming school year, as I look forward to my second term, I will try not to become merely a supervisor, but a mentor too. Evaluating both the work and the performance achieved by people can be done better if there are clear expectations set by both parties. Of course, the objectives of the department and the school's goals must never be compromised, otherwise, standards will be affected. Mentoring, however, entails acceptance and humility. Such values can be nurtured when those in the ranks trust their supervisors enough to lead and guide them. Such values can be called upon to define a department or a group of people if only supervisors are willing to become colleagues who can also learn from the foot soldiers.

Taming the Web

Phoenix Educational Systems, Inc. is sponsoring a talk on Information Literacy, Research and Web Enhanced Teaching on April 21, 2007, Saturday from 8.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.. Venue for the seminar is at the 5th flr. Galeria Corporate Center, Ortigas, PAsig City. Weminar Fee is Php 600.00. For inquiries, call May at 631-6368 or send SMS to Juvy at 09173731721.

Director, Rizal Library

"Importance of Information Literacy in Basic Education in Preparation for College."

GS Learning Resource Center

" Developing Information Literacy through the use of the Library - Print and Online. Teaching Strategies to Newbies and techies."
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