Friday, October 26, 2007

Wild & Crazy Librarians

Among the many things that struck me from the 3rd Rizal Library Conference, From Classroom to Career: Roadmaps to a Library's Success, it was Anne Riedling's 5 Little Rules With Big Impact that I consider as the most inspiring. She gave these simple rules to live by-

1.Lighten up! ☺
2. Say Thank you ☺
3. Take Care of yourself ☺
4. Do something wild and crazy ☺
5. Make an active choice ☺

Librarians have so much work to finish; so many issues to settle; so many concerns to contend with that often, stereotypes arise from such seriousness. But really, librarians are a lot of fun! Unless a more positive attitude is adapted, people who are outside the circle will always perceive librarians as lifeless, useless and boring. To quote another speaker from the same conference, librarians who do not break the mould run the risk of being categorized as a "non performing asset". Not a good perception of librarians at all.

Days before attending the Rizal Library conference, I've "bullied" my librarians to a chamber theatre style of storytelling for our preschool students in the Early Education Department (EED). At that time, the teachers in the EED were planing Book Week and Pet Week celebrations. They wanted to treat the preschoolers to a week long literacy activities and an awareness for the care of animals. How did the librarians take the "bulying"? There were apprehensions and anxieties, of course, since not all are comfortable telling stories. It does take a lot of guts to tell, besides. But chamber theatre is one technique where everyone has a part to play. Big or small, the task contributes to the overall result. It is a team effort. And yes, it can be fun too!

So, after adapting the script (thanks to Dianne delas Casas)of a well loved and familiar fable, The Ant and The Grasshopper, all four of us sat down and discussed. A new and a more detailed script included the background, music and a video clip. We had no time to practice since I was out for two days. I was assured that even in my absence, the rest of the team delivered. And they did, true enough. They may have had worries and felt the nervousness all over, but I know I can always depend on them. On the day of the performance, everything fell into place. There were little slips in the first session, but in a live perfromance, it is expected. I'm proud at how we all contributed to the work. The boys had fun and I suppose, the teachers had their share of laughs and amusement too.

What wild and crazy things can we do next?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oh yes, Old Dumby is gay!

I promised that I will look around for more information on the Internet regarding Dumblodore's gay-ness. And Google led me to clues and news. So what now?

I can sleep happy. I was shocked at first, but thinking about it, he's one of the best gay characters I've read so far in the area of Young Adult Literature. Maybe now, young readers can look at a gay person beyond stereotypes. Being gay does not make one a lesser person. Rowling is really something.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sights @ the 3rd Rizal Library International Conference

Here are photos from the 3rd Rizal Library International Conference, from Classroom to Career: Roadmaps to A Library's Success. Enjoy the pictures. The inisghts I gathered from the two day conference will be posted soon.

Ateneo High School Educational Media Center

I just came from a two day conference, From Classrooms to Careers : Roadmaps to a Library's Success, at the Rizal Library, Ateneo De Manila Univeristy. The conference featured professional papers and projects of librarians, researchers and scholars from the academe here and abroad. The highlight of today's conference was seeing the the Ateneno High School Educational Media Center for the first time. See the photos I took using my MacBook.

I was impressed at the reader friendly atmosphere of the Ateneo HS EMC. Most of their staff are male and that is very telling of their thrust in educating and forming "men for others". Truly, the growing male teenager has to be surrounded by positive male role models to be. At the counter, boys were assited by a male staff. The librarian who entertained us was Ronald Jess Cabunagan, a UP alum (2001) who happens to be a reader of this blog. Their AV Librarian is male too. I failed to ask Mrs. Beth Peralejo if she has female librarians and staff. From the looks of it, she's the only one and she happens to be the "big boss" too.

They have graphic novels there! Yahoo! They also have computers for their OPAC terminals and CDROM/Internet access. They are celebrating Teen Read Week since October 17, 2007 and as a way to amplify the event, they featured books and reading materials on humor and leisurely reading. To further atract the attention of their students to reading and using the library, they put up a blog and trivia contest.

Attending the conference was like getting a refresher course. It is good to be reminded of these important things in this time and age of integration and IT, but what I really need is to fortify my management skills. I have to muster enough stamina - physical, emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual to last.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Literary Saturday

Saturday, October 20, 2007

So, Dumbledore is gay...

I just got the news via text from a friend who works for Scholastic that JK Rowling announced it so. I will still do a thorough search. HP fans, hold on to your emotions!

Friday, October 19, 2007

INFOLIB Orientation & Demo

It has been a busy day. This morning, I facilitated a workshop on storytelling for parent volunteers. In the afternoon, Chit Olivares and I presented the GS LRC's library information system software, INFOLIB, to the GS MLAs (middle level administrators).

There are five modules in the software, but only two are running so far. Mr. Gerry Laroza of the Rizal Library, Ateneo De Manila, software developer, is our consultant. Our GS principal, Mrs. Jane Natividad gave her support by issuing a memo to all MLAs that they must attend the presentation. Academic and Formation middle level coordinators came in full force.

The presentation of INFOLIB is one way to communicate the efforst of the library in its pursuance to automate its services. It is also a user education technique that will lead librarians in assessing and evaluating the project so far. Feedback from the end users will help in the improvement of the project. Next month, the GS LRC will schedule meetings with the different departments to inform tearchers of this project.

Storytelling for Parent Volunteers

Several weeks before Book Week celebration, the Early Education Department invites the GS LRC to give a Storytelling workshop-orientation for parent volunteers. Today, I facilitated the workshop to more or less 30 parents. These parents will tell stories to their son's class for thirty minutes in a given day during Book Week. Most of the parents are eager beavers who are gungho at it. There are also parents who are anxious at the mere thought of facing a room full of five year old boys.

The workshop is very simple, really, since most parent volunteers will be doing this for the first time. I give them the basic, sort of a Storytelling 101. The read aloud technique is very popular and the most easy so I provide them with other ways of telling stories. See the picture of a beagle at the right side? It's the product of a story kniffing technique. One can tell stories while drawing lines, shapes and squiggles. It's fun! Even the parents are at awe. In years past parents would turn out in their best form. I'm excited at how these batch of parents will stand and deliver.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Intellectual Property Philippines and Ang INK will launch KULAY at SALAYSAY, an art exhibit, tomorrow, October 19, 2007, 6 PM at the Alab Art Space IPO bldg. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati. There will be a storytelling session for kids age 9-12 on Saturday, October 20, 2007. Call Trina Samaniego for details at 7525450, loc. 610.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

From Classrooms to Carreers

I am attending the 3rd Rizal Library International Conference on October 22 and 23, 2007. Detiails of the conference can be viewed in the Rizal Library website.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A School Librarian's Pride (and Prejudice)

I have a sliver of memory from my undergraduate years that haunts me to this day.

Me: Good Morning, Prof. B! We’re students of Prof. O and she has assigned us to meet with you and your students on the topic and skill that we will be teaching in the grade 2 class.

Prof. B looked at us with a raised eyebrow. Arms akimbo, she spat these words—

Prof. B: Oh, I see! And what will you teach? Parts of the book? Any teacher in the elementary grades can teach that! We don’t need librarians to teach it!

This happened during my practicum year. I was a fourth year student then completing a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with Library Science as major. The degree meant completing 42 units of Education, plus another 37 units more for Library Science. A heavy course, really. It is only now that I wonder how I survived with extra-curricular activities and a very active social life on the side.

At that time, fulfilling all requirements before graduation entailed two kinds of practicum – the In-Service training and the On-Site training. I do not know how it is called these days, but students need to undergo observations, teaching demos, mentoring and actual practice in the laboratory school of the university and an affiliated elementary school. So it goes that upon receipt of diploma, all must take the board examination for teachers. My university made sure of that. For Library Science majors, there was another board exam to hurdle -- the licensure examination for librarians.

Looking back, it was not the task of teaching and providing library service that made things difficult. My teachers and mentors prepared me well. I had friends to share the pains and burdens of academic work. I had a mentor who guided me in the transition process of theory and practice. I have a mother who is a librarian so the support system was strong (plus, a boyfriend, now my husband, who worked on all my visual aids). What made the practicum experience harrowing was the prejudice on librarians and library science majors imposed by other professionals, classmates from other fields of discipline, and even the teachers and professors who were supposed to be allies. Early on I realized two things - that I must not stick with the traditional work and tasks; and that changing paradigms must be accommodated, adapted and adopted.

Upon my first foray into library work, I knew I would be exposed to the same bias and discrimination. And it is still happening, in fact, I have come to accept this sad reality. Embracing the truth, however, motivated me to assert my role in the community. It was not easy because I appeared very different from my colleagues in the profession. To them, they seem to take it as my natural personality - being proactive, collaborating with teachers, understanding the context of both the users and their environment, experimenting with technology, discovering potentials in spoken and written means of communication, promoting books and reading for the development of literacy among the young, telling stories, raising standards and going beyond theory and practice of the profession.

All these are advocacies I have promised to campaign for and live for right after taking the professional oath. My being a librarian is not merely a job. It is who I am.

Galing Foundation

Now here comes another foundation in support of the promotion of literacy.

Galing Foundation, US based and run by Filipinos and Fil-Ams in Georgia, is a provider of cultural and artistic experiences that is everything Filipino. Its mission is to fight illiteracy by providing access to books in rural areas in the Philippines, thus, it has donated 51 balikbayan boxes to provinces in the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Its founder, Maritoni Daya-Luetgers, has succesfully touched based with other companies, NGOs, institutions and organizations to realize its objectives.

Like the Library Hub project of Mike Luz and the Read Or Die book donation campaign, I am for this initiative of providing books to indigent children. Reading is a right. Literacy begins with the availability of reading materials and resources besides. However, I will say this again, that book provision is only the beginning of literacy development.

Teachers are needed to facilitate reading instruction. Teachers need a variety of books to be able to develop literacy among young learners. Librarians come into the scene by making sure that donated books are well taken cared for. Books are alive and they must be protected from the heat and the cold; mended when broken; repaired for longevity; stored for posterity. Librarians can enrich the reading experience by setting an environment that is conducive for pleasurable and recreatory reading. School librraies and public libraries create programs and services that make reading a meaningful experience.

Back in 2003, Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, collaborated with our school library to train school librarians who were in charge of the book donations made by SAS and HSBC. They had basic training and orientation on library routines and services provided for young children. SAS found out that no matter how many the donated books were or how beautiful and spacious the donated library building was, if there are no personnel in charge, efforts and resources will all go to waste. As of present, SAS continues to train public school teachers and librarians towards better literacy instruction via the annual Gurong Kaakbay conference.

I hope that the donations of Galing Foundation are in good hands. I hope that there are teachers who can use the books to teach children how to read them. I hope that recepients of these precious donations land in the hands of a librarian who has the passion for literacy and the political will to battle the odds at setting up reading and resource centers in the provinces. If my hopes fall short of hopefulness, I pray that there are people on the recieveing end who will know what to do with the books given to the children.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Books & Idols

The GS LRC has been busy the past few months with its regular programs and services. With PAASCU accreditation hovering a good distance and time away, work is already pouring in buckets. Nevertheless, it takes time to advocate and campaign for the utility of books and the genuine love for reading.

Boys Don’t Cry, But They Read

Is reading a passive activity? Is reading only for girls? Think again.

Reading may involve minimal physical movement, but it activates and shapes the mind to think creatively and critically beyond the written text. As opposed to conventional wisdom, reading is enjoyed not only by girls but by boys as well.

For the past three months since the conception of the Reading Idol, a reading campaign for books and reading, the GS LRC has featured male faculty members as avid readers. GS Asst. Principal for Unit 3, Dr. Jojo Ng and CLE teacher, Mr. Edwin Pangantijon proved that boys do read. Hopefully, their modeling of the reading habit is one practice that grade school boys can carry on until their high school and college years.

Mr. Pangantijon was the Reading Idol for the month of August. He shares with the boys his stance on reading – that no matter how busy a person can be, one has to find the time read in order to live a full life. The following month, it was Dr. Jojo Ng who graced the “hall of idols” in the Reading Area of the GS LRC. He extends the reading habit to his seven-year old son, Sage. They read together and enjoy the visual metaphors of graphic novels. As an advocate of marine life, scuba diving and care for the environment, Dr. Ng’s bible is the book, Philippine Coral Reefs by Scott D. Tuason.

Who could be the next reading idol? Now that is something to watch out for!

Abuzz about Books

Oh yes, to talk about books is such a pleasurable activity!

Last October 9, 2007, the GS LRC offered a book talk session for our Grade School Middle Level Administrators (MLA). GS Librarians picked books from the Teachers' Collection that were deemed appropriate for the busy MLA. These books are new titles purchased last year and early this school year. It was Mr. Oyet Concepcion, GS Librarian who did a fine job at presenting the18 titles of new books. These fall under three topics - Classroom Management, Assessment & Evaluation, Educational Management & Leadership.

The Book Talk session is one way to encourage teachers and staff to borrow from the GS LRC. It is also a strategy to showcase the professional expertise of librarians – that, apart form the routine tasks that they do, they have the product knowledge necessary in recommending resources for instruction and professional enrichment. The GS LRC is open for invitations from department coordinators to conduct book talk sessions. Aside from books, librarians can share new resources in AV and online formats.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

When Books Talk!

This PowerPoint presentation was used by one of our GS librarians in a book talk for Middle Level Administrators.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

An Open Letter to Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao

As of writing, news of Manny Pacquiao's win against Marco Antonio Barrera has crawled the Internet and the Pinoy Blogosphere. This is something I expected, so I'm not surprised. I wonder now what Pacman will do next. And I'm not pertaining to his boxing career, but to his extra-curricular activities. Aside from movies, music, a host of endorsements under his belt would he be thinking of an advocacy to pursue in the future?

The late great Gabriel "Flash" Elorde put up a training center for aspiring young boxers though news of its success or failure has not caught the attention of media. Would Pacquiao venture into something like this? Or would he seriously think of trying his luck in politics (again). Heaven forbid.

So, I'm writing the "Pambansang Kamao" an open letter. I'm not really expecting anything from this but, who knows? Hope springs eternal.

Dear Manny,

Congratulations sayo, aking kababayan!

Your win against Barrerra sealed your future as the boxing great of this generation. Your ascent to boxing supremacy is a product of hard work and perseverance from many trials. Truly, you have earned it - the belt, the rewards, the fame and the fans. At the height of your boxing career, I will not be surprised if you move up and continue sweeping crowns and coins (lots of it!). What's good about all these fortune coming your way is your desire to give back, to help others.

Your political bid as representative for the city of Genaral Santos is proof of your willingness to make a much bigger and deeper impact in the lives of your countrymen. Of course, others have thought differently, but to me, I take it as your way of making a difference. You have proven that in the boxing arena. You just can't wait to try your hands at public service.

But you see, you can help your "kababayans" as you are.

I don't really know what help you're thinking of right now so you can give back to your fellow Filipinos, but I am hoping it is something that will empower and inspire them to better their lives. Perhaps a boxing gym for boxing aspirants. Maybe a scholarship for those who want to finish their education. Or maybe put up a business for the unemployed. And because I'm a librarian, I suggest that you support a community library that will help in the literacy develoment of people in General Santos.

It is really all up to you, Manny. I only hope that whatever charity or advocacy you intend to pursue in the future, it would be for the benefit of the masses - for them to discover their own power and potentials; for them to realize their dreams no matter how simple.

All the best for you, Manny!


Zarah C. Gagatiga
School Librarian & Literacy Advocate

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Does Manny Pacquiao Read?

Manny Pacquiao and his family will never go hungry in the next ten, twenty, thirty years. Either he win or lose in his fight tomorrow, his cofers of savings will not run dry. His sons and daughter will surely go to college, if not, secure a better way of establishing their economic standing from the investments he has made as a boxer and, businessman.

Manny Pacquiao has the business smarts and he's made a fortune out of all the endorsements and product promotions. In the midst of all these, I wonder if the "pambansang kamao" has plans of writing his own life story. Thinking about it, does he read in the first place? He does support several charities, even runs some of his own in his native province. But, will he ever endorse reading, books, education and life long learning?

I'm skeptical. But how I wish he would.

The again, I doubt it since no news of his educational background ever came out in the news.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

On the Blog Trail of (the) Filipino Librarian

Whew! I finally get to squeeze this in or else, be stuck in September. I have several blog posts in line for this week, but Von's recent posts are just too delicious to follow. He hasa post on the Carnival of Infosciences, to which I have a topic brewing for submission. And then, there is the C.S. Canonigo hulaballoo that has become a blog-novella of a sort in the sense that, people who know her are obviously up for her defense. She has apologized and that tells a lot about her intention and integrity.

Moving on to more juicy stuff is his How To Build A Library post. Charles Tan, who is slowly becoming an honorary Pinoy Blograrian, has several responses. There are two, actually, and both are interesting reads. He speculates on the role of librarians as well as the future of libraries in the light of changes that technology wages on librarians and the evolving paradigms of library users on librraies that is affecting the profession in general. Readers of Von's blog has replied via comments and reading them myself prompted me to write this down.

Book donations are grand initiatives. School librraies need them. College libraries need them. Community libraries need them, Yes, even in this age of IT, people need to read books. They must read books and they will continue to read books. Books address a learning style and a way of understanding that differs from electronic formats. Much as online formats are exciting, books offer a more intimate and personal experience.

The idea to increase the literacy rate through access to books is indeed a great strategy. How can children learn to read and appreciate books if they are not given the environment to do so? How can learning be a life long endeavor if adults do not read books continuously? Books are still the basic format to learn how to read. Computers and the Internet are tools to bring the skill of reading several notches up the critical thinking ladder. Thus, we see a rise in foundations and NGOs taking the path towards book donations and library development.

What must be noted is this, that no matter how much and how many books are given and provided to libraries, a librarian must be there to plan and implement programs and services so that users can effectively and meaningfully derive learning and knowledge from acquired and donated books. Will librarians still be needed in virtual environments like digital libraries? Definitely. The role of a librarian becomes even more important because the librarian can render the professional expertise needed to create and communicate information, knowledge and values associated with the application of technology. Sure, IT people are available to manage information and its delivery, but they do it differently from librarians. They are coming in from another context, another paradigm.

Libraries are growing organisms, to quote Dr. Ranganathan. In the changing landscape of IT, we all are witnesses to the growth and the morphing of libraries. To nurture and nourish this development, librarians must be present to do it.
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