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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