Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Library Outreach Program Via the De La Salle Library System

I have been to several De La Salle schools this year. Of the many things common and consistent about them, apart from the green and white colors, is their outreach program that permeates horizontal and vertical departments of their educational system. The libraries of the De La Salle schools I was fortunate to visit include a strong outreach program for their respective adopted and supervised schools.

Once in De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ), LRC Coordinator Carol Ballesteros made mention of their mobile library program designed to help and assist public schools in Muntinlupa develop children's interest in books and reading. I remember seeing her in a PBBY sponsored workshop on Mobile Library Development and Implementation by Museo Pambata President, Nina Lim-Yuson last year. If not for Ondoy, I would have joined the DLSZ librarians in the launching last October at Tunasan Elementary School, Muntinlupa as storyteller.

This initiative is not an isolated case. De La Salle Lipa's mobile library has been touring different barangays in the district. I've heard of this before from co-writer and KUTING friend, Perpi Alipon-Tiongson way back in 2007. In the PLAI STRLC Conference I attended as speaker, Mrs. Lilian Rabino, head librarian in De La Salle Lipa candidly went about sharing the success of this project. I was even more glad to know that she's constantly involved in the improvement of their library mobile. When Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz got hold of a Singaporean book donor for PBBY's book donation project, we've agreed to send books to De La Salle Bukidnon because of its thriving library mobile. If this isn't Library 2.0, tell me what is. Access to books and information does not always have to be technology driven.

Apart from this, librarians of the De La Salle Library System are also involved in training and professional development of librarians and para-professionals of public and community libraries.

When I accredited De La Salle Green Hills last November, GS (Grade School) LRC (Learning Resource Center) Head Mrs. Ching Basagre was very proud to share about the training that she and her librarians conducted in one La Salle supervised school. Provision for books is one thing and accessibility to reading materials is another. But empowering the people who take care of the library and its readers is of primary importance. Mrs. Basagre and her library staff trained the para-professionals of the library who were recipients of their book donations.

Mrs. Sonia Gementiza, Library Director of De La Salle University (DLSU) Dasmarinas, Cavite has initiated training seminars and workshops for non-librarians of public libraries in the locality. A number of these non-BLIS (Bachelor of Library and Information Science) professionals were present during my storytelling lecture-workshop last week At DLSU Dasma. Mrs. Gementiza did not stop there. Together with her staff, they've organized another professional growth activity to help them organize and manage their libraries.

This outreach program may be unique to De La Salle, but it sure tells us a thing or two about collaboration, access to information and leadership in librarianship. There may be a dearth of reading materials and shortage of manpower in the field. Yet, the desire to build bridges and fill gaps is enormous! Kudos to the librarians of the De La Salle Library System!

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