Sunday, January 31, 2010

Continuing Professional Education for Librarians

Another controversial topic permeating in local circles of library organizations and institutions since last year was the revival of the Continuing Professional Education program for registered/licensed librarians. The Board for Librarians (BFL) started its dissemination last year in seminars, conferences and fora organized by different library organizations, alumni associations and professional librarians group. It was done with the best of intentions, yet the reaction was tepid, if not.

A licensed librarian must earn twenty (20) CPE points a year so that, on the third year of license renewal he or she qualifies for the sixty (60) CPE points. The BFL came up with a list on where to get these points and how. For many, the list's contents are impossible to achieve. One needs time, money and the support of the immediate supervisor or administration to realize 20 points annually.

I only have to two things to say about this.

First -- if there is a will, there is a way. Time can be managed. As for the money, God provides. There's RA 9246 for the non-believers.

Second -- it takes a village to raise a child. Consider the CPE as a child. The BFL "maybe" its parent, but WE all need to do our part to help it "grow".

Yes, I'd rather be an optimistic fool than a zombie.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Filipino Librarians, License and Professional Practice

There's an interesting discussion thread on licensed (registered) librarians, professional practice and its legal underpinnings over at FilipinoLibrarians. As a member of the egroup, I read different views and opinions on the matter. I was tempted to reply and give my two cents worth but decided otherwise. It's better that I do so in this blog.

So here are my thoughts.

On the issue of license. It is a mandate of law that Filipino librarians acquire a license to practice the profession. This means the government has authorized legal and MORAL rights for licensed librarians to work in schools, companies, private and government agencies. The implication is such that, the licensed librarian has earned a security of tenure depending on internal policies of the institution. A license is required of librarian applicants, besides. The employer, on the other hand, seeks to hire and maintain in its armada of workers a licensed professional. The earned license makes the librarian a legal entity. Every Filipino librarian must therefore comprehend and read the RA 9246.

On the professional practice of librarians.The responsibility to follow and abide the rule of law works both ways. The librarian MUST have a license. The employer MUST hire a licensed librarian. Both must now be aware of RA 9246 and its implications. Enter a problem. What happens now for librarians without license? They are many. These librarians have tried, but failed. These librarians have seen the comings and goings of the seasons.

As far as my experience could speak of, policies of retention and retrenchment vary from one employer to another. Government offices and institutions have their own set as well. A law is a law. No one is above it. In the first place, the law exists to protect the rights of librarians. One may argue that non-licensed librarians are just as professionally competent. Well, one mark of a true professional is his/her adherence to the rule of law. If the non-licensed librarian does not have the moral fiber to earn a license, then the employer could motivate, push, pressure, do everything in its power to meet this requirement.

If all else fails, then perhaps it is time to pursue another profession. Harsh, I know. But these are the way things are.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Taming The Idiot Box

The PowerPoint presentation I prepared for my parenting talk at St. Mary's Angels University, Valenzuela, Bulacan last January 16, 2010. The event was sponsored by Phoenix Educational Systems, Inc.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Book as Prop

The election heat is on! We see a litter of ads in a variety of formats inundate our daily lives.

If you ask me which campaign ad delivers the most impact, it has to be Gibo Teodoro's and Nonoy Aquino's videos. Quite recently, Teodoro's campaign ad caused a stir because it has Rico Blanco's Posible (Possible) as background music. Apparently, Blanco did not authorize the producers of the campaign ad to use his composition as campaign material. Could it be that Teodoro's campaign people did not ask permission from Blanco at all?

Posible (Possible).

I am not a lawyer. This incident, however, is an interesting issue to discuss copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) among managers, creators and communicators of information. This is something librarians must be aware of as well. The many formats of information which they manage in the library are bound by law of the IPR and copyright.

Just the other night, I got a text message from Augie Rivera, scriptwriter and esteemed children's book author, on a similar concern. His book, Sa Ilalim ng Dagat, was used as props for Loren Legarda's Lingkod Campaign TVC. As we all know, well, inthis little nation of ours at the least, Ms. Legarda is running for Vice President this May 2010 elections.

I'm curious to know if Ms. Legarda has ever read Sa Ilalim ng Dagat before shooting the ad. I wonder if any of her campaign staff know the story as well. But the question is, shouldn't these people be responsible enough in observing and following copyright and IPR.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reading the World

Because I want to READ the WORLD, I am joining PaperTigers' Reading the World 2010 Challenge. Since I no longer work in a regular school setting, I need to find a group to discuss my reading choices. There's the monthly SCBWI-Manila meeting and the KUTING general assembly but scheduling is something I have to work on. It seems pretty easy to do though.

Here are the rules --

Choose one book from/about/by or illustrated by someone from each of the seven continents – that’s:

North America
South America

Have the books read aloud to you or read them yourself; share them as part of a book-group or in class. Combine your choices with other reading challenges. The books can be picture-books, poetry, fiction, non-fiction… the choice is yours.

Read! Read! Read! It has so many benefits! It's one of the many ways to being a better writer, besides.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Read to Write

I received an interesting email from one of my blog readers. Apparently, the blog reader has finished writing a piece of fiction. The work is deemed to be worthy of publication so the blog reader is asking for some advice. This is what I sent her --

Test your story on people who can read and give an honest critique. Chose people who can give good feedback, thereby, helping you improve the story.

Remember that writing is a process. What you started is a DRAFT. It is not a final copy yet. To submit the manuscript to a publishing house this early may be too soon. it takes time to polish fiction. When your friends have given feedback, REVISION is next. After that, you can now decide if what you revised is the final copy. Then you can send the manuscript to a publishing house.

a word of caution, writing is also HARD WORK. the writers we admire, those who've published tons of books go through a lot of thinking, revising and, yes, sleepless nights to refine a story. inspiration is free and at times, our writing muse keeps us awake in the middle of the night to squeeze the creative juices out of us. but, remember that writing is likewise a CRAFT that must be mastered, in time.

As you seek friends who can give comments and suggestions to your story, keep writing. And read a lot! Read and write and write and read. Read all kinds of literature and write all kinds of literature. If it's not your forte, try. Just keep those muscles and brain cells churning!

Good luck. And btw, the great poet Virgilio Almario received hundreds of rejection slips. Rene Villanueva, the famed chidlren's book writer had his own share of rejection letters from publishers. If writing is indeed your passion, no rejection slip can deter you.

Since I mentioned the relationship between reading and writing to the blog reader, I could not help but look at my own reading and writing patterns. So far, my reading habits has been regular but I could not say the same is true when writing fiction. It's an area I need to improve on. It seems that I need to spend longer days for my fiction to truly grow and flourish.

On a brighter note, the irrepressible Elbert Or has sent word on the Ondoy Book Project he started to collect from contributors last year. Anvil will be publishing this collection of essays. My essay is included in the anthology. I'm pretty excited.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Librarian Writes

Apart from the blogging breakthrough of 2009, it is in the field of writing where I started establishing a firm footing.

After a long hiatus from print publishing, I got back to writing feature articles in magazines. There's this one groundbreaking (at least to me) cover story I wrote last year for Summit's Star Teacher Magazine.

The experience was so remarkable because I had the honor to have interviewed four fantastic teachers who were responsible for building and developing the training program of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation's Teacher Training Workshop. It was, for me, a very insightful encounter as they shared life lessons acquired through years of teaching. Dali Soriano, Ting Villamor, Pat Jardiniano and Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz are all top notch teachers whose legacy as reading advocates are imprinted forever in SAS's Read-a-thon program. This program has been implemented in more than a thousand public schools in the country. In case you want to read more about it and the "fab four" who dreamed and wove this ground roots reading initiative, try visiting the magazines website. Subscription is very affordable besides.

Another writing opportunity that came my way last year was the book project that Dianne de Las Casas and I concocted over Skype. By October of 2009, the contract was prepared, sealed then delivered last month. I'm sending it back with my signatures. This means that the project is in full swing!

Now, it's time to get organized. Write! Write! Write!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

SLIA's Unforgettable Posts of 2009

2009 was a breakthrough year for me as a blogger. After four years of blogging, SLIA finally earned revenues! It's not so big that I could afford quitting work. At the end of a blogging day, it's the content that matters really. The earning is icing on the cake.

So here's a list of some unforgettable posts I made in 2009. Note that the choices are all mine and it does not make the BESTs of the year. That would be harder to decide on so I'm giving myself time for that. Meanwhile, let's journey back to SLIA's 2009.

The QuestVon and Peachy were in town for a brief homecoming. It was also the month when Von joined Deal or No Deal and won some big cash!

The Butterfly Award SLIA's second blog award! Another one came around in September of 2008 where SLIA won an honest 2nd place.

Write An Essay Get a Gift CheckSLIA's first writing contest as inspired by a talk I had at the UP FLIPP congress.

SLIA Essay Writing Contest WinnerAnd yes, there was a winner! Thanks to Arnold Zafra for sponsoring the prize.

All In The Name of ReadingThe Great Book Blockade of 2009 began as an email bomb. Like wild fire it spread through Pinoy blogosphere and beyond. The result of which was a lifting of book duties.

Aklatan ni MikaMy first storytelling session in a halfway house for kids afflicted with cancer. This experience has to be the most unforgettable so far.

PBBY Luncheon for South African StorytellerGcina Mhlope-Becker is a miracle on two legs! Her visit and performances were truly amazing!

Three posts made it to the list for the month of August. Carlo Caparas made quite a stir accepting the award as National Artist for Visual Arts. In Qualifying the Unqualified I made a stand for what I believed was a mockery. Good thing that Philippine Chidlren's Literature is a buzz with new books being launched left and right. It got featured in One Shot while I wrote about Dr. Luis Gatmaitan's contribution to the industry in the said blog program.

By the end of the month,The Manila International Storytelling Festivalcommenced. I was enthralled. Thus I realized, as a storyteller, I have so much to learn!

SLIA has shown its age as it was mentioned in a news article,Good PR for Filipino Librarians", along side Von Totanes' esteemed and high brow Filipino Librarian.

2009 was a trying year since it gave us Ondoy to contend with. But I survived and got by with a lot of help from friendsMany Thanks to everyone who sent their prayers, financial help and moral support.

And of course, the Collaboration With Dianne de Las Casaswas a pleasant surprise! Life is indeed a roller coaster ride.

Two months before 2009 folded up, I came full circle. InCompleting Life CyclesI touched based with a former student and made connections with my Alma Mater.

To close the year, I gladly accepted PAASCU'sThe Fr. James Meany Award. One of the many things to remind me that I have done something right.

Now on to doing more!
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