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.

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