Friday, April 30, 2010

City Tour @ Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Live blogging: PLAI-STRLC's Summer Conference in Palawan Day 2

Before hitting the sack last night, we had a socials and fun games. The hall was filled with noise! No one to hush us in silence, not even the nuns!

To group the delegation into smaller units, Audrey Anday, conference chair, asked us to pick a paper from a cup and create the sound the animal makes. In no time, we were like the Bremen Town Musicians! I was grouped with the cows. Hilarious games like biggest plastic baloon, writing words using one's butt and Paint A Picture gave us so many reasons to laugh away the night.

Today, as I write this, Dir. Lou David of the Rizal Library is giving her session on Staff Development.Just like Madame Cora Nera's session yesterday on Accreditation for Libraries and Librarians, the participants have so many interesting and insightful questions. This goes to show that they are concerned with their work and the delivery of expected responsibilities. The city tour and optional trip to the Underground River here in Puerto Princesa is scheduled on Saturday, but it seems that the participants are focused to the facilitators' and speakers' input.

Dir. David is taking all the questions thrown at her with answers that are both practical and sensible. Theory is important but experience is the best teacher, indeed! Her years of service and work experiences in many divisions and areas of Library and Information Science is already a mine field. I see many heads nodding, intent at listening and taking nuggets of wisdom and useful techniques when she gives her answers and responses. Likewise with Madame Cora Nera last night. She had to extend her talk last night eating half an hour to dinner. But the dialogue between resource speaker and participants is considered an enriching experience!

I am standing on the shoulders of giants.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Live blogging: PLAI-STRLC's Summer Conference in Palawan Day 1

The first day of the PLAI-STRLC Summer Conference in Palawan kicked off at 8:00 this morning. Madame Cora Nera and I were at the same flight that was rather uneventful until the foggy sky greeted us at Puerto Princesa and a bumpy landing.

The weather is gloomy here. Thanks to the occasional rain showers, though. It's given the participants something to long for -- a sunny weather on Friday so they can enjoy the city tour and the trip to the underground river.

As I write this, Madame Cora Nera is in the main hall of the St. Ezekiel Spirituality and Development Center finishing up the last session of the day. Mine had been a lively and engaging session on storytelling, so the participants told me at break time.

Earlier on, Madame Cora Nera provided updates from the Board of Librarians. Here are some news worthy stuff I gathered from her presentation:

a. Curricular offerings for the Bachelor of LIS and Master in LIS (Library and Information Science) have been modified;
b. Doctoral degree/program is being formulated;
c. Adoption of prescribed Code of Ethics and Code of Technical Standards;
d. Conduct of ocular visits in colleges and universities offering LIS.

More photos and insights tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dear Librarian: REPLY for Making the Right Decion

The guest blogger who lent a reply for our letter sender, Confused Freshman, is none other than Prof. Igor Cabbab. He is from the School of Library and Information Science, UP Diliman. Prof. Cabbab is known for his tough and hi-tech online persona. He is an expert at fire breathing and a "jedi master" among yoyo enthusiasts. He collects comic books and reads children's and young adult literature.

Below is Prof. Cabbab's reply to Confused Freshman.

Dear Confused Freshman,

Most of these are inter-related. So here goes.

On decision-making: Usually at any university they require a career assessment exam from the guidance and counseling office before you consider shifting courses. I would suggest you use that as a starting point for decision-making. But then again, I know of some people who chucked the results out of the window when they came back negative (results said they're not for LIS). Putting their feet down they said they didn't believe in the results and would still want to pursue LIS. Some of them are quite successful at present.

On deadlines: The deadline issue may be a problem. It's not just an issue LIS-wise but for any course, or job, for that matter. The net-usage isn't, there have been studies (Australian, if I'm not mistaken) that found out that occasional net/socnet usage / net surfing even during office hours increases productivity. Keeps you on your toes and makes you faster.

On Psych and Educ: Actually you'll be able to use some of those units if you do pursue LIS, especially if you chose to work in school or public libraries upon graduation. A lot of us in LIS have Psych and Educ electives and cognates.

On shifting: I see scenarios and questions. Will I shift because of my friend? Will I shift because of the advice I'll read here? Will I shift because my friend is happy in LIS? Do I have any idea of what LIS graduates do? Just sides of a coin, in reality knowing the answers may or may not help... Yeah, it really will be up to you. Maybe more time to think about it? A little bit more research? Scenario simulations? What will happen if my friend graduates? Will I still be happy? Will I go on taking up LIS? Stuff like that.

In general: From what I read it seems you're still in the process of finding yourself. So your LIS friend is a factor, what you're reading now is a factor too, but then, the decision still has to ultimately come from you. Let me share with you one thing a friend of mine at my old workplace said to me before he left, "Don't stay because of the people." I didn't agree with him. I WOULD stay because of the people. Still, another case of two sides to a coin.

On a personal note, I fell in love with LIS and the people in the profession. That made me study and stay. But then... I left... for a couple of years. Then I fell in love with LIS and the people all over again. I returned. And now I'm staying. I am happy. On the other hand, I know of successful and happy people who didn't finish college and of some similar successful and happy people who work in fields not related to what they took up in college. So it's really more of life and what you make of it.

I don't know if the above have the answers or have actually made you more confused. I'm awfully sorry if it's liberally-tinged with my personal philosophies. Your epiphany could go either way at this point. It's fence-sitting at its finest. You pick a side either by waiting to fall on your butt or by deliberately jumping off. All I know is that you are not alone and all of us are, in one way or another, on a musha-shugyo (warrior's pilgrimage). What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. If life gives you lemons, make lemon juice (cliche-ish, I know). We're showing you the sides of the coin. Now it's in your hands. You don't have to flip it. Pick it up and choose a side.

All the best,

Monday, April 26, 2010

PLAI- STRLC Summer Conference in Palawan

I will be joining the PLAI- STRLC Summer Conference in Palawan on April 28-30, 2010 as workshop facilitator. I'll be doing two sessions -- Storytelling at the Library and Creating Online Presence for the Library. It will be my first time in Palawan. As they say, one will never forget the first time.

If you are regular reader of this blog and you're attending the conference, don't be shy, say hi! See you there!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dear Librarian: Making The Right Decision

As I have mentioned in a previous post, Dear Librarian will be a new feature of this blog. In time for the blog's 5th blogversary, the first letter sender is featured bellow. The translation follows after. My response and a guest blogger's will be posted in the next few days.

Dear Ms. Zarah,

I came upon your blog via my friend. LIS major sya at malapit na syang grumaduate. 3rd year iregular sya pero, mukhang sa 2011, may diploma na sya. As for me, 3 taon ng freshman. Terrible, I know. Ewan ko ba, lito talaga ako since kumuha ako ng Psych. Tapos, lumipat ako sa Educ. Then, nagtransfer ako sa Tourism. Ngayon, di pa rin ako satisfied.

Worried na ang parents ko, pati na ang friend ko na LIS major. Kaya naman, super help sya sa akin na magtransfer sa LIS. Maganda naman ang mga grades ko. Pero, problem ko ang pagmeet ng deadlines. Nakakawili kase ang FB at internet. Working student din ako sa isang outsourcing project ng kapatid ko. Alam ko na mahalaga ang isang degree, pero, confused ako kung lilipat ba ako sa LIS dept. ng university o titgil na lang sa pag-aaral. Mukhang happy ang friend ko sa LIS course nya. At sa dating ng blog mo, panalo! Parang happy ka din maging librarian.

Bigyan mo naman ako ng payo o clue kung ang LIS nga ay para sa akin.

Salamat and more power to your blog!

Confused Freshman


Dear Miss Zarah,

I came upon your blog via my friend who is a LIS (Library and Information Science) major. My friend will soon graduate from college. She's in junior year, irregular, but it seems that she will finish by 2011. As for me, I have been a freshman for three years now. Terrible, I know. I don't really know what college course to take since I started Psychology. Then I transferred to Education. Now I am taking Tourism.

My parents are very worried as well as my friend. That's why she's convincing me and helping me transfer to LIS. My grades are good. But I'm very bad at meeting deadlines. I'm an netizen and a frequent FB user. I also sideline for my sibling who runs outsourcing projects. I know a college degree is very important but I'm confused whether to transfer in LIS or give up college entirely. My friend is happy taking up LIS and judging from your blog posts, it seems that you are satisfied at being a librarian.

Kindly give me an advice if LIS is really the course for me.

Thank you and more power to your blog!

Confused Freshman

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Foundations Supporting Libraries

Next month, I will be speaking to a group of teacher-librarians and library volunteers from the AHON Foundation on reading and the promotion of library services. This is one speaking engagement I am excited to do. The topic given to me is my favorite, something that is very close to my heart. Besides, I have been meaning to help AHON Foundation since 2008 but was too busy with regular work and family duties. I am busier actually, but this time around, I have control of my own schedule. Lastly, this is the kind of advocacy I would like myself to be involved in.

As I reckon the many strategies I can share on reading and library promotion, I could not help but marvel at the many non-government organizations (NGOs) that help libraries. Apart from AHON Foundation, there's the Good Neighbors Foundation in Montalban, Rizal that runs a children's library. The owners are Korean and they've been around for a good two years. Sambat Trust, a UK based charity, that ships children's books to school libraries in Tanauan, Batangas is another. Sambat Trust is also involved in the physical renovations of some select school libraries there. And the there's the Mini-Library Project of Bernadette Wolf. She is based in Mindoro. Together with her husband, she is working up strategies to begin a community library in Puerto Galera by coordinating with the local government unit.

Wonderful developments indeed but you and I know that growing pains go with a growing library. So what can we do? I suggest you check the links of these NGOs or search them online using your favorite browser. They need all the help they can get. A library is like a child. It takes a village to raise them!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Author of the Month: Rhandee Garlitos

I have featured and wrote about a good number of Filipino writers for children in this blog in the past. Turning five this year prompted me to make it a regular feature. So, every month the blog will have an Filipino author to meet and know about.

For this month of April, I've asked Mr. Rhandee Garlitos to answer five questions that tackle his experiences as a writer for children; the books he has published; the recent book that won him the prestigious Salanga Prize last year; and the creative process involved in his writing.

I hope you all enjoy his honest and sincere disclosure.

1. When did you start writing for children?

Before I started writing literature for children, I first became an interested reader of children’s books, and this goes all the way when I was still a young two-year-old kid. I was fascinated not only with the pictures but also with the words, trying to mouth them or when my grandfather read them to me, listening to every word that he says. Though I started writing poetry and essays when I was still in grade school, the topics I was writing about were way too “heavy” — fear, romantic love, death, sadness — something that I continued doing until I finished high school.

It was only when I was in college that I started writing literature for children, when I became a staff member of Malate, the literary magazine of De La Salle University. At the time, Rio Alma, who would become my mentor in poetry and a major influence in my writing, visited DLSU for a lecture. Adarna House, which he founded, was selling his poetry books and also children’s books that I grew up with. I started buying children’s books and wrote my first attempts to write children’s stories, with the aim of getting them published at the literary magazine. And when an announcement for a children’s book-making contest sponsored by a big publishing house was posted on one of the school bulletin boards, I decided to join, mainly out of curiosity and the experience. I asked an art staffer of my magazine to illustrate the story I will enter for the contest. Luckily, we won and months later, the first book I have written, Ang Paglalakbay ni Pepito Piso, got published in 1996, when I was only 18 years old.

2. What was your inspiration in writing May Higante?

My latest book, May Higante sa Aming Bahay, is a personal two-year writing journey towards coming up with a story that glorifies and demystifies the Filipino father. In a society where the Filipino mother is always put in a positive light and the Filipino father relegated at the background, I decided to write a story that could possibly break ground on the way the Filipino child considers an important figure in the family. The father in this story is a sketch of the father-figures in my life: my uncle Lenito Gatchalian who was a tall but gentle surgeon and loving father, and my mentor, Virgilio S. Almario (aka Rio Alma) who, despite his imposing credentials and strong voice, is a father to many Filipino young writers.

3. Describe the "creative process" you went through when writing May Higante. Did you undergo the same experience writing your other books?

It was a story that was never easy to write, mainly because of my detachment to my own father. Our relationship was like that of Shiva and Ganesh: my father is so absorbed with his own thoughts and problems so the rigors of raising a family fell to my mother, who became very over-protective and defensive, to the point of sometimes being insecure and overbearing; I was the stubborn child who protected his mother so we took all the attention and love she could give to her husband. Nevertheless, he was the guiding light that made this story possible. Too bad that he passed away not seeing this book coming to light.

Compared to my other work, it was written several times all over in a span of two years. I was carrying the idea in my head for a long time, struggling to get it done but trying to find a way to make it a fun story to read; that is, I want it to become a profound tribute without being a tear-jerker. I think that watching my own daughter growing up helped me understand the character of the father in my story. I put myself in her shoes and how she imagined me to be — a “giant” of sorts. I was literally the tallest and biggest figure in the family, my height and weight an imposing feature of me that I used as a detail to the character of my story. The rest of the details developed as time went by, but only got finalized in print in time for the deadline of the PBBY Salanga Writers’ Prize.

4. How many of your stories have been published into children's books and which is the most memorable?

I have written and translated several stories, but I was fortunate that almost all of them were turned into children’s books. Each of these books has a particular special place in my heart because I think of the rigors that come with their creation.

My first book, Ang Paglalakbay ni Pepito Piso, was memorable because it was my first children’s book. I was only 18 years old and in college when it came out in 1996. Although the story’s characters were dated, the lessons of the story are timeless — courage to discover what is new, ability to pick one’s self up from tragedy, and being rooted to your family and community.

My popular book, Chenelyn! Chenelyn!, was easiest to write. I finished writing it on the computer for only 30 minutes. The funny circumstance with this story was that it was my mother, more than anyone else, who inspired this story. I was frantic and stressed out while coming up with a story to beat the 5 p.m.-deadline for the 1997 PBBY Salanga Writers Prize, having decided to change my entry at the last minute. I kept on asking her to get things for me (something to drink and eat, a pillow, etc.) and she gladly obliged to my requests. Then I thought, why not write about a story about a maid who could do all these things and make it appear so fantastic to her ward? It was followed by ceaseless typing and after that, rushed to the PBBY office where I made it just in the nick of time, the last entry accepted for that day. The rest, as they say, is history.

I wrote Mga Lihim sa Gabi ni Ruming in verse form because of the influence of poetry in my creative writing experience. Most of my stories were written not in paragraph form, but in sentences broken into lines that simulate the appearance of a poem. This book was written out of a fascination with an image. At that time, I was still at the office at 9 p.m. when I saw the silhouette of a cat on one of the windows. I thought, what if I write about the night habits of cats? The name of the character was inspired by a cousin who frequently goes out at night, usually to drink with buddies or meet his girlfriend.

5. As a writer for children, where do you see yourself ten years from now against the backdrop of Philippine Children's Literature?

I see myself still writing books for children, enjoying the process along with fellow children’s book writers and friends, and inspiring and teaching those who would like to pursue the craft through talks, writing workshops and school visits.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It's my blog's birthday!

And it's five years old, not six as posted last week. Thanks to Von Totanes who has a better sense of time.

On it's fifth year, SLIA will feature and re-feature more interesting articles and blog posts in this side of the blogosphere. There's even a contest for avid readers and the curious first timer. So drop me a comment or an email for your questions.

Friday, April 16, 2010

When One Library Is In Trouble

Here's a searing advocacy that US librarians have set up for libraries in their country.

Save Libraries is a grassroots effort to compile information about libraries in need of our support. Save Libraries will aggregate information about current advocacy efforts, archive advocacy efforts, and provide links to resources for libraries facing cuts.

This project is being run by Lori Reed and Heather Braum. We can’t do this alone and are looking for additional help creating and maintaining the content on this site.

Please email us at savelibs (at) gmail (dot) com for questions, comments, or concerns.

Please tag your Web content with savelibraries to make it easier for us to find and collect it.

Laudable efforts go to Lori Reed and Heather Braum on going online to promote the advocacy and to gather enough awareness that would eventually pave the road for this initiative to reach US Congress.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CONTEST: Picture! Picture!

Photo of the Month

Contest Guidelines:

1. A picture is featured in the blog once a month.
2. Write an essay about the picture of the month.
3. The essay must not exceed one thousand words.
4. The essay will be judged using the following criteria: Content (30%) Composition (30%) Creativity (25%) Originality (15%)
5. Submit the essay via this email address: every 15th of the Month.
6. Winners will be announced every 30th of the month in this blog.

* For the month of April, deadline for submissions is on May 15, 2010. Announcement of winners is on May 30, 2010. Join now and happy writing!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paglaki Ko Gusto Ko Maging Manunulat o Illustrador ng Kabataan

Great news from Museo Pambata! It's an indication that Philippine Children's Literature is an established and flourishing industry. Museo Pambata will launch a new interactive room/center where kids can explore and discover their writing and illustrating talents through the activities about premier Filipino writers and illustrators for kids.

Museo Pambata and some friends (PBBY included) worked together to choose and create a short list of 6 children storybook writers and 6 illustrators to feature and include in the exhibits for the theme room.

The chosen writers are:

1. Rene O. Villanueva

2. Augie Rivera

3. Luis Gatmaitan

4. Rhandee Garlitos

5. Carla Pacis

6. Russell Molina

The chosen illustrators are the following:

1. Albert Gamos

2. Ruben de Jesus

3. Jo Anne Bereber

4. Jose Aruego

5. Robert Alejandro

6. Beth Parrocha

The room will be housing exhibits that present:

1. The type of intelligences writers and illustrators have (Theory of Multiple intelligences – Howard Gardner and Right Brain-Left Brain Theory)

2. Writers and illustrators discussing their sources of inspiration and ideas

3. The tools of trade/gadgets used and simulated work place/area

4. Samples of first manuscripts, journals, sketch pads, drawing studies, printing templates

5. Original/digitized artworks (from published works)

6. Distinction/recognition/awards

*For the writer’s corner, the interactive activities include children putting together words that complete the story text in a particular drawing.

**Other fun exhibit modules include a clothes rack where children can dress-up as characters in the storybooks as well wear headdresses of famous characters in the book.

*** There would also be a special display area for the 25 best loved characters in Philippine Children’s literature.

In the room, there would also be a tree serving as the reading area where various storybooks for children are displayed for the children to explore, read and enjoy. Making this new room possible are Adarna, Cacho, OMF, Anvil, Lampara Books and Philippine Board on Books for Young People.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy 5th Anniversary to SLIA

School Librarian In Action (SLIA) will celebrate it's 5th blog anniversary on April 19, 2010. The date being its birth in the blogosphere. On this note, I have the following blog activities and series of posts lined up in celebration of the blog's anniversary.

Picture! Picture! is a wordless post on topics that SLIA is known for and more. A picture paints a thousand words, so they say. What will make this exciting is that, it is open for readers to interpret and to write about. Guidelines will follow! And yes, dear readers, there will be prizes!

Yan Ang Pinay! will be re-resurrected as well as its banners and logos. In its original intent, Yan Ang Pinay will feature Filipino women who excel in their field of expertise and discipline. The characteristics of Pinays in Philippine Children's Literature will also regain a regular posting.

There will be an advice column entitled Dear Librarian beginning next week. Over the years, I would receive email messages asking for opinion and advice. It's about time I do something about it in light of Web 2.0 and knowledge management. What's more, I will invite colleagues from the profession who can offer their opinion and advice on the issue or topic discussed.

We'll see how far these blog activities will go. But for now, I thank you all who have supported my blog and are continuously doing so! Special mention goes to Von Totanes of Filipino Librarian. If not for his influence and inspiration, I would not have dared to venture into the blogosphere.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Librarian On TV Live!

This is for posterity. I love the make-up.

I was a guest in a TV program at PTV4/National Broadcasting Network yesterday. I was asked about books, reading, children, learning, Philippine Children's Literature, writing, KUTING, Ang INK, Alitaptap, PBBY, National Children's Book Day and the 1st National Children's Book Award. Ed Savalborro of the National Book Development Board gave inputs on the status of reading and book development in the country today.

I had a grand time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Do you blog? iBlog!

It's the 6th iBlog Summit on April 16 and 17, 2010 at Malcolm Theater, UP College of Law, UP Diliman. It will run from 8AM to 5PM.

Promote this event badge

Memories of my attendance to the 1st and 2nd iBlog Summits come rushing back. Enter sentimental music.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Paglaki ko, gusto ko maging LIBRARIAN

Along Roxas Blvd., in Manila, near the US Embassy, there stands the old Navy Officers Club. I once went there as a toddler so my mother told me. It was for a Christmas party of Navy Officers and select enlisted men. My maternal grandfather was an ensign officer in the mid-70's. My mother, on the other hand, worked as a secretary in one of the Naval offices prior to her IS Manila stint. So it goes without saying that they attended parties and functions there. I could hardly remember being there at all.

What is familiar now are my visits to the old Navy Officers Club as workshop facilitator, guest speaker and invited guest to events of PBBY and Museo Pambata. The edifice is intact and in good condition. Thanks to the local government and the Museo Pambata who has claimed the building as their abode for the past fifteen years.

Last January 16, 2010, I touched base once more with friends at Museo Pambata for their "Paglaki Ko" (When I grow up...) series of talks. I gave a short session about my life as a librarian. The group who attended my talk were kids from Montalban, Rizal. They were brought there by Good Neighbors Foundation, a Korean organization that established a public library in the Montalban area.

For my talk, I began by showing photos of me as a child and how my interests in reading, writing and the performance arts led me to a career in librarianship. I attributed my choice of vocation to my mother who is herself, a librarian too. I also showed pictures of my work places, past and present. What made the kids smile and laugh where "unlikely" photos of my librarian friends. Von Totanes flexing his biceps. Igor Cabbab spewing fire. Dir. Lou David smiling contentedly, her head nestled on a stack of books. Hermie Salazar and Evelyn Nabus confidently grinning for the camera. The kids were surprised to find out that these interesting people are librarians who are working in different agencies and institutions locally and abroad. I closed my session with a storytelling of Alamat ng Lamok from the Lola Basyang series of Christine Bellen. I think it was their most appreciated part of the talk.

After listening to my talk and storytelling, the kids had a short briefing given by Noreen Parafina of Museo Pambata. They were excited to finally roam the different sections of the museum. I wandered for a while in the museum library, admiring their decent collection of picture books and books for children and young adults.

I stayed behind chatting with the library staff of Good Neighbors. They have plenty of books in the library so they say. Their donors are very generous, indeed. But what they need are library programs to run the library's services. One program they need to plan and implement is a user education program or a library instruction program. Sadly, neither of the two staff manning the library is a librarian.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Library Blog Awards

I got this wonderful email from Peter Tobey of Salem Press --

Congratulations. Your blog has been nominated for a Library Blog Award by readers of it. You should be thrilled so many think so much of what you have to say. You are among a number of nominees that our judges will consider. Best of luck to you. We hope that our awards will publicize the most interesting, entertaining and provocative library blogs out there. For more on these awards, please go to Salem Press".

Easter brings good news, indeed! Thank you for the readers who nominated my blog. It is enough to keep me writing, posting, ruminating and sharing information relevant to librarians in the Philippines and the world!
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