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.