Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SLIA's Reply on Storytelling Program for the Library

Here's my take on setting up a storytelling corner and implementing a Storytelling Program in the library.

Dear Augie --

Any corner in the library that is well lighted and well ventilated will do. Choose a space that is also near the picture book collection. Make it comfortable so that children would feel relaxed. Pillows and mats will make it so. What does it imply? Reading and storytelling is not stressful. No pressure. It's fun! And it should be. Unlike in the the classroom, storytelling and read alouds are done to teach a reading skill, the library storytelling sessions are all about developing a genuine love for books and reading (It sounds so cliche now, but it is how things SHOULD be).

As for the program, ideally, storytelling is integrated in the Reading class or in the pre-school literacy program.

Coordinate with the Reading teacher from schedule, time, number of kids, grade level of kids, to storytelling activities that the librarian will do. Make a storytelling plan that is similar to what the Reading teachers make. It must contain the objectives, pre-activities, storytelling proper and post-storytelling activities. When you choose stories, again, consult the Reading teacher. Is this a session for enrichment or for intervention?

If the storytelling is for an event, say, Literacy Week, UN Week, Filipino Week, draft a proposal addressed to your supervisor. Objectives, resource person, logistics, evaluation, etc. must be identified.

I suggest you visit my blog and type in the search box Storytelling. I think I have written many posts on storytelling that may help you.

Good luck in your endeavors!

Ms. Zarah

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Librarian Reply: Storytelling Program for the Library

For this month's Dear Librarian guest blogger, I have invited Ms. Ann Grace Bansig, School Librarian from the De LaSalle Santiago-Zobel School in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa. Ms. Bansig is off to Flanders, Belgium next month for a scholarship grant via the STIMULATE 10 Program. Before she leaves Manila, I asked her to participate in this blog's Dear Librarian series which she so willingly accepted.

She lends advise to Mr. Augie Ebreo's question on the planning and implementation of a Storytelling Corner at the library.

Building a storytelling corner in the library is like putting up a playpen for kids in the house. You have to select a very good spot in the library where kids could comfortably read. You also have to select nice bookshelves and additional furniture like carpet and bean bags to make the atmosphere more relaxed and conducive to reading. You could also put a decoration around it. Of course, after that, you have to select books to be displayed in that area. If your purpose is to read aesthetically (leisurely), you could have storybooks both in English and Filipino in that corner. If you have big books, you could also add those. Given all these, your storytelling corner is almost ready.

Now, how are you going to do the storytelling? Storytelling is mostly done with the Lower Grades pupils specifically Kindergarteners up to Grade 3. But sometimes, it is being conducted with the Kindergartens only. To start, you have to coordinate with the Team Leaders (level coordinators) regarding the sessions and schedules. What you can do is to incorporate it with the Library Instruction Program (LIP) if you have one.

In Zobel, the LIP is very much observed and done in the Lower Grades. We conduct it once in a month per level. Coordination is the key word here and also your willingness to implement it. In the beginning, it will look complicated and a little difficult because you have to put a lot of energy and effort to it but once you started, you have to keep it going. The kids will always ask you when they are going to have it again.

Practice and exposure in storytelling also help in honing the art of doing it. Our practice is done during outreach program with the Social Action Office where a librarian is asked to do a storytelling with the kids usually in Calatagan, Batangas. Another exposure for me personally is during transfer of our Book Mobile Project in public school where I am mostly tasked to do this. Attending seminars in storytelling also adds confidence and knowledge on techniques and strategies. Be sure to arm yourself with the necessary tools, the wit and the energy to tell stories once you decide to start. Good luck and have fun in implementing your wonderful plan!

Ms. Bansig loves to run, read and do volunteer work. She is currently enrolled in the Master's Degree Reading Education at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book Review: The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book won the The Newberry Award in 2008. I've always wondered why. I do not question his brilliance in crafting stories. I've read enough of Gaiman's work that I consider his novels, graphic and print, too edgy for the Newberry crowd.

But the Newberry jury has realized, somehow, that the young adult readers of this day and age are more risque in choice of reading materials. I say this as a hypothesis from reading winners of years past. I'm not complaining. Just wondering.

Finally, after two years of waiting, I bought a copy from my hard earned dough and understood why. The Graveyard Book is classic Gaiman- grim and macabre. Yet, it bespeaks of life blossoming. Ironic, huh? That's Gaiman. And his handling of contradictions work.

What worked
The novel begins with a mystery and ends with a mystery.

A baby, to be named as Nobody Owens later on, is the sole survivor from man Jack's slaughter of his family. He was adopted by ghosts in the town graveyard and was given a guardian. For sixteen years, he lived among the dead and learned their ways. At the given time, he learned of his real identity and set forth into the world to discover life among the living.

Gaiman's world building is exceptional. In his book, the graveyard residents have their own laws and culture. He placed Nobody Owens in the middle of all these and the reader is treated to profound commentaries on life, love and loss. Written in a very simple manner that early teens could easily read, his depiction of the dead and their after life adventures is far from superficial. I find it very philosophical. There's depth - an indicator of what a great speculative fiction must be. For example, when Nobody "Bod" Owens insists on staying in the graveyard, one resident ghost explains that death is a completion; that he needs to face life smack in the face while breathing air; this his mission is yet to be fulfilled. Another example is the judgment made by The Grey Lady at the start of the novel - the dead must have charity. Humanity is for all. Dead or alive.

In between, Gaiman provides the reader with enough clues and cues to fill the gaps in the mystery that began in Chapter One. Silas, Bod Oswens' guardian, is a shadowy character but through Gaiman's deft description of his habits and background, one would surmise that he belongs among the undead. A vampire with compassion? Come on. Believe. Or at least suspend it. Edward Cullen has an enormous sex drive.

But these are not the reasons why I think it won the Newberry. It is a given that in every Gaiman novel, the reader is mesmerized, pushed to the limit, delighted to high heavens and plunged to sadness the next. It's Gaiman's treatment of Nobody Owens, this orphan-foundling, that cliched him the award. Nobody was given a home. He was loved. He had friends. He disobeyed and made mistakes. He was made to face the consequences of his actions and was forgiven. Nobody was characterized like your typical child growing up. At the cusp of adulthood, he is more than ready to embrace life.

What did not work

While Nobody's character is solid and the supporting ones are convincing enough for me to suspend my disbelief, I wished that there's more to Silas' Honor Guards. That's all I have to say on this part of my review. Everything worked for me from structure to troupes and the motifs that Gaiman used. It's very similar to Kipling's The Jungle Book and shades of Harry Potter color the plot. Then again, it's still a unique piece of well crafted story!

The Graveyard Book gave me a lot to think about life and death. It is very much deserving of the Newberry (conceited me, I know!). At the end of the book, I ask myself if I'm ready to put go back to Coraline and American Gods. Nah... I guess I'll save up for another year to be able to buy Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants. Coraline and American Gods have to wait.

Rating: Four Bookmarks

Sources for images:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 MIBF Highlights

Despite the fury of flu and other viral infections, Zoe and I went to the Manila International Book Fair for pleasure and yes, business. She had fun and so did I.

Zoe met one of her favorite writers, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan. The good doctor gave her a free copy of his new book, Aha! May Allergy Ka Aala! (Aha! So, You Have Allergies!). She truly appreciated the gift. She was cradling and hugging the book till she got home that night. She particularly loved the special dedication for which Dr. Gatmaitan is known for doing to fans, family and friends. It read --

Bawal magka-allergy ang cute na kagaya mo. Kailan ko ulti mababasa ang bago mong kwento? Please write (and draw) some more.

With love, Tito Dok

Earlier that afternoon, I met with the PBBY board for a viewing of rare Rizaliana at the National Library of the Philippines. Zoe tagged along. There she met Dr. Gatmaitan. She was starstruck! What she remembered so well was Dr. Gatmaitan's dedication for them, she and her older sibling, Nico, on the book I bought for them by the good doctor a few years back. That book was Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel (Raquel's Amazing Hair) where Dr. Gatmaitan wrote that like Raquel's amazing hair, she and Nico have an amazing mother! How sweet!

Zoe also showed her comic books and stories with drawings to Dr. Gatmaitan. Thus his dedication to keep writing and drawing.

On that same day, I went to the Anvil booth to get a complimentary copy of After the Storm: Stories on Ondoy. Now I have something to give away as Christmas gifts to friends and family.

This year's book fair was indeed a delight to us, common folks. Yet, I could not help but comment how commercial it has all become. I discovered books so expensive I can get them at 100% less online! There were so many book launches as well for writers new and old! Vee Press and C&E Logic launched their eBooks. Seminars and lectures were all well attended and everyone, book lovers, readers and dreamers, vendors and sellers had their fill.

Congrats to one and all! Until next year! See you at the fair!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Filipino Librarians: Librarians of the NLP

Kudos to the librarians of the Filipiniana and Rare Book Collection of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP). The privileged viewing they afforded the PBBY of rare Rizaliana was an awe inspiring experience.

From L-R Ms. Rosette Crelencia; Ms. Malou Go; my daughter, Zoe who wants to be a nurse, a librarian and a writer when she grows up; and Mr. Narciso Cruz.

The PBBY went to see Jose Rizal's manuscripts -- the two novels, The Monkey and the Tortoise, his travel journals, Mi Ultimo Adios (which was written by hand on thin paper like tissue), Makamisa and more journals where his sketches and doodles appeared -- in line with the celebration of our National Heroes' sesquicentennial next year. PBBY is going Rizaliana for the 2011 National Children's Book Day!

Rare Books & Rizaliana

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Senate Bill No. 1428

A repost from Madame Fe Angela Verzosa's Facebook note -

ALL cities and municipalities nationwide should have a library or reading centers equipped with electronic library services, Sen. Loren Legarda said yesterday.

“All our public libraries should adhere to the demands of a globalized Filipino nation,” she said. Legarda noted that at present, there are only 1,136 public libraries, just a fraction of the libraries or reading centers that need to be set up in the 41,980 barangays and 1,618 cities and municipalities.

She filed Senate Bill No.1428 which tasks the National Library and Department of the Interior and Local Government to establish additional public libraries to serve all congressional districts, cities and municipalities as well as reading centers in every barangay except in cities or municipalities where there are existing public libraries or in barangays where there are existing reading centers.

SBN 1428 recommends a continuous funding for additional textbooks and the latest computer and electronic library facilities to make sure that Filipino students have access to a wide variety of up-to-date learning materials.

”The spirit of Senate Bill No. 1428 is to continuously encourage the passion for reading and seeking of new knowledge. Education is our greatest gift to the children of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow,” Legarda said.

You can download the full text of the SBN 1428 here: http://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/89767519!.pdf

Friday, September 17, 2010

Reaching Out & Reaching In

In my last visit to Tanauan, Batangas for Sambat Trust's library project there, I had the chance to meet its scholars in Sambat Elementary School. There were around fifteen of them from the grade school level. I met them at the library that Sambat Trust had set up, one of the first libraries that grew in the community. Mrs. Delante, principal of Sambat Elementary School was so thankful of this donation to the learning community there.

When the scholars arrived, I asked them their favorite book. One girl replied, Sleeping Beauty. I could not help but fracture the tale from this well loved classic. Rousing herself to sleep, apparently the wicked witch died of a heart attack and the curse was broken, she fixed up her castle and freed the dragon in the dungeon. The prince came and proved himself worthy to stand as her equal by taming the dragon himself. The kids were amused. They waited for more so I rendered stories from my repertoire.

I realized my formal Tagalog is very rusty. Filipino that's spoken in Manila is a convoluted mix of English and Tagalog. Nevertheless, I knew the kids had fun from their authentic smiles and waves of goodbye. I came to Sambat to assess the status of the library and to continue its out reach activities there. I came back to Manila with the realization that there really is a reading problem in the country.

I ask myself where to begin.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

GLEE for the Library!

The Glee cast participate in the Members Project - American Express's corporate social responsibility initiative. The banking corporation did lots of campaign ads with the Glee cast from water conservation to recycling. This on is my favorite as they help out clear the library of books for donation.

Artie and Tina mention their favorite books! And Sue Sylvester, coming around with her trademark sarcasm. Did she just call the Glee kids "READiots"?

Update on After the Storm: Stories on Ondoy

I got this update from Elbert Or, Creative Content Specialist and the gifted artist who made this blog's logo/cartoon --

...After the Storm: Stories on Ondoy by now should be out and available in bookstores.

You can also pick up your complimentary copy of the book at the Anvil Publishing booth during the Manila International Book Fair, which is happening from September 15 to 19 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia.

Yehey! I'm so excited to get my complimentary copy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who is Sambat Trust?

For the past three months, I've been involved with school library development at Tanauan, Batangas through Sambat Trust, a UK based charity that supports literacy development and education. Below is a draft write up on the organization. It's growing and accomplishing great things in small but sure steps since the past three years!

Who is Sambat Trust?

The Pied Piper of Hamelin, a folk story, teaches implicitly the importance of keeping one’s word and fulfilling a promise. With a magic flute, the Pied Piper successfully rid the town of rats for a promised reward. Sadly, the town mayor failed to do so. As a result, the Pied Piper took away from the town, its most valuable resource – its children. Indeed, the town had been freed from pestilence but it lost its joy and its future.

Keeping one’s words is as precious as valuing children.

Sambat Trust UK, a charity devoted to support literacy and education, does both. It is true to its words and believes in upholding the basic right of children to proper education and access to schooling.

Reaching Out and Giving Back

Sambat Trust UK began scholarship programs for underprivileged children in Tanauan, Batangas in 2007. It has adopted thirty-six scholars, from grade school, high school and college levels in various barangays in the area. Its founder, Mr. Anthony Mariano believes that the cycle of poverty that permeates the way of life of his kababayans (countrymen) in Tanauan can be broken through education. By providing its scholars with books, school supplies and basic tuition fees, the Sambat Trust scholars could go to school. Thus, they are given the opportunity to develop skills necessary for living a full life.

As a second generation Tanaueno, Anthony Mariano would go home to the Philippines for vacations and holidays with his parents, Eligorio and Beatrize, who were former teachers. His parents have found work and have settled in London in the 70s but the Philippines remained in their hearts. Anthony recalled one experience related by his mum. This particular story made him eager to reach out and give back. His mum related that, in one particular holiday in Tanauan, she met children as young as six and seven years old working in the streets selling mats, rags and sampaguita. A couple of years after, returning for another holiday with relatives in Tanauan, his mum observed that the situation has not changed.

Finally, visiting Tanauan in 2007, Anthony had a first hand experience of the poverty that has been slowly eating the children and the youth of Tanauan away. He had the opportunity to visit government run schools in the district, particularly, Sambat Elementary School and neighboring barangays (villages). He got to see its library, met its principals and spoke with the mayor of Tanauan for possible charity work in the area. Undaunted, he gathered the help of friends and relatives, raised funds, asked for donations and set the gears in motion. In the same year, the Sambat Trust Scholarship Programme was born along with the Sambat Trust Library Project.

To date, Sambat Trust has built five functional libraries in five schools in Tanauan namely, Sambat Elementary School, Talaga Elementary School, Santor Elementary School, Banadero Elementary School and, its current library project, Wawa Elementary School. The stages and the progress of these school libraries are being monitored and supervised on a regular basis. Photos, articles and activities about the development of these school libraries may be read and viewed at Sambat Trust’s blog: http://sambattrust.blogspot.com/

A Glimpse of Joy

Joy Villaflor is a new scholar of Sambat Trust for school year 2010-2011. She is in fifth grade at Sambat Elementary School. She lives with her parents, Benjamin and Noralyn, and her three siblings, Zeus, Eyt and Adelene in a 20 sq. meter house made of wood and cement. Everything is inside that small space – living room, kitchen, bedroom and dining room. For water, they fetch from a well that they share with a neighbor. The government rural health unit provides the family with health care much like everyone else in the community.

Benjamin has no work at all since he has been sick for a while. Noralyn is a household help earning Php 2,000.00 per month. This meager salary goes to basic needs on food, clothing and provisions for shelter. Benjamin and Noralyn could only hope for a good education for their children.

Joy, their eldest, keeps their hope alive despite limited income and resources. She goes to school every day fueled with the same dream her parents have for her.

Step by Step

Setting up school libraries and funding scholars are but two of the basic strategies that Sambat Trust has put in place to achieve its mission. The future holds so many possibilities for its beneficiaries and foster children.

In the coming years, more literacy activities are envisioned to take shape in its adopted schools. Writing contests and reading recitals; book making projects and storytelling sessions are some examples. These are activities perfect for the schools with functional libraries. Parent support is essential too. A home-learning program for parents can help a lot in establishing a learning environment for children even before they go to school. The plausibility to conduct adult education sessions that will economically empower parents of scholars is a dream as well. Tutorial sessions for scholars are being considered too. It is not enough that they go to school. A follow through on the their academic and formative development is important for a holistic approach to learning.

Sambat Trust values children. And it will keep its word.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Live Blogging: SAS-HSBC Kinder K(C)ollege Conference Day 4

Today is the fourth day of the Sa Aklat Sisikat (SAS)-HSBC Kinder K(C)ollege Conference. Last week, the whole Sunday was spent learning and relearning educational theories and psychology concepts that are essential to preschool instruction. Ms. Germelina Salumbides did a great job at encapsulating important concepts and pedagogy for preschool teaching.

On this last day of the conference Teacher Ria Tirazona of Playschool International, is providing a session on the different learning styles and strategies to understand and appreciate children with special needs. What made me sit up and listen was her presentation on the essentials of play. Here are my notes from her discussion --

Play stimulates the brain. With out play, higher thinking is impossible to achieve.

Play encourages holistic development as it covers mental and cognitive challenges; emotional and social responses; and physical experiences that contribute to good health.

There are many kinds of play - free play, guided play and directed play.

Children go through stages of play - solitary play, onlooker play, parallel play, associative play.

Responses to the different kinds and stages of play is an indicator of the child's current mental, emotional, social and developmental maturity.

Play is THERAPY.

I look back at my own childhood and recall the amount of play I did. It's never too late to catch up on lost play time.

The 31st MIBF Schedule of Events

Like in previous years, there is something for everyone in the Manila International Book Fair. Here's the link for the schedule of activities.

A slew of library seminars and fora are in place, book launch and storytelling contests. It's the same book fair fodder one might think nonetheless, the need for learning something new, relearning and unlearning and replenishing is endless.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Magic

Rocket Kapre asked for the first (few) line(s) or sentence of my favorite speculative fiction. For the novels in the list, I have taken the beginning line(s) from the first chapter and not the prologue. I would have wanted to include more short stories from anthologies I own but the books are still in boxes in a room where we've not gone back to fix after surviving Ondoy. So, for this exercise, I've culled some from current reads and rereads.

If you read closely, these first lines are all pregnant with possibilities or contain an action waiting to happen. Alfar's beginning for The Kite of Stars presents to us, a history that spans six decades of loving and longing. Some, like Zusak's The Book Theif, Dahl's The Witches, Rowling's Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban and Gaiman's Stardust start with wonder and intrigue. Enough to keep the reader to move further on in the story or novel. Others like Collins' Hunger Games, Hughes' Iron Giant and Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife prepare the reader to the mood and tone of the story.

Beginnings are beautiful things. I go back to these beginnings after reading the last line and then establish connections; create hypothesis; and yes, imagine. Such capabilities that make us truly human. We get that from READING!

And oh! Does it help to say that today is Literacy Day? What a way to celebrate it by blogging about books and the writers who've made them possible. Hurray to the publishers who put them together; the book designers and illustrators who enriched the cultural and artistic value of the book; to the booksellers and the librarians who provide accessibility; and to the reader who will always discover an intimate, if not engaging and enraging, relationship with the author.

Happy Literacy Day, everyone!

The night when she thought she would finally be a star, Maria Isabella du'l Cielo struggled to calm the trembling of her hands, reached over to cut the tether that tied her to the ground, and thought of that morning many years before when she'd first caught a glimpse of Lorenzo du Vicenzio ei Salvadore: tall, thick-browed and handsome, his eyes closed, oblivious to the cacophony of the accident waiting to occur around him.
Kite of Stars
Dean Francis Alfar

First the colors.
Then the humans.
That's usually how I see things.
Or at least, how I try.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Clare: The Library is cool and smells like carpet cleaner, although all I can see is marble.
The Time Traveller's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

When I wake up, the other side of the bed was cold.
The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.
Roald Dahl

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.
The Fellowship of the Ring
JRR Tolkien

The Iron Giant came to the top of the cliff.
The Iron Giant
Ted Hughes

There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.
Neil Gaiman

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
JK Rowling

You must understand that all of this occurred some thirteen years ago, when I was young still and the Empire had but newly begun its campaign to rid the realm of the Wildness.
Nikki Alfar

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Storytelling Using Props

Ended a fun filled storytelling session at De La Salle Zobel, Lower Grades Library for Prep students earlier today. I did not use any book. The gig was not sponsored by Anvil or any publishing house so I had the liberty to choose my stories. Writing Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories, afforded me this opportunity. My repertorie included Ibong Adarna, folk tales from the Cordilleras, draw and tell stories and yes, The Bandana Man. Shout out to Dianne de Las Casas!

For my telling of the Ifugao tale, Sallak-en and the first pomelo, I used a rainmaker and a drum (bought from Sagada) to chant my way through the story. The kids clapped and joined in the rhythm. One teacher, Teacher Aisa, shook the rainmaker as we rolled along the chant! It was fun!

Towards the end of the session, I used my malong to spice up the retelling of Ang Ibong Adarna. The kids and the adults could not help but laugh and be awed. I should really be doing this more often because, I felt like walking on air. I'm still grinning from ear to ear at the memory of this afternoon's sessions.

There are so many ways to tell stories. With out a book, I felt so free to express and communicate the meaning and relevance of the story to my kids. One teacher realized how novel the style was. Yes, I told her. I'm keeping up with the oral tradition. Our folk tales are dying and we need to resuscitate them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Live Blogging: SAS HSBC Kinder K(C)ollege Conference

I'm emceeing for Day 2 of Sa Aklat Sisikat's Kinder K(C)ollege Conference. Ms. Germs Salumbides, educator and consultant, facilitated an engaging session on Piaget and basic educational theories earlier. Now, the participants are doing small group discussions on the theories, both psychological and philosophical that has an implication in education specially, preschool level. What's effective about Ms. Germs is her practical approach to teaching backed up by theories.

Some ideas I got from her this morning --

Teach kids how to think so they can READ. Teach them how to THINK so they can read.

TV is the biggest stumbling block in symbolization. It discourages hypothesis building. Hypothesizing is essential to critical thinking.

The most human act is hypothesizing.

There are many ways to teach reading.

Use the child's vocabulary if coverage of textbook is far from his or her own experience.

The SAS- HSBC Kinder K(C)ollege Conference supports the DepEd's preschool program. The participants are fifty preschool teachers from selected public schools in the National Capitol Region (NCR).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Live Blogging: Wanted 105 Librarians

The day has come to an end. We're saying our goodbyes but participants will go back to the training hall next Saturday, 11 September for another workshop by Klasrum Adarna. Troy Lacsamana ended the day with activities and library initiatives they do in the Public Library System.

What made the afternoon interesting was the presence of Madame Beverly Gonda, Project Manager of DepEd Library Hub. She answered most of the questions that cloud the participants' mind. The presence of licensed librarians is a demand. The news is, since 2007, 105 job openings for librarians to man the hubs was made. The problem is, there are no applicants. Starting salary is salary grade twelve. The question now is this -- who is willing and committed to work in the public school system particularly in the DepEd?

Live Blogging: Madame Digna Aquino, Library Hub Coordinator

Retirement for Madame Digna Aquino was the next step after years of teaching in basic education. Destiny has other plans though. She was assigned as coordinator of the Pasig Library Hub just when she was about to throw in the towel. She was hesitant, of course. She's a teacher, not a librarian. What does she know of library management, cataloging and the technical job of a librarian? A true public servant, she accepted the job despite her fears. With enough courage, a set of leadership skills and "abilidad", she was able to seek support from the local government unit and make the Pasig Library Hub the exemplar for DepEd's project on literacy development.

I was amazed at her sprite and spunk. She has indeed made the library hub in Pasig City a living library. By developing linkages and networking, she was able to make things happen -- storytelling sessions and contests abound, donations for library furniture and library manpower came her way, political and administrative support were never wanting. The result was the participation of library clients, students, teachers and parents in making the library hub a busy center of reading and literacy activities.

Now, as participants break for lunch, I turn to the processing of Madame Digna Aquino's input. Later, they will share and articulate answers to questions I wanted them to reflect on. Speaking for myself, I could only wish for the ideal. How great it would be if all librarians innately posses the leadership skills or are trained to become leaders in their field! Impossible I know. But thanks to all the Digna Aquinos out there for showing us that dreams can be actualized. Librarian or not, we all can learn from her experience and example.

Photos from the PPLLI Conference in Vigan

Live Blogging: Klasrum Adarna - Library Hub Improvement

Adarna House celebrates its thirtieth year of being the Filipino's child's provider of his/her first books. In line with this, they have planned more projects to help the public educational system of the country. It's extending its reach and digging deep into its resources to give back and continuously make a difference.

One of these projects is the Klasrum Adarna Library Improvement Training Workshop. The DepEd Officers of the Library Hub in the National Capitol Region has graciously and willingly agreed to the partnership. From this workshop, teachers, librarians and library hub coordinators are expected to come up with exciting and enticing activities to make the lib hub in their school alive and kicking.

A few weeks back, I set up a working outline for today's workshop. On the last minute, I changed it entirely because I realized that I need to meet the lib hub personnel of each school where they are currently at. Back to the basics. The previous outline is something I can articulate with the lib hub administrators. For today's participants, I'm giving then a KISS - Keep It Sweet and Simple.

Topics for discussion this morning will include the following: Reading and the Library, Roles of Libraries and Librarians, Models of Library Operations, Activities to Promote Books, Reading and the Library. In the afternoon, we will have a workshop on concerete activities that can be done.

Ms. Digna Aquino of the Pasig Library Hub and Mr. Troy Lacsamana of the Quezon City Public Library will be providing real life success stories of library activities they've done for their library clients.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Librarians Leading & Collaborating for a Reading Culture

My two sessions on the importance of Reading in a Digital World ended this afternoon. The participants had a workshop on the IFLA Internet Manifesto right after lunch. They read through the document and discussed programs and services in the library that they've been implementing. These had to be in congruent to the manifesto. The output of each group was given back to Ms. Evelyn Nabus and Mrs. Susima Gonzales. It will be part of the feedback document that PLAI will send to IFLA.

There was a good number of male librarians in the audience. I particularly asked them to report for the group. What's noticeable though was the different stages and levels of library needs and problems that participants brought up in the open. Some librarians are still in conceptualization stage of adapting Internet services. Most have set up Internet stations in their libraries. The expected issues on budget and staffing, constraints in time and support from the administration cropped up. To this, I had to segue to optimism and leadership skills. Problems will remain problems unless acted upon.

There are also non-librarians in the group who were assigned library duties. Sir Egay Castillo of Cebu is one. He's very willing to learn on the job though. His enthusiasm is contagious! Here's wishing him all the luck he needs in running the public library in Cebu.

Will be posting more photos and some output from the groups during the first session.

Live Blogging: Librarians Leading & Collaborating for a Reading Culture

Vigan is beautiful. The sky is gray, but Hotel Salcedo is an impressive venue for the conference sponsored by the Philippine Public Librarians League, Inc.

It's Day 2 of the conference and I will be discussing reading and its importance in the digital age. I will also be presenting and workshopping the IFLA Internet Manifesto. The wifi is working well at the second floor and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's the same in the conference hall. I will depend heavily on online resources for my presentation apart from the PowerPoint I've prepared. Atty. Andrea Pasion-Flores of the National Book Development Board, will also be in the conference to speak about the status of reading in the country.

Will continue posting for updates.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dear Librarian: Storytelling Program for the Library

Our letter sender for this month's Dear Librarian post came from Augie Ebreo of the University of Batangas.

Dear Ms. Zarah,

Please ... excuse me ma'am. May I ask for your help on how to build and operate a Storytelling Corner inside the Library?

Will send my reply and a guest blogger's in the next few days.
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