Monday, February 28, 2011

When Reading is an Act of Love

When Carla Pacis invited me to do a workshop on literacy development, the importance of reading and storytelling to parents of St. John La Salle Preschool, I immediately said yes -- without second thoughts. The home is a child's first school and the parents are his/her first teachers. And boy, every school MUST collaborate with parents and every parent NEED allies to raise a child. As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.

So Carla and I met with Chichi Ferrer, cooridinator of the De La Salle Univeristy-Taft run St. John La Salle Preschool. If you put three women whose common advocacy is literacy development, there must be good coffee. Plans were laid out and it wheeled along smoothly on the day of the workshop. There were, more or less, thirty parents (five daddies were present) who attended. They were ready and eager to participate.

I brought my storytelling stuff, of course, and donated story books to the school so Chichi and her teachers can start a lending library.

At the workshop, parents read stories, told stories and WROTE some too!

They also discussed their views on reading, books and learning in general. I had to emphasize how reading and literacy is a RIGHT that must be claimed and that no child should be deprived of this.

It is always a joy to see grown-ups engrossed in books! I used mostly local books published by Adarna House, Lampara, LG & M and Hiyas. The parents were very attentive and analytical. Some gave comments, good and otherwise on the books they read. We closed the workshop with group presentations on their selected books for read aloud and storytelling.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My First Author Visit @ Miriam College Grade School

 My first author visit at Miriam College Grade School was sponsored by Anvil Publishing House. I have an essay that landed in Elbert Or's After the Storm published by Anvil last year (2010). I included the book in the show-tell part of the talk. I told a story also, from Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk stories and shared about the writing process to the grade four students. I had three batches of 140 grade four gilrs!

The banner that Miriam College GS Dept. prepared for my welcome!

I gave writing activities too for the girls. Got great feedback from Ms. Monette Basco, Reading Coordinator. Best of all, from the girls because many lined up after for my autograph. I could not believe I was signing their journals and notebooks!

Of course I was nervous at the start! Who wouldn't be? But it turned out really great because the girls were able to write drafts of a possible short story that they can work on later.

This is what I love best -- telling stories! Writing is not easy work, really but I look forward to my next author visit. It is such a joy to be with kids who are interested to listen, dream, write and share stories.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Gift of Literacy is a Gift of Love

I have written about Sambat Trust in a previous post. It now has a spankingly new website by David Millward.

The charity is on it's way to building its next school library. People around the globe are making a donation. Giving is a gift of love. Give love to literacy development. Check Sambat Trust's website for donation procedures.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Author of the Month: Dianne de Las Casas Loves Libraries

After a week long feature on Filipino librarians and their loves, here's the interview I had with the one and the only, Dianne de Las Casas, lover of words, stories and libraries! Librarians are her natural allies. Because of this, she was inspired to write a book, There's A Dragon In the Library!  It's her newest book that explores the imaginative power of childhood and how libraries contribute to its growth and development.

With Meinard Cruz of Scholastic Book Fairs Philippines. Dianne is awarded a plaque of appreciation for her marvelous work and contribution to literacy development

In this interview, Dianne speaks of the many wonderful rewards she's gained through storytelling and shares the creative process she went through writing her new book. She also mentions Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories, a book in progress that she and I worked on in 2010. We're targeting a Fall 2011 release in the US and hopefully, by December, Dianne and I can share the Tales From the 7,000 Isles to many Filipino children here in Manila. 

Dianne has a fantastic website. Visit Story Connection for news, storytelling tips, book activities that go along with her stories and books, videos of Dianne and announcements on the launching of her future books.

When did the idea of writing books start? Was it a childhood dream? 

Writing books for children was a childhood dream! I can remember as far back as second grade wanting to write books for kids. Books were always so magical to me. I loved getting lost in the words and exploring new worlds. One of my teachers, my 7th and 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Good, believed in me and encouraged me. I dedicated one of my books to her and even put her as a character in my new book, There's a Dragon in the Library.

Dianne walking along side an old Igorot woman whom she met in Sagada  (May 2010)

How many published books do you have under your belt? What book is the most memorable to write? And why?

Thus far, I have 12 books. By the end of 2011, I will have 18 books. Every book goes through a different process. Some take longer than others. Some come to me at the drop of a hat. The draft of my new book, There's a Dragon in the Library, was written in one night. I was inspired by a visit to the library where the librarian had a dragon's egg on her bookshelf. I began asking, "What if?" That "what if" grew into a fantastical story about a boy who discovered a book-eating dragon in the library. The manuscript didn't go anywhere for several years and it changed a little during the editing process but the essence of the story remained the same. I love this book because it is a tribute to libraries, librarians, and books.

Working on Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories was memorable because I traveled all over the Philippines to collect stories and experience the various cultures of my motherland. As a Filipina-American, I have a very special connection to this book. I definitely feel closer to the Philippines because of the book and I had a phenomenal co-author!! 

How does your work as storyteller help or aid in book writing?

I didn't get my first book published until after I was a professional storyteller for a number of years. I definitely attribute that to my skills as a storyteller. Being a storyteller allowed me to "season" my stories in front of live audiences and really hone them. I knew what worked and what didn't work through the process of trial and error. Storytelling also helped me to narrow my focus and specialize - audience participation is what I do best. This translates very well into children's picture books. Storytelling also allowed me to build a fan base that became a built-in market for my books.

What is the book (already published and out in the market) that you wish you have written?

Oh my goodness! I wish I had written Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is one of my absolute favorite books and one of the books that made me decide as a child, that I really wanted to be an author "when I grew up." I love Roald Dahl's ability to create characters that, no matter how fantastical they may seem, children can always relate to them. Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryis one of the most original "Rags to Riches" stories ever made. Charlie is a likeable, unlikely hero. My connection to this book and my love for chocolate prompted me to write Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate, which publishes in September 2011.

Dianne during a workshop in Manila, Philipines (May 2010). She plays with a puppet of Madame Poulet to the delight of participants - teachers, librarians, parents, care givers, and allied professionals.
What advice can you share with your fans and readers?

My advice for anyone is to find your passion and then find a way to live your passion. When you discover what you are meant to do in life, happiness bubbles up like a mountain spring. You will erupt with joy and that joy will flow to others. Someone once told me, "Enthusiasm is contagious." When you love what you do, it will show. That, in turn, will inspire others. I leave you with my life's mantra:

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined..." - Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dealing With Reality

One blog post by a guest blogger in this blog got this remarkable response from Laughrarian, a Filipino Blograrian. The blogger critics the feel-good slant of Angelic Bautista's write up on the many roles librarians can portray. Or play. Choose your own word.
I find the critic smart and honest. But I had to give my own piece of mind. Read the quoted text below --
Dear Laughrarian, 
I like your arguments and reaction to the essay/write up of one librarian who graciously and generously shared her opinion and feelings towards her chosen profession in my blog. Indeed, you have a critical eye.
But may I suggest that you read the post again? Should you take a second read, may I request that you step away from your own plate just this once and attempt to see where the librarian who wrote the blog post is coming from.
Sadly, I could not help myself but tell you this — she is not speaking about herself as one librarian, but collectively about the work that librarians do. She was, on her part, likening librarianship to other professions as a statement that librarians are at par with lawyers, doctors, accountants, teachers, guidance counsellors, etc. The whole point of the paragraph is to show other readers, non-librarians especially, that the LIS profession has a lot to offer. Librarians can establish a niche in the LIS profession and by so doing, they develop a highly specialized set of skills and competencies that can change the learning communities the library serves.
That is the reason why her write up ended up in the blog.
Laughrarian says that the the profession has a lot of problems. That he is not running away. That he will deal with reality. I wonder, apart from blogging his objective views on the profession, how he will do it?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love a Librarian: Pinoy Librarian Idol

Audrey Anday, librarian and independent researcher wrote about her librarian idol, Vilma Anday. This essay is more than a reflection on Audrey's great love. It is her homage to her mother who passed away a couple of years back due to cancer. 

Audrey Anday is completing a
scholarship grant in Europe (2010-2012)
Love transcends time and space. And yes, it conquers all. Even death.

What it means to rise above the librarian Idol?  

To some the word Idol may connote positive impressions and to some it may mean negatively since to have an idol is to have something or someone to worship. So as not to be confused, I searched online on the meaning that would set the tone for this essay. I choose this definition of Idol from all that was provided in : "an ideal instance; a perfect embodiment of a concept" or a person or thing greatly loved or adored.  

When I was requested by my former classmate (MLIS, UP Diliman)  and good friend Zarah Gagatiga to write something for her blog, I had mixed emotions. This was not the first time she requested me to write something and be one of her guest contributors for her blog. I would always politely say, I will try but never made one for her, so now I hope to write one.

Choosing from among the "topics" she gave us, I was moved to write about this "librarian idol" whom I was blessed to know and love - my mama - Vilma Anday. 

She was a simple woman who had dreamt of finishing a good degree because she knew that education is the only treasure that can not be taken away from her. She did everything she could to achieve her dreams, even if that would mean living away from her family, being independent while living with her not so close relatives, sharing household chores and work  as student assistant to make both ends meet. She strived hard to reach her goal and yet remain grounded on her values and principles. She did not changed so much in terms of her attitude and view of how she should live her life.  

Vilma Anday with classmates from High School
From being a library student assistant, she rose among the ranks and attained the top level management position through hard work and perseverance. She always shared with me that you need to pass through every step of the ladder and such climb is not easy one. She has always believed in going through the proper process, no favoritism, no red tapes, just pure and sincere accomplishment of what is asked of her.  It is not mere luck that you are where you are, it is the sum of all that you have done, training that you have attended with the drive to complete the tasks at hand.   She was never afraid to learn new things. She was trained to become an educator but she became a professional librarian after being exempted from taking the Board Exam for Librarians. She continued her studies while juggling with her many roles as a mother, a teacher, a colleague, a friend, a sister and a daughter who served God during church services and remained an industrious student who had always been open to ideas and perspectives. She was not a techno-savy librarian but she read and wrote about many things about her expertise and has a good grasp of the core information she needed to explain how such techno related stuff should be done.  

And I saw her perform all those duties and responsibilities with such great poise and patience and grace.

Professionally, she had always exuded that aura of an "ideal" librarian who never came to work late, never wanted to be served, open to whatever her subordinates opinions and suggestions were. She never raised her voice in discussion, calm and level headed even during arguments. She was a good team player and a team leader. As a staff, I saw how she respected her supervisors and as a manager, I saw how she remained humble and rooted to that fact that, a top position is merely an icing on top of the cake and the important core is that she is a librarian who is expected to perform as one.

She was aware of her strengths and admitted her weakness and still valued contribution of others for the benefit of the whole group. Power had never been her weapon to look down on people and press them down, instead she used it to help people become better individuals by trusting them as her co-equal and believing in their own capabilities and talents.  

Audrey with Mom, Vilma
Personally, she has played her role as mother in the same manner she has played her role in the professional arena but with more compassion and the kindness of heart. She rarely scolded her children. She embraced them in spite of their imperfections and acknowledges the diversity their personalities. She cried with them during clashes of ideas and arguments but still loves them just the same. She tried her best to treat them fairly and equally and understood their diverse moods and sentiments.

Similarly I saw how patient and submissive she was to her husband too. How she valued her husband as her partner, not wanting to rule over him in his absence in the home, how she remained contented with her achievement and not wanting to attain more to surpass every milestone except to see her family safe, well provided for and secured in their home. She had so many opportunities of landing a high paying job outside her workplace, but she choosed to live a simple life in the company of her family and colleagues. Looking back now, she was happy with her choices.

I remember when I was young, every time they found out I am related to her, I feel like I am an important person. Little did I know that until I grow up being related to her would land me in the same profession. Many have told me I must really have idolized her that I was following her footsteps. I sometimes find it hard to accept and believe because I had my own dreams, and I was trying to make my own path. I admit it was quite difficult to move out of her shadow and prove my own worth but looking back at how she has lived her life I am so blessed and privileged to be with my idol.

Given that chance to serve her, take care of her, talk to her and spend her last few moments with me, I came to that realization, no matter how I avoided things, I will be forever connected to her, and somehow I am 90% like her in every way since I came from her.  I am so blessed to have that intimate encounter with her where I get to know not only her mind but her heart as well. I thought I did not want to be like her because I knew for a fact that I am so much her opposite. But my involvement during her last few months showed me the most important lesson of my life, she has always thought of herself last, even if she needed to think of how she could recover and feel better, she was still performing her great passion, being of service to her family and her community...she remained my mother...our interests, our feelings and our concerns are always above hers.

Even if she was about to go, she was praying that God still extends her life for us. I saw how big her heart was to accommodate not only her family but so many other people more. I also saw how big her mind was, to understand and know which things should matter most in life.  She practiced what she has learned inside their home, applied lessons from her school and relationships and lived the faith she profess be it in her personal and professional life. She has always shared with me that no matter what field you play in, there will be forever struggles and intrigues, pains and sorrows and that one should not be disheartened. As long as you know yourself, you perform your role in the way you know and yet still open to suggestions for improvement, you will find that the passion to excel in all you do will not die down, instead it will lead you to where you should be.

I did not dream to be a librarian like my mother who did not really planned to be like one too. I realize we both wanted to be teachers but fate brought us where we should be. Now that she “graduated” from life, I feel bad not having around to confide my personal and professional thoughts with. But during such silent contemplation and reflection, her life truly serves as an inspiration for me to follow.

Vilma Anday with the
Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. BOT
Though I might not live to be like her even 1% of who she was and what she has attained, I know I learned a lot from her through the wisdom she has shared. She fought a good fight, lived a good life and until the end, silently and gracefully walked towards the light that led her to the final destination...the real home where nothing else matters but love and great love.  

To my Mama, who has been the greatest gift that I have received, thank you for showing me what it takes not only to be good person but exemplify how a true professional should think, act and stand in times of jubilation and in times of struggles and challenges. To some you are not a perfect embodiment of a person to admire or idolize but to me, you are one Pinoy Librarian Idol I am proud to say I shared many good memories and had close encounters with.

I love you Mama...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Love a Librarian: LOVErarian

It is bizarre for librarians not to love books and reading. Pity the community the library serves if it has in its midst, a librarian who does not READ at all.

Micaella Gonzales of the Filipinas Heritage Library shares her passion for books and the written word. This love triangle, books, librarian and reading, is an exciting romance that is much explored and yet, something that the world will never tire of ruminating. Yes, even in this age of e-reading, a librarian's genuine love for books and reading remains.

*ilovebooks* - my password for all social networking sites I have, once upon a time, heard about, become interested in, and am currently, actively, connected to. NO, I have not changed my password as of the moment you are reading this. So go ahead, try your hacking skills.

I love books, plainly and simply said. The gift was passed on to me by (yes, you guessed it right) my mother who is a book-lover herself.  She used to give me children’s books after children’s books which, fortunately, I managed not to wreck. I was careful with my books – a librarian in the making eh?

Turning point.

First year high school, I was given an 800+ page book to read.

Title: The Stand / Author: Stephen King

Stephen King is called the “Master of Horror”. He is known for thick-paged books laden with intricately depicted out of the world tales. He will make you experience the extraordinary in a vivid and rich story telling.

And I, Micaella, am a humble servant of the “Master of Horror”.

I am not going to say I don’t know why I love his books. This, I think, is all BS because there is always a reason why you love someone/something.

Horror – some hate it while others love it. I love it. The thrill and the suspense just make the story more intense and exciting. My love for horror transcends books, movies, and mere story telling with others. I do get scared after such an encounter with the scary. I am no “brave heart”. Lights remain on in the room. Lesser solo moments going to creepy places because, boy, my mind would imagine anything It could to scare myself!

Past midnight (when almost everyone else is sleeping, except for the others like me who enjoy the solitude of the hours between 12am to 4am), is my favorite reading time. That is when I zone in, no interruptions, no “commercial breaks”, except for the vocabulary breaks when I check my pocket dictionary to get to know a word for future use.

Mama has a pretty good collection of Stephen King books, aside from the hundreds she also owns. I remember her bringing me to book sales which I used to hate as a kid because of the long time it usually took her to browse the store’s collection. I never thought I would grow up to be just like her, a sucker for book sales. In college, one of my favorite spots in UP was the AS Walk where book stalls stood (not sure if they are still there).

My quiet place and my reward place, those are books stores to me. A weird habit I had in college was passing by the book stalls at the AS Walk before a report or exam in class if the room is just nearby. Surprisingly, the nerves dissipate. And when it feels like I have done something worth giving a reward, a book is top of the list.

So, ever since graduating from elementary and from children’s books filled with awe-inspiring pictures and from big lettered paperbacks, my fascination in life has taken on, not a different road, but a different ride on the road. My love for books was kindred by children’s books (I still very much enjoy them) and it continuously grows, unfaltering. That is love, is it not?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love a Librarian: Living and Loving the Challenges of the LIS Profession

Darrel Friend as many people call him graduated from UP SLIS 2009. He is currently enrolled in the MLIS program of the UP School of Library and Information Science. He is a lower Grades Readers' Services Librarian of De La Salle Zobel since 2009. He is a storyteller; blogger; friend and yes, demigod.

He writes about the unending challenges of being a librarian. This he experienced early on as a LIS major at the UP Diliman. Now, he has learned to live and love every bit of challenge that the profession throws upon his path.

As I have mentioned in some of my posts, I never really dreamed of becoming a librarian and honestly, I was never really a fan of books. They were just a waste of time for me. I'd rather be watching a movie or sleeping than straining my eyes with those lines which I did not appreciate. BUT. That was way before. I've changed [I think!]. And this pivotal event in my life took place when I was still in college, trying to enjoy the best of both worlds: studying and partying [in the sense of having fun, enjoying extra-curricular activities, non-acad stuff and the likes].

[Don't worry, I would not elaborate much on the "studying" part because I know, I know, it seems a boring topic]. Studying means complying with all the academic requirements, the tedious jobs of researching [when in reality I was just surfing the Net for Mangas] and then submitting a one-page paper [well, that was what I remember as far as abstracting is concerned. Accuracy. Brevity. Clarity. Peace. Serenity (and I sounded like Fergie)]. I could still remember the nights of cramming. Attending classes in just cargo shorts and flops. Treading the campus from end to end just to realize that you didn't have a class. Well, that was how my life as a plain college student went. But I was never a just-a-plain college student.

What made my life in college worthwhile and what made me stay in LIS and eventually pursue a career as a librarian, as far as I could say and as honestly as I could explain, is being part of an organization: UP FLIPP, or the University of the Philippines Future Library and Information Professional of the Philippines.

I could still remember when ate LC Fernandez [in her jumper and thick glasses] and Veronica Silagpo[the girl with a boyish attitude, which scared me] approached me along the then UP ILIS corridors asking me if I have some time for an orientation. I declined the invitation because I said [as an excuse] that I still have a next class. Those were the days that I was still totally doubtful of my course. The usual scenario in a General Education [GE] class went like:

Classmate: What's your course?
Me: (with hesitations) LIS
Classmate: What's that?
Me: Library and Information Science
Classmates: Ooooh. So you love reading?
Me: (...)

I thought to myself that it would have been a hell lot easier if I told them that my course is BA or Eng'g or ComSci!!! That was why I conditioned myself that I would soon get out of that college [ILIS] and shift to a better-sounding course [BA or something engineering]. But since ate LC and Veron were too eager, they tried to invite me once again for an orientation of what their organization is all about. And this time, I gave in.

Of course, I underwent the usual application process before one is admitted to the organization: number of tambay hours, sigsheets, activities, etc. But I guess what made UPFLIPP different was the fact that one would not feel alone in the course of application. More so, one is not left alone in the crusade of uplifting the field of Library and Information Science and upholding our rights to be called as professionals. I suddenly realized that we all come from a common ground and are directed to a common goal: the fact that we want to change the view of people towards librarianship and to break the bad stereotypes that have been associated with librarians.
I think that is why up until now I choose to stay in the LIS profession. Aside from the fact that being a library and information professional is not a dead-end job, and the law of supply and demand dictates that if there is a high demand [for librarians] and low supply [of licensed librarians], unemployment would not be a problem, the field of library and information science continues to pose challenges. As information continues to evolve and develop, the role of librarians continues to adapt to changes as well. [Wait, why am I being so serious? Ha Ha] Likewise, aside from the fact that I am enjoying my work with my "kids" around is the reality that my friends and orgmates are and will always be there, upholding the same principles we share and continue uplifting our course and our profession.

Nowadays, if people ask me what I do for a living, I proudly and humbly say that:
I am a [Demigod] Librarian *wink*

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love a Librarian: Loving the LIS Profession in Many Ways

Today's Love a Librarian feature is Ms. Angelic Bautista. She describes herself as a subversive school librarian, book enthusiast, a reading advocate who runs around with stilettos by day and a coffee drinker by night. She sharpens her pencil in between.

She reflects on the many roles librarians play and how, by loving the profession, love is shown in many ways.

The new era librarians have taken the information world by storm! We succeeded drastically in changing the way people look at us. We surprise people when we introduce ourselves as librarians. “Really, you are a librarian? You don’t seem to look like one!” Have you heard that? Sound like music to our ears, right?. 

We librarians could play a long list of professions. To name a few, We are like pharmacist when we provide what our users asked for. Like doctors, we do follow ups. Lawyers, when we give justice to the materials that we provide. IT professionals, when we are becoming more and more computer literate. Accountants, when we determine our library’s assets and liabilities. Statisticians, in the way we generate our user’s statistics. Guidance counselors, in the way we handle bibliotherapy. We are also like teachers the way we do our storytelling and library instruction program. Not having to mention our artistic skills in library marketing. All these rolled in one with our curiosity, wide-ranging knowledge, good memory, organization and analytical aptitude, and discretion

We radically change as the world change. The best part of it, we can change the lives of many individual through this craft of reaching to them either through the dust or the mouse. We take part in the success of the many and though they don’t know our real value, we always take venture to our own desire to instill the love of reading.  We do not build libraries, we make one. 

This is what I am and will always be proud of.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Love a Librarian: When Given the Chance, Make the Choice!

Madame Fe Angela Verzosa's first love is history. Then again, the LIS profession has given her the opportunity to pursue her first love and has become one of the revered voices in Library and Archives Management and Preservation. She writes so eloquently of that first time when the opportunity to work in the library came a knocking!

Becoming a librarian was the farthest thing on my mind when I was in college pursuing a liberal arts degree in History.  My ambition then was to follow the footsteps of Herodotus, notEratosthenesBut, admittedly, I enjoyed immensely my short stint as a student assistant at the UP Main Library and at the Student Union in 1964-5.  For two semesters, I carried tons of books for Circulation readers, and dug into the Serials stacks searching for missing periodical issues on request.  And, for one whole summer, I was detailed at the Student Union building, organizing a small book collection at the Lounge’s Browsing Library (where library patrons could eat and drink, even smoke!), and ran after students taking out the current issues of newspapers and popular magazines from the rack.  After graduation, I embarked on a full-time teaching career.

I started working in the library again, in 1967 when I was asked by Dr. Serafin D. Quiason, newly appointed Library Director, to work on the joint project of the University of Michigan and the National Library on the organization and microfilming of the Quezon Papers under the direction of Dr. Isagani R. Medina, who was then on sabbatical leave from the UP Library.  I thought then it was “cool” working in the library again, and with “Sir Gani”, my favorite librarian at UP.  And, who could say no when your former History Professor and Adviser (Dr. Quiason) visits you at home and offers you a job that allows you to work on primary historical sources and to learn new skills in preserving rare manuscripts?  Plus, I had the opportunity to teach History at Lyceum of the Philippines as part-time lecturer in the evening, since it was only walking distance from work.  I had the time of my life - having the best of both worlds!

So everyday for two years, I woke up at dawn to be an hour early at work at the National Library’s Filipiniana Division, and to be surrounded by rare books and manuscripts.  I was completely engrossed in work that on one occasion, I was locked up inside (there was no warning then of closing time) and it took almost midnight before I was fetched by Mrs. Benita de la Rosa, the Chief Filipiniana Librarian (who was the only one who held the keys to the room, and at the time she was notified, she just arrived home from a late movie show).  When the project was nearly completed, I thought I would be going back to full- time teaching, until Miss Marina Dayrit convinced me to help set up the Microfilm Section at the UP Main Library and to organize the Carlos P. Romulo Papers.

From thereon, one opportunity after another, the challenges of working with special library collections and preserving them for posterity were too irresistible to refuse.  There was no looking back.  There was only looking forward.  Whether destiny happens by chance or by choice is of no consequence, because when the chances came, I chose.  And that’s how I became a Librarian, and until now, loving and embracing the profession I chose, with open arms.

This is a picture of me at the top of Mt. Samat, feeling high, because it was taken at the time I just received my new appointment as Library Director of De La Salle University in May 1994.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Love a Librarian: Staying On! Staying Strong!

I have met many Filipino Librarians who became librarians by chance. Ann Grace Bansig is one of them. In this post, she reflects on the many rewards she had been given by being a school librarian.

Grace has been to Belguim to complete a scholarship grant for young LIS professionals. She is now working as the Upper Grades Readers’ Services Librarian in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School. Currently taking Master’s in Reading Education and a volunteer for the ATD Fourth World Philippines. She just started blogging at  

Becoming a librarian never entered my mind when I started my college education. While filling up the UPCAT application form, I chose the following courses: Chemical Engineering and Journalism, very far from librarianship! I forgot the courses I chose for another campus though. Luckily, I passed and even got in at the College of Engineering! Two years after, I don’t want to stay at the college anymore but I didn't know where to go?

I only submitted applications to two other colleges, or rather school as I tried to shift direction in my future career path.  One was the School of Social Work and Community Development and second, the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), then Institute of Library and Information Science (ILIS).  That was the time that I discovered the course. So, to make it short, I made it at the SLIS and right now, I work as a school librarian. Phew! What a way to discover my career. I’d say I am an accidental librarian, but I don’t regret it. During those times, many engineering students are shifting out from Engineering and trying their luck in ILIS. So, thanks to ILIS for accepting me as a shiftee student and for giving me the chance of becoming one of the librarians today. While I was a LIS student, I discovered simultaneously what a paradise the library is and what a joy reading is! Well, that happened maybe because I was deprived of books in public schools that I have attended before. Still, it was never too late to catch up on reading. One can say that I read a lot because of my profession. But the thing is, even if I’m not in this profession I will still read for leisure.

Why I love the profession and still practicing it until now? For one, I really enjoy being a librarian. I like helping children in the library, assisting them if they need a particular book, suggesting books and acquiring books suited for their level. Doing storytelling sometimes is also one of the jobs that I like to do. It is always a joy to interact with kids and discuss some books. I even moderate a book club. In the library, whenever the kids learn that I also read the book that they borrow, they really got amazed! So I can say now that my relationship with books gets deeper and wider the more that I stay in this profession. And I know that I will never get tired of doing my job like selecting books, reading them and sharing them with the patrons. With the emergence of technology, I also take the challenge of encouraging children to read and imparting with them the importance of reading and books. Not only as a profession, but personally I also advocate spreading the love for reading and developing life-long readers. For as long as books exist and there are readers that use the library, I will stay in this profession!

In the future, I would like to blog about books and other interesting stuff about libraries and librarians. I also believe that there are things I can contribute for the betterment of librarianship.

More power to all Filipino Librarians! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love a Librarian: Pinay Librarian in the Land of Auss

Today's Love a Librarian feature is Mrs. Placida Socorro Lim-Limpin. Known to friends and colleagues as Peachy, she is based in Melbourne, Australia working as librarian at a training institute for adult learners. Before Melbourne, she has notable accomplishments in Philippine librarianship. She earned a spot in the Top 10 Licensure Exam for Librarians; was part of the group that organized and founded PNU LISSAA, the alumni association of Library and Information Science students of PNU; wrote a regular article on technology in the Manila Bulletin to mention a few. Peachy has recently been to the country for a paper presentation on cataloging during the 4th Rizal Library International Library and Information Science conference at the Ateneo de Manila University. She may be physically in Australia but the Philippines is in the heart.

For this blog carnival, Peachy preferred to answer all the questions sent to her instead of taking up one and developing it in an essay or reflection. Nonetheless, the result is heartfelt and sincere, like a sister or a dear friend, confiding and sharing life's lessons learned through experience and the living of each meaningful moment.

In response to Zarah’s request, where she sent a list of questions for me to answer, here are some things I don’t mind sharing with you.

What made me stay in the LIS profession and why

I’m a “been there and back again librarian”, having left the confines of a library to teach in an actual classroom and at university at that. But what made me go back to the librarianship was the basic fact that I don’t get to bring home work with me! And that in itself is a great relief.

I tried my hand at writing as well but didn’t want to go full time because it meant long nights and plenty of travels, which I wouldn’t mind if I had no kids to look after. So, yes, the routines of being a librarian, the work that goes with it, and especially the privilege of reading a new book first are my main reasons for staying a librarian.

On the book that changed my life

It’s really nothing profound, but the book that has changed not exactly my life, but my perspective of life is “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.

Who is my librarian idol and why

I don’t exactly idolize any librarian but I do have a list of librarians I have high regards for but so as not to offend and risk the relationships I have with those NOT on my list, they shall remain nameless but can be shared privately on request. I know, it’s cheeky! J. Buh, humbug!

 Advise to LIS students especially those who are about to graduate

After graduation and on your first job, you’ll realize that much of the things you’ll find out at work you weren’t taught in library school. Sure you’ve done well in school doesn’t mean you’ll do well at work, too. Because the measures by which you were evaluated at school are so much different to the measures you will be evaluated at work. So start learning to build relationships and to keep these relationships because in the long run, these relationships you have built overtime will be the foundations of a rewarding career and a fruitful life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love a Librarian: This is NOT Acrostic (aka Hindi Ako Beauty Queen)

It's Valentines Day. To celebrate this day of love, the blog will feature five librarians who answered my call to share their feelings and passion towards the LIS (Library and Information Science) profession. In an email I sent two weeks ago to more than fourteen LIS professionals, only five found the courage to write and express their inner most feelings and openly share it to the public. 

It's an interesting revelation how strong and ardent their feelings are towards the practice of LIS; how one librarian could make a great influence to another person; how, in practicing LIS, one has found meaning in life. Beginning today and the next four more, readers of the blog will be treated to essays, reflections and yes, poetry by librarians on one of their many loves -- being a librarian and loving it.

Dean Igor Cabbab of the University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies has cut first blood. Here he shares a poem written in Filipino on staying on in the LIS profession, and how, for many years, he has wandered away only to find himself drawn back again. Love is lovelier the second time around, indeed!

10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Igor Cabbab is (or once was) a guitarist, a drummer, a singer, a rapper, a martial artist, a skill toy and yoyo professional, a fire-breather, an ethnic woven-cloth painter (weird, I know, I painted paisley patterns on cloth for export), a poet, a writer, an editor, a comic book professional, an events photographer, a theater tech director, a graphic artist, a website designer, and many more. For some unknown reason he's also a college professor and the Dean of the UP School of Library and Information Science (UP SLIS, celebrating its 50th year, *uber-shameless plug*)

This is NOT Acrostic
(aka Hindi Ako Beauty Queen)

by Igor Cabbab

Kumakahol ang tuta
Ng kapit-bahay ngayong gabi
Nakakainis na nakaka-awa
Baka naje-jebs o nawi-wiwi
Ilang pagkakataon, Ilang ulit
Ilang beses inisip
Kung bakit umalis
At kung bakit bumalik
Ewan ko ba
Kung ano ang dahilan
Ilang beses ko na nga ba
Ito pinag-isipan
Institusyon ba
O mga tao?
Mga Istudyante?
Mga katrabaho?
Klase, computer
Istudyanteng umiiyak
Thesis, test paper
Pedicab na di-padyak
Lecture dito, seminar doon
Hands-on na madugo
Workshop sa kung saan
"...and Beyond..." patungo
Sandamukal na libro
Alikabok ang nasisinghot
Pasaway na istudyante
Rason ba kung ba't ako'y nakasimangot?

Ewan... (Dunno...)

Basta... (Just Because...)

Nandito lang ako... (I'm here... To stay...)



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