Monday, April 30, 2012

The 1st Klasrum Adarna ECE Conference

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Highlights from the IASL Regional Conference in Bacolod

And so, the IASL Regional Conference in Bacolod folded up. Congratulations to the Rizal Library! Kudos to its director, Dir. Lou David and her team of librarians who made the conference possible: Karryl Sagun, Shielski Montenegro, Fernan Dizon and Waldette Cueto. Three cheers for PASLI, PRISAAP-Bacolod and IASL for a successful collaboration!

I have to say, I enjoyed the conference very much. I made new friends and strengthened old ties with friends from the profession I have known since my younger years in the industry. The three day experience gave me a lot to think about on Philippine school librarianship as well.

L-R Mel Alipo-on, library director of Olivares College, Joseph Marmol-Yap of DLSU Taft, Darell Marco of DLS Zobel and the Karryl Kim Sagun of the Rizal Library present their paper at the IASL Regional Conference
1) There are many young school librarians out there who made their presence felt in the conference. Joseph Marmol-Yap, Darrel Marco, Ann Grace Bansig, Venus Ibarra, Karryl Kim Sagun and Ronald Cabunagan presented interesting papers that speak of new paradigms in school librarianship. This is a hopeful sign.

2) The voice of experience was equally heard. Joy Nera, Mel Alipo-on, Roderick Ramos, Fernan Dizon, Madame Elizabeth Peralejo and Dir. Lou David shared projects, initiatives and best practices in the school library of their affiliations. This mix of the new, the fresh and the seasoned is a promising potential on professional collaboration among school librarians in the Philippines.

3) The majority of speakers came from local schools but the variety of paper topics presented is an indicator of where Philippine school librarianship is at the moment. Indeed, school librarians from the big private schools presented studies and best practices. Representatives from the public school sector were amiss though. It is a good thing that PASLI president, Jude Gorospe, was at the conference. A big challenge is on his shoulders. But, with help from the private sector, like those who presented papers, public school libraries may be able to rise and shine from issues and problems that beset them. We need to work together to develop more libraries especially when it's been identified in research and practice that libraries contribute to student learning and achievement.

Tales From the 7,000 Isles by Dianne de Las Casas and Zarah Gagatiga  was exhibited and sold at the IASL Regional Conference. Thanks to Enoy Ferriol of Scholastic and the Rizal Library for making this possible.

4) The presence of foreign delegates, Prof. Brendan Luyt and Lucia Dhamayanti provided similarities of beliefs in making the library a cool learning space, and bigger challenges for the future. It was Prof. Luyt's presentation that affected me the most. He spoke of going beyond Information Literacy seeing that information and knowledge are dynamic entities. True. For if we look at information and knowledge as static, then we begin to deteriorate. Knowledge creation and information seeking are proactive processes that lead to lifelong learning.

IASL President, Dr. Diljit Singh asks: What is the future of school libraries?
5) Speaking of lifelong learning, Prof Diljit Singh, IASL President, asked questions on how this can be developed in the light of a future that's fast paced and ever changing. He emphasized the necessity to begin with one's self.

6) On a personal level, my attendance to the IASL Conference inspired me to continue growing in the profession. It afforded me to reflect on what I am doing right now as a school librarian, storyteller, PBBY president and literacy advocate for a number of non-government organizations which I support. My head is still brimming with so much information that I still have to process each one at a time. And, with the mission I have set out to accomplish these tasks and advocacy, the hand will do the work of thy will.

Cheers to Philippine school librarianship! Looking forward to the next IASL Conference!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Live Blogging: Diljit Singh, IASL President Gives a Closing Keynote

Diljit Singh, IASL President gives a closing keynote speech at the IASL Regional Conference. Some of the talking points I picked up from his speech --

* What is the future like?

* Go beyond the 3Rs. There's the 4Cs: Creativity. Collaboration. Communication. Critical Thinking.

* Move beyond Information Literacy.

* We need to be aware how we inculcate lifelong learning in children, teens and adults.

* As a school librarian, you can provide services that technological devices could not. What services does your library provide for students to learn better?

* Believe in yourself. Set a vision. Reach your goal.

Live Blogging: Day 2 Session 2-4 @ the IASL Regional Conference

Very interesting and thought provoking paper presentations since after the morning break.

Dir. Lou David shared the outreach activity of the Rizal Library in Nueva Ecija which is the building of the St. Ignatius Library. It involved the participation of local government officers, DepEd officials and members of the barangay. Next was Prof. Brendan Luyt of Nanyang University, Singapore. He challenged the credibility of Wikipedia and looked at factors why users of information of this generation have poor referencing skills. One of the reasons he enumerated that hit me straight on the face is the commodification of information. He ended his presentation by challenging librarians to go beyond the teaching of Information Literacy and focus more on teaching students the ways of knowing, epistemology, language, knowledge creation and the examination of the dynamism of information.

Ann Grace Bansig shared the reading survey she did at the DLSZ Library while Roderick Ramos of DLS Taft presented the relevance of the teaching identity of librarians.

Live Blogging: Day 2 of the IASL Regional Conference

Day 2 of the IASL Regional Conference started early.

First up was Karryl Sagun of the Rizal Library. She presented a case study on the jargon and terms librarians use in the work place which she called LIBRARIANISH. The words librarians use to communicate with clients may hamper understanding and appreciation on the benefits of library services. What I found interesting in her study was the use of social media to get feedback and information on how library users at the Ateneo de Manila University respond to the library in general.

Darrel Marco of De La Salle Zobel gave an entertaining and insightful presentation on their school library's book mobile project. Many public school children enjoyed the books and the activities they provide. That's information and access for all in action!

Right now, Joseph Marmol-Yap of De La Salle Taft, discuss ways and means to creatively stretch the library budget. He provides creative ways to recycle and reuse collection, both print and online resources.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Live Blogging: Day 1 of the IASL Regional Conference

 Day 1 of the IASL Regional Conference commences.

Opening ceremonies ended with welcome addresses of organizers: Dir. Lou David of the Rizal Library; Pastor Ezekiel Guanzon of the PRISAAP, Bacolod City; Jude Gorospe of PASLI; and Dr. Diljit Singh of the University of Malaya and the IASL.

Enoy Ferriol of Scholastic gave a short spiel as sponsor and shared with the participants the many freebies and perks available for participants.

There are sixteen speakers and presenters in all, majority are Filipino librarians from Manila and the regions. Topics are grouped according the following topics for Day 1: Reading and the School Library; Storytelling workshop; Library Space and Planning and Teacher Librarian Partnerships.

Book exhibits are displayed outside the conference hall. At the Scholastic booth, copies of Tales of the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories are displayed.

In my workshop after lunch, I will be doing two storytelling demos from the anthology. My co-author, Dianne de Las Casas may not be here, but I keep her presence by adopting and adapting storytelling strategies learned from her.

I miss you, Dianne!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Colors and Flavors of Bacolod

We arrived in Bacolod at 3PM. Except for the air turbulence, it was an uneventful trip. Not that I am wishing for delays or disasters. The weather was good and everyone was in high spirits. After gathering our bags, we all headed down to Bacolod Pavilion Hotel, registered and took a rest before hitting the town for some sight seeing. The itinerary was The Ruins, dinner and a walk back to the hotel.

The Rizal Library librarians, Karryl Sagun and Shielski Montenegro, efficiently attended to our needs and joined us for a late afternoon trip to The Ruins.

I have read and heard good things about the The Ruins in Bacolod so, it was in my To See list. Well, indeed, it was what I expected it to be, a haunting beauty. After a series of picture taking at the The Ruins, we headed to Aida's for dinner. The chicken inasal was divine! We ate using our hands for there were no silver ware set on the table. The experience of eating chicken inasal sans fork, knife and spoon was satisfying! Fresh oysters were served on the side.

This maskara is one of the many decorations at Aida's. The Masskara Festival is celebrated every October in Bacolod. The colorful accessories, beads and blings, as well as the maskara itself, are intriguing elements I plan to use for a future storytelling gig.

This maskara has become a cultural icon of Bacolod.

In the 1980s, Negros was affected by the depletion of the sugar industry and a tragic sea accident, the sinking of the ship Don Juan, that killed nearly 700 Negrenses and Bacolodnons. As a strategy to cope and pull through tough times, the local government unit took the opportunity to use the city's monicker, City of Smiles, into an art form that depict smiling faces on masks.  Thus, the MassKara Festival was born. Since then, it has become a tourism strategy that uniquely identifies Bacolod from the rest of the Visayan islands.

Mass means multitude. Kara is Spanish for face. A multitude of smiling faces. That's Bacolod! That's the Philippines!

Live Blogging: IASL Regional Conference Flight to Bacolod

Joseph Marmol-Yap & Grace Bansig

I'm here now at PAL Terminal 2, waiting for boarding  to my flight to Bacolod. With me are other resource speakers of the conference: Eric Ramos and Joseph Marmol-Yap of DLSU Taft; DLS Zobel librarians, Grace Bansig, Darrel Marco and Rodora Espiritu, Venus Ibarra from St. Louis University and Joy Nera of Assumption College, SanLo.

It's going to be an exciting trip likewise, an interesting conference to be! We're catching up and each other's lives. It's a small industry, you see. Every body knows everybody and at this point, we're just having fun!

More live blogging post in the next three days.

Regional Conference on School Librarianship, Bacolod City

The Regional Conference on School Librarianship by the IASL, Rizal Library, PASLI and PRISAAP will commence tomorrow, 26 April 2012 in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. As I have posted in the blog, I am part of the roster of resource speakers who will present and do a workshop. I will be presenting a web 2.0 technology application in library services and will do a storytelling workshop in the afternoon.

Looking at the program, the conference promises to be an interesting avenue for professional networking and improvement of competencies in librarianship. Below is a copy of the full program.

Thank you to Ms. Karryl Sagun for sharing this document. I will be blogging the conference on site as I have done in previous conferences before.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Eight Insights on Blogging

So what have I taken from blogging after eight years? What benefits have the blog and blogging given me as a librarian and as a netizen? What learning experiences have I derived from blogging? These are some questions I played around in my mind in the wake of the blog's eighth anniversary. I have identified eight answers --
1. Blogging is a big responsibility
2. A blog is an investment
3. Blog identity and credibility count
4. Content is KING
5. Blogs, when used properly, can be gateways to learning
6. Blogging can increase the blogger's professional network
7. Blogs can be used to raise funds and to pursue an advocacy
8. Blogs are nifty tools to self publishing
Each will be explained and expounded in the coming days!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Story Theater and Puppet Show Script: Father Rat Finds a Midwife

Father Rat Finds a Midwife
A Filipino Folk story
Taken from: Tales From the 7,000 Ilses: Filipino Folk Stories, ABC CLIO 2011
By Dianne de Las Casas & Zarah C. Gagatiga

Story Theater and Puppet Show Script*

Storyteller: Mother Rat was pregnant. She called for her husband. Father Rat came
running to her side.

Mother Rat: Get me a midwife! It’s going to be quadruplets!

Father Rat: What does a midwife look like?

Mother Rat: A midwife has a gentle face and a tender voice. She would not a hurt a mother like me.

Storyteller: Father Rat searched for a midwife. Down the road, he met Dog.

Dog: Mr. Rat, how may I help you?

Father Rat: I am looking for a midwife. My wife will give birth soon.

Dog: I may be able to help. Arf! Arf!

Storyteller: Mr. Rat listened to Dog and looked at his floppy ears and big nose. Father Rat knew Dog was not the midwife he was looking for. So, he ran down the road and in a corner, met Cow.

Cow: Mr. Rat, how may I help you?

Father Rat: I am looking for a midwife. My wife will give birth soon.

Cow: I may be able to help. Mooo! Mooo!

Storyteller: Mr. Rat listened at Cow’s deep bellowing voice and looked at his horns and huge belly. Father Rat knew Cow was not the midwife he was looking for. So, he ran down the road and in a corner, met Cat.

Cat: Mr. Rat, how may I help you?

Mr. Rat: I am looking for a midwife. My wife will give birth soon.

Cat: I may be able to help. Meow! Meow!

Storyteller: Mr. Rat listened at Cat’s tender mewing. She had a gentle smile in her face and Father Rat knew Cat was the midwife he was looking for. So, he brought Cat to Mother Rat. She was a gentle and tender midwife indeed. She helped her give birth to four little baby rats.

Cat: Go get me some water, Mr. Rat. The little rats need some washing.

Storyteller: Father Rat did what he was told but when he came back, his wife and four babies were gone. There was only the faint smell of a well-fed Cat. Since then, cats and rats have become mortal enemies.

*This storytelling script for story theater and puppetry is inspired by storytelling performances of Dianne de Las Casas

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sambat Trust's Giveacar Video

Like the video in You Tube and you become a part of Sambat Trust's literacy projects and reading advocacy in Tanauan, Batangas. It is as simple as that!

But you can also make book donations for its school library project and volunteer as tutors for its scholars. Reply to this post or send me an email via

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SLIA: Going Great @ 8!

Today marks the eighth year anniversary of the blog. School Librarian In Action was born in 2005. To this day, I thank Von Totanes, the blog's "ninong" (godfather), for egging me to step out of the dark and explore the blogosphere. It has been a wild and successful ride. For the next few days, until the month ends, I will be posting eight blogging milestones of School Librarian In Action.

And while I go back to memory lane, brushing off online dusts from the blog's archive, I found an article written by Ronald Lim about my blogging exploits way back in 2006. Here is the link of the full article, Meet the Blograrian, which was featured in Manila Bulletin on 1 October 2006.

I remember being interviewed by Ronald Lim after my talk on blogging for librarians at the Manila International Book Fair. I was, at the time, blogging for over a year and the experience was exhilerating, like I was on uppers. Now I can say that, way back in 2006, I was professionally hungry. In the article, I was quoted as saying --

"I wanted a venue for my voice to be heard. I wanted to communicate with other people," she explains. "Librarianship is a very lonely and routinary profession. I’m not satisfied with my interaction with my fellow teachers and students. I wanted to have a wider reach."

Blogging has been, and still is, giving me opportunities to grow professionally and personally. I will expound on this in another post. But, as Mr. Lim wrote in the article --

Gagatiga says that maintaining her blog has empowered her like never before. When before she couldn’t understand how to manipulate HyperText Mark-up Language (HTML) — the codes needed to manipulate and maintain a website and a blog — she has now steadily increased her knowledge, and through her blog, has been able to reach people willing to teach her.

I have reached out to many and developed a professional network and online presence that would have been impossible if I stayed an anonymous blogger.

Lastly, I learned how to manage my time for blogging as well. Indeed, time and technology can be managed. Being constantly online is pretty cool and yes, it connects me to the world but there's also a world I need to connect with first and foremost: my self's own world and my family's. I said in the article --

"When I was just starting out, I almost let my blog run my life," she explains. "If I didn’t have kids, I would have been addicted. Just after I’d post, I’d wait for comments to show up. And if I happen to post at school, by the time I’d arrive at home, I’ll connect to the internet and check the comments I have."

Now, I know better. I still blog and with eight years blogging experience, I can say I am blogger who has grown wiser.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Make Story Flashcards**

This is a companion to the Storytelling Guide: The Legend of the Cashew Nut.

Story: The Legend of the Cashew Nut

This activity may be done by the librarian/storyteller in a separate session before the actual storytelling encounter. If time is a constraint, the librarian/storyteller can make his or her own storytelling flashcards and use them for story time.

1. Materials: Oslo paper or white cartolina, pencils, crayons, story text of The Legend of the Cashew Nut

2. Procedures:

a. Number each paragraph 1-17
b. Cut the story into strips following the set below:
FC1 - Paragraphs 1-4
FC2 - Paragraphs 5-9
FC3 - Paragraphs 10-12
FC4 - Paragraph 13
FC5 - Paragraph 14
FC6 - Paragraphs 15-16
FC7 - Paragraph 17

c. Assign one oslo paper or white cartolina per flashcard set (FC1 to FC7)
d. Paste each strip at the back of the corresponding oslo paper or white cartolina.
e. Draw and illustrate the paragraphs' text. There are seven flashcards. A cover or title flashcard can be made. Don't forget to include your sources all the time!
f. When the flashcard is done and ready for use, always mention where you got the story from :-)

**Inspired by storytelling using Kamishibai of Dianne de Las Casas, Storytelling Workshop (2005)**

Monday, April 16, 2012

Storytelling Guide: The Legend of the Cashew Nut

This storytelling guide is prepared for librarians and storytellers who will use the story The Legend of the Cashew Nut taken from the book, Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories by Dianne de Las Casas and Zarah Gagatiga.

Library Storytelling Guide for Legend of the Cashew Nut

I. Storytelling links: Science: Plants and the elements / Social Studies: Relationships; Philippine province: Palawan / Values Ed: patience and discernment

Suggested grade levels: Grades 3-5

Objective: Understand cause and effect relationships

Time and schedule: Two-three meetings with the librarian. First session is Pre-activity and storytelling proper. Second and third sessions are for Post-activity and class presentations.

II. Storytelling Technique

a. Pre-activity

- Librarian shows a pack of cashew nuts and a photo of a cashew tree and its fruits, and a map of Palawan, Philippines.

- Librarian explains that cashew trees abound in Palawan and its city, Puerto Princesa has an industry of planting and harvesting cashew trees and fruits. Palawan is popular for its tourism business but one of its many industries is the production of cashew nuts.

- Librarian introduces the story, The Legend of the Cashew Nut as a folk tale that explains the origin of the cashew fruit, how it looks like and why its seed is found outside its flesh.

b. Storytelling using Flashcards**

During storytelling questions:
- Why did the Cashew Seed wish to see the world outside its flesh?
- How did Mother Cashew Tree feel about Cashew Seed's transformation?
- Describe in a word or two the experience of Cashew Seed when it was outsideits flesh. Have you had an experience where in you felt happy at first and then sad the next?

c. Post-activity
- Librarian divides the big group in three small groups.
Different group activities:
Group 1 - Using the flashcards, retell in your own words the Legend of the Cashew Nut. You may need notes and writing materials. Be ready for a presentation to the class.
Group 2 - Cause and Effect: Make a table that identifies before and after experiences of Cashew Nut. What good things happened to Cashew Nut after his seed grew out of its flesh/fruit? Be ready for presentation in class.
Group 3 - Pick out your group's favorite part of the legend, preferably the one where you find a lot of excitement, and role play this part or scene in class.

**Instructions on making a storytelling flashcard will follow in the next blog post

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2nd Gig Contest Winners Announced

From the FB wall of Genaro Gojo-Cruz --

Gig and the Amazing Sampaguita Foundation, Inc. (GASFI) is happy to announce that ten stories won the Gig Book Storywriting Contest. The authors will receive P20,0000.00 each, a winner’s certificate, and a chance for their story to be published as a full-color, fully-illustrated children’s book.

Arranged alphabetically by title, the winning stories are:

Hello, Tatay!
-----by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz
Ishmael And The Ocean
-----by Franklin P. Andaya
Junior's Diary
-----by Carlo Baltazar Ventura
My Dad And I Travel The World
-----by Francesca Cielo M. Ravanes
Postcards To Papa
-----by Raissa Claire R. Falgui
Postscript For Pio
-----by Mia Ayroso Buenaventura
The Stranger At My Door
-----by Gail Christiane Te
The Woman In Daddy's Wallet
-----by Fernando R. Gonzalez
What's Inside A Turtle's Shell?
-----by Raymond G. Falgui
When You Are Away
-----by Bella Charina Alexandra D. Mercado

GASFI, the contest sponsor, is a non-profit organization. Founded and headed by Marissa Oca Robles, GASFI is driven by three of Marissa’s passions: honoring the memory and youthful spirit of her son Gig, promoting the reading habit among children and their families, and serving the needs of Filipino seamen and their families.

The first has to do with turning the loss of a loved one into life-affirming action.

The second is about giving children and their families something that will always keep on giving: a life-long and shared love of reading. “Twenty Minutes At Bedtime” is not only GASFI’s slogan, it is also the minimum amount of time, Marissa believes, that parents should set aside everyday to read to their children.

The third means continuing and expanding the life-work of Marissa’s family, a hallmark of which is the Associated Marine Officers and Seaman’s Union of the Philippines (Amosup), the largest union of seafarers in the world founded and headed by her father, Captain Gregorio S. Oca.

Marissa plans to publish all ten winning stories as full color illustrated children's books. This time, the books might turn out to be more thought provoking and meaningful for seafarer children and their families. In the previous year, the rules specified: “The theme must be something that seafarers’ families---especially children---can identify with. The story must . . . resonate well with children whose fathers are mostly away at sea.” This year, the rules also stated that “bonus points and a greater chance of winning will be given to positive, sensitive, and creatively child-appropriate stories that deal with difficult seafarer family issues like relatives, in-laws, neighbors, troubled teens, money management, parental infidelity, sibling rivalry, resentment, anger, alienation, abandonment, illness, and others.”

All in all, the storywriting contest received more than a hundred and fifty stories. The judges were Karina Africa Bolasco, children's book author and Publishing Manager of Anvil Publishing, Inc.; Neni Sta. Romana Cruz, children's author, book reviewer, educator, and Chairman of the National Book Development Board (NBDB); and Beaulah Pedregosa Taguiwalo, children's illustrator and Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

For inquiries about the Gig book project,
or visit

For inquiries about GASFI,
or visit

Friday, April 13, 2012

Webquest and Pathfinder: The Teenagers Guide to Meaningful Research

I'll be presenting a paper at the International Association of School Libraries (IASL) Regional Conference in Bacolod City on 26-27 April 2012. Here is the abstract

Abstract: School libraries play an important role in the development and facilitation of research skills. High school students who undergo research paper writing need to have companions and mentors as they complete the journey of accomplishing their first academic paper. While teacher experts and research advisers are automatic mentors for research, the school librarian is likewise, a reading and research companion of the teenager traversing for the first time the exciting road of scholarly research.

This paper explains the impetus and the creative process with which the school librarian has undergone in the design and preparation of an Information Literacy (Eisenberg & Berkowitz, 2000) Webquest for grade 11 students and a school library Pathfinder for grade 10 students of Beacon Academy, a Filipino high school offering the Middle Years Program (MYP) and the Diploma Program (DP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB). Using as platform for the webquest and the pathfinder, both are aimed at providing structure and meaning for grade 11 students preparing to write the Extend Essay and grade 10 students working on the Personal Project. Relevant to the webquest and pathfinder are factors that contribute to its implementation: administrative support, available technology and resources, web 2.0 know-how of the school librarian, use of the guided inquiry model (Kuhlthau, 1997) and, collaboration with teacher experts and mentors. The school librarian has identified evaluation tools like process journal of students, library work logs and reflection notes, and a rubric on the effectiveness of the webquest and pathfinder for students to answer or use.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Filipino School Librarian: Rosal Yniguez Bulaong

The blog's featured Filipino School Librarian this month of April is retiree, Madame Rosal Yniguez Bulaong. She's been a librarian for nearly five decades and her septogenarian wisdom shines through this article she wrote for Inquirer's High Blood section on December 11, 1996. She was a high school librarian at the International School Manila (ISM) for 21 years and became consultant for the University of Asia and the Pacific. Prior to working at ISM and UAaP, she has 17 solid years of library experience in Maryknoll College (Miriam College) and a year at the UP Main Lib/MassCom Library.

In a time when computers and information technology were rocking the profession to experiment and innovate, Mrs. Bulaong and her colleagues at ISM rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Theirs was the first school in Manila to automate its library and implement ITC in the daily library routines and programs. Her trailblazing exploits in school librarianship is made colorful by a graduate thesis she wrote on school library instruction.

Mrs. Bulaong is a proud graduate of Library Science from the University of Sto. Tomas. She holds a Master in Library and Science at the University of the Philippines.

I have gone through so many uneventful birthdays but had long looked forward to my 60th not because it was inevitable but for the anxiety of what will preoccupy me after this, my last school year of being a licensed professional librarian at the International School Manila. For 39 years I have been blessed working in schools that provided excellent support to their libraries including Maryknoll College and the University of the Philippines. These places provided me with an extraordinary chance to put into practice my ideas and theories learned from library schools of the University of Santo Tomas and the University of the Philippines. Working in these libraries gave me access to a very considerable and exciting wealth of reading materials.

It was a great chance to select and buy books on topics and issues while they are still hot and timely . I have cataloged and browsed through works of philosophers, historians, scientists, artists, literary writers and sociologists. I have enjoyed reading biographical and informational books on geology, history and culture of countries, environmental and other social issues among others . I used to finish reading a romantic Gothic fiction of Victoria Holt and the juvenile writings of Judy Blume and sci-fi of Ray Bradbury before sleeping.How I wish I have a photographic mind, then I could literally be a walking encyclopedia!

What sort of reference questions do we receive? Where is the almanac or dictionary is not all there is to it. I have been asked to locate the map of the original esteros in Manila drawn by architect Burnham after whom the Baguio's Burnham Park was named. This was because a certain government agency was studying the flood control program of the former first lady. I was asked the name of the horse of a Roman emperor for a high school assignment. It’s a great feeling when a shy freshman comes back to say she enjoyed the novel I had given her to read. There have been thousands of questions asked, most of them repetitive, but I have continuously learned from these questions. I could always know how and where to locate most of the information needed if I did not have the answer right off.

But finding the information for each library user would be too tedious so we make sure that the students learned how to look for it themselves. We would show the class at the start of their research how they would locate materials for their topics. It could be a simple assignment on the ethnic music of their own countries or individual help on their research for an International Baccalaureate extended essay. Not being a teacher with a regular classroom setup, we only get to know the best and the worst users of the library. I am glad to see the student who would take piles of books to read for enjoyment. And we would try our hand on being counselors for those who prefer to enjoy the prime of their social lives in the library. I get to be friends of these young readers whom a Maryknoll Sister surmised would be " wives of leaders of the Philippine government and industry, if not the country’s leaders themselves".

A school librarian is not only a teacher but also a good manager. I will miss going through professional magazines and book catalogs to select the best titles to buy with more than a million-peso-budget for new books. And what about maintaining the good relationship among the staff ? There is the everyday problem of keeping the library spic and span and the whole operation efficient like sending an overdue notice to the wrong person and getting irate phone calls from parents. We must also be able to communicate to the administrators what good things we had been providing for our library clientele.

I have worked with top professional Filipino librarians and with six professional American librarians. Together we have maintained efficient staff services for libraries we can be proud of. Sharing my expertise with other professional librarians is also part of my memories. I considered them not as students but my colleagues with whom I share my latest experiences. Now they are part of the library leadership of this country. It was also a privilege and a fun activity to be part of the leadership of national library organizations. As it is often quoted in the teaching field we must "publish or perish". I did have a published article in a professional magazine and have edited a Philippine index to magazines.

When the technology leap happened, we were quickly at the forefront. I am part of a team which had its library among the first to be fully computerized. The computer never really scared me - but I must say I am always learning a new technique everyday. I must thank the school’s professional development program and its mission to make every faculty and staff member computer literate. Think about being one of the first in school - or in the Philippines?- to browse the World Wide Web! As librarian, I have ordered books on the Net and have professionally interacted with other librarians of the world. The Internet will now be a part of the resource to be investigated to answer reference queries.

Retirement is a welcome chance for me to wake up mornings and not deal with the traffic. I can again have the chance to attend mass every day. It should give me a chance to play with my grandchildren. There have been lots of things I had not really done for my family working all those years. It could also start for me another decade of exciting professional experience apart from my being a school librarian. How about being a consultant to those schools who would like to have their libraries fully computerized or selling books through the Internet? Or how about starting to learn how to play the piano or drive the family car? It will also be a big endeavor to learn how to swim!

But I will surely miss my library! I hope I have also convinced a good many of my readers that a librarian’s job does not begin and end with the stamping and checking out of books to patrons!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Libraries and Librarians Making an Impact

This is a carry over from my interview in the Mania Bulletin last 24 March 2012. The last question, how libraries are making an impact, culturally and professionally, in the community it serve has kept me thinking to this day. I felt my answer was "bitin".

Good thing I have this blog to, at least, catch up on some ideas. I mentioned three libraries in the article that people should see to understand the dynamic role libraries and librarians play in cultural and professional growth of the learning community. These three libraries are the Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila, UP Diliman Main Library and the De La Salle System libraries.

I should have mentioned that the Rizal Library of Ateneo de Manila University accommodates fourth year high school students to do research using the library's vast collection, and that, since 2004 (I hope my memory serves me right), Rizal Library has been staging international conferences for librarians.

The UP Diliman librarians, on the other hand, are on-air every Wednesday to talk about books, reading and issues on librarianship and information services via LibRadio, UP Diliman's campus broadcasting network. This can be heard over local AM station. Gosh. I just could not recall the frequency. But I have links highlighted! So, click away!

The DLSU School Library system is very much involved in outreach programs providing access to books in barangays and near by communities. To be specific, DLS Zobel has been conducting and touring the Muntinlupa area for their book mobile activity. They target public schools in the barangays. Their librarians do storytelling activities and book activities to develop book consciousness. I think DLSU Lipa is doing the same.

With these activities, libraries and librarians are making an influence, if not an impact, in the development of a reading culture and in the continuous professional growth of the learning community.
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