Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Library Succes Stories

This is part one of the paper I read during the ASDAL Conference's special session for Adventist school librarians.
My School Library Experience

I got my first library card when I was in grade one. I was only six years old then. Our library at that time looked like a cave with its walls painted white. There were books on display and we were allowed to choose books we can borrow for a period of time. The librarian, Ms. Oliva, was a plump lady with a cute little smile. On that first visit, she gave a library orientation that focused on the expected behavior at the library. She and my grade one class adviser wrote the title of books on the library card. My mother, who is a librarian, borrowed books for me from the school library where she worked. As I grew up, my reading choices changed and developed too.

These days, to borrow books from the school library I use my ID number which is logged in by default in the library database. To read online journals and encyclopedia articles, I use a username and password. At home, I log in the Internet and, clicking the Bookmark button of my web browser, open the school library's OPAC for instant searching of books and resources.

As a teenager, I read the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Sweet Dreams Romance Series, Judy Blume, Cynthia Voight, Madeline L'Engle and Ursula Le Guinn. My kids, age 15 and 11 years old respectively, read graphic novels, the Harry Potter series, Capt. Underpants, John Green, Neil Gaiman, and yes, Twilight. Sigh. To keep up with my high school students I read what they read, and more! A good number of them could not understand the book format, so we acquired three Kindles. This coming school year, we begin developing our ebook collection.

In the 80s and well into the early 90's I owned a Sony walkman and collected audio tapes. Two years ago, I bought myself an iPod and my eldest taught me how to search for free mp3 downloads online. I could use the sync and Bluetooth features of my iPod to transfer audio and video files from one gadget to the other.

A lot has changed since the day I received my first library card. But I remain a reader, a user and consumer of information who seek to derive meaning and construct knowledge from the constant flux of all these information.

Libraries Change Lives: A Tale of Two Writers

Candy Gourlay, an award winning writer and journalist based in the UK, wrote with fondness in her blog about Miss Evelyn Diaz, her grade school librarian at St. Therese's College. Miss Diaz allowed her to read beyond the number of books required of elementary grade school students to borrow. Miss Diaz saw in Candy, a child who needed a space to dream, reflect and wonder through books and reading. It did Candy a lot of good. She met characters like herself from the stories she read. Eventually, she broke out of her shell and became a journalist in the 80's. During the People Power revolution, she was there at the front lines doing her job for the freedom and democracy.

When Neil Gaiman received his Carnegie Award in 2010 for his young adult novel, The Graveyard Book, he waxed poetic on the magical realms he discovered in public libraries when as a child, his parents would drop him off the library. He may have spoken of public libraries in his acceptance speech, but the services which it provided children opened many fantastic opportunities for the young Neil Gaiman to imagine other worlds that we now find in his fiction. He pointed out the dynamic ways that children’s librarians reach out to young readers, becoming bridges between books and readers and developing, in the process, a community who continuously learn. Lamenting the budget cuts that UK libraries were experiencing, he ended by saying that libraries are the future. To cut down the library budget would be, in Gaiman’s word, a terrible thing to steal from the future to pay for today.

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