Sunday, September 30, 2012

The 2012 Best Reads: Winners of the 2nd National Children's Book Awards

IFLA World Library Congress 2013

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Promo: Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The 1st National Conference of Children's Librarians

The program of the 1st National Conference of Children's Librarians has a line up of speakers from the field of education, literature and, yes librarianship. As an invited speaker, I will be discussing a topic that's become very familiar to me. I'm not complaining, but, challenged to present the topic in a cool way. I hope.

Yan Ang Pinay: Lara Saguisag

Posting this for three reasons: 1. Ms. Lara Saguisag is Filipina. 2. Her research is about children and comic strips. 3. A librarian from the Library of Congress, Martha Kennedy, helped Ms. Saguisag finish her research.

Teen Read Week 2012: It Came From the Library

October 14 - 20, 2012 is Teen Read Week. High school librarians near and far, what's your library activity to promote books and reading?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Online Readings: Technology and Pedagogy

Here's a smorgasbord of web links I gathered online. These links are curated in my Scoop it! page. I'm posting it here in the blog for the rest of the world to see. As if Twitter and Facebook won't suffice.

Kids in Ethiopia are using tablets to learn how to read

What is the difference between feedback and advice? How can feedback help teachers, newbie or seasoned educator?

How do I teach thee, introvert? Let me count the ways?

Khan Academy is getting some criticism from educators

Here's an infographic on teaching paradigms and practices.

Taal Heritage Tour: Spanish Ancestral Houses

We left Taal Basilica for a tour of the old Spanish houses of the Apacibles, Agoncillos and Villavicencios. Each exude a different character. The Apacible house has the receiving area for guests and a separate one where business is conducted. Leon Apacible was a lawyer. He was also Emilio Aguinaldo's Finance Officer and delegate to the 1898 Congress.

Our next stop was the Agoncillo house where Marcela Agoncillo sewn the Philippine flag. Apparently, Marcela Agoncillo finished a masters degree in needle work. So the first Philippine flag was made by a professional of high caliber! In the Agoncillo house, we noticed the narrow passage ways that surround the living room. These passage ways are marked off by dividers from floor to ceiling. Windows of capiz shells make for light and ventilation to enter. I followed the passage ways that led to the komidor, or the kitchen. So it turns out that these passage ways were for the alipins, servants, who cater to their masters needs. I could not help but remember a piece of trivia learned from grade school history class on social classes: the existence of aliping sagigilid and aliping namamahay in noble families.

What was interesting in the Villavicencio house was the basement used as a secret meeting room of the Katipuneros. While the wives of the members of Katipunan were dancing, singing and partying in the living room, their husbands were plotting the revolution. The house was used to stock copies of Rizal's novels, the Noli Me Tangere and the El Filibusterismo.

Sa durungawan, tanaw ko ang mga bituin. Naks!
In my imagination, I see Andres Bonifacio attending one meeting disguised as a common alipin. He would have slipped in the party upstairs and passed unnoticed through the narrow passage way that led to the dinning hall and the kitchen. He opened a small trap door in one corner of the room to go down the basement and join the Katipuneros' rendezvous. What plans and schemes were they plotting against the Spaniards! And then, perhaps, after the meeting, the men must have discussed Rizal's novels.

By noon, we headed on to Villa Tortuga. By the way, we did the tour on foot as the town of Taal is very small. I'm saving the Villa Tortuga experience for my next post.

At the Villavicencio house, the trap door that leads to the basement still exist.

Library Link Lesson: Primary & Secondary Sources


Monday, September 24, 2012

Library Link Lesson: Citing of Sources (MLA Style)

A simple library activity I whipped up for the Technology class of grade 10 to drum up the importance of citing sources in all research work and school related projects. This was done in coordination with the Tech teacher.

a. Send two articles on plagiarism cases for students to read over the weekend: one on Krip Yuson and the other on Sen. Tito Sotto.

The class will be divided in 2 groups. Group 1 will read the article on Krip Yuson while group 2 will read the recent article about Sen. Sotto.

b. Round table discussion in class the following meeting.

Prompt questions: What moves some people to plagiarize? How can plagiarism be avoided?

d. Online drill on citations using EasyBib, World Book Online Citation Maker and Word Document.

e. Manual citation practice using books, print magazines and journals.

f. Homework: Cite Right! - students will work on citation activities on varied formats of references.

For submission, and in the long run, shall become their Citation Brochure

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Poetry Workshop for Teens

Here's a worksheet I use for my Poetry Writing Workshop for Teens. I use the HEAD-HEART-HAND Technique in helping workshop participants experience a poem.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Museo Pambata: Art & Objects

Museo Pambata is encouraging art enthusiasts to help MP fulfill some of its 2012 wishes!
Art and Objects, a fund raising event to benefit Museo Pambata Foundation Inc., is an art sale and auction that gathers artists who personally donated art pieces for this cause.
Items for sale include those by Ben Cabrera, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Juvenal Sanso, Brenda Fajardo, Araceli Dans and ‘objects’ such as a Ramon Orlina glass sculpture and Jon and Tessie Pettyjohn’s pottery.
The art sale and auction will be held on October 2 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati. Art pieces can be viewed at the mezzanine of the hotel until October 6. These can also be viewed online via
MP is a non-stock, non-profit organization which relies on sponsorships, grants and voluntary contributions to carry out its projects.
“We hope that through this sale and auction of Filipino art pieces, we would be able to raise enough funds to fulfill some of our wishes. That is, to renew one of the exhibit rooms, install a better playground for the children, acquire a big outdoor tent for summer events and a string of physical requirements such as sound systems and air conditioning units,” MP President Nina Yuson said.
Through sponsorships and grants in 2011, MP was able to renew one exhibit room, welcome 20,822 subsidized children and adults to the museum, 35 Metro Manila barangays through its Mobile Library, and hold the 2nd Asian Children’s Museum Conference.
The Museo Pambata Foundation, Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit organization that established the first interactive children's museum in the Philippines. Opened to the public in 1994, Museo Pambata has distinguished itself for its educational programs and its interactive exhibits. Committed to provide alternative education and uphold the welfare of children, Museo Pambata has also conducted various programs and activities held in the museum, in Manila's schools and communities and in different cities nationwide. Its educational programs and special activities are anchored on the advocacy of children's rights, primarily on their right to education, health, recreation, and mental and physical development. In March 2012, Museo Pambata was shortlisted and received a Special Commendation from the jury of the First Children's Museum Award in Bologna, Italy “for inspiring the creation of new children's museums in the Philippines and Asia”.
For more information, call 523-1797, 5231798, 536-0595 or email

Thursday, September 20, 2012

FUSION '13: Negotiation Power Skills & Library Services Management

Philippine librarianship will never run out of conferences and seminars! It seems that there is a great need to learn continuously in the discipline. Such is the challenge of the 21st century. Knowledge is not stable and technology has proven that creating and communicating information is a dynamic endeavor.

Adamson University is staging a national conference dubbed as FUSION '13: Negotiation Power Skills and Library Services Management. The conference has an impressive list of Filipino Librarians, new names and seasoned ones, as speakers.

If you visit the conference's blog, you will find a link that will lead you to its objectives. What's interesting to note is the suggestion of possible output for each conference objective. This is helpful as many librarians merely echo and share conference experiences back to their colleagues. Nothing wrong with that, but, concrete end product of one's attendance to conferences is an indicator of learning.

I suppose this covers a bigger pie known as library staff supervision. Library coordinators need to chart a path for his or her staff to grow in the profession as well as, follow through on work accomplishments. How well trained are library coordinators in people management?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Taal Heritage Tour: Taal Basilica and Our Lady of Caysasay

Basilica of St. Martin of Tours, Taal, Batangas
When my dear good friend Mona Dy sent me a text message regarding a heritage tour to Taal, Batangas in early July, I replied in the affirmative. It was my summer off from work and she was looking forward to visiting Taal, Batangas during her off season month. I have not seen her in a while so, a day trip with her would be bonding time. The trip she was planning at the time required three to four people. Our common friends could not make it on the given date so, I broached the idea to a friend from work, Riza E., who gamely said yes.

We decided to take the public transport. I met Riza in Alabang and together, we took the one and a half hour commute to Taal, Batangas. From Lipa, we jumped on a jeep and reached Taal around nine in the morning. We were blessed with good weather. Mona arrived a few minutes later followed by our guide, Art B. He is a native of Taal, Batangas and an engineer by profession.

A peddler selling peanut brittle at the entrance of the Basilica
According to Art B., Taal Basilica is the largest one in Asia. Ogie Alcasid, a Filipino actor and singer who traces his ancestry in Taal married his first wife, Michelle Van Eimeren, a former beauty queen, there. It was a celebrated occasion, so he told us. But simply looking at the common people visiting Taal Basilica satisfied me. A group of young people were gathered at the plaza just in front of the Basilica that morning. They held what looked like a copy of a song as they hummed and sang a local folk song. There were the peddlers at the church steps selling peanut brittle and local sweets. Church devotees walk in and out of the Basilica to pray and offer candles and flowers. Peddlers rest under the shade of the big, old, historic church bell that is displayed in front of the Basilica. There were so many things that reminded me of the simple, provincial life that I longed for a visit to my father's or my mother's home province.

Plaque by the National Historical Institute
The Basilica is indeed dubbed as Asia's biggest and I suppose, it is big not just in size but in history, art and architecture. As told to us by our guide, the Basilica was first built as a small church near Taal lake. It was destroyed when Taal volcano erupted.

I wonder who did the religious art works, the fresco, the painting on its ceiling and walls, the tiled floors. Local artists, I guess, who will forever remain nameless.

We were given a tour of the kumbento as well. We were let in to see the parish office, the monsignor's study, the dinning hall and a bulwagan type area where a group of young people were practicing a dance number. It was like walking back to the  colonial time because much of the architecture, interior design, furniture, furnishings and decorations are Spanish in taste and influence.

One fascinating story told to us by Art was that of  Taal's patron saint, St. Martin of Tours, whose statue disappears on stormy nights. Locals believe that St. Martin rides his horse around town to guard them from natural disasters. The Our Lady of Caysasay, only six inches tall, is likewise miraculous and mystical. The statue is placed in a smaller church very near the spring of water where she was found. This spring of water leads to the Pansipit River where, in the olden days, fish, turtles and other marine life abound. The river is still alive with marine fauna and flora as well as the spring of water. It is now a grotto where devotees flock the site every Semana Santa for prayer and pilgrimage.

Reminders of good behavior when in church. Can you read the old Tagalog?

 In my next post, I'll share pictures and insights on our visit to ancestral houses in Taal, Galeria de Taal and Villa Tortuga.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beyond Librarianship: Information as a Way of life

I am not a speaker in this conference, but I'm helping it get more promotion. For one, I am attending the conference since it has a line-up of speakers that are non LIS professionals. It would be interesting to listen to them speak of issues close to the heart of LIS professionals. Indeed, the business of information is a concern of all.

Two areas I am keen on learning more are the copyright and intellectual property. Academic honesty is a pressing concern in my practice of school librarianship. Acquiring reproductions of texts, digitization and use of media in the classroom are guided by fair use. But, I want to listen to the speaker from FILCOLS.

For more information, go to the Filipinas Heritage Library's website.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The 1st National Conference of Children's Librarians

The National Library of the Philippines (NLP) stages the First National Conference on Children's Librarians on 1-2 October, 2012. Visit the NLP website for details of the conference. You can download the program and register online as well.

I am an invited speaker on the topic of the librarian's role in developing in children a love for books and reading. Apart from reading and books, the conference will also touch on the potentials that libraries have on K-12 instruction.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Postscript on the 2nd ReaderCon

I owe this one to Honey de Peralta, especially, because I have not responded to her email properly. And like what I've said in previous posts, I've been sidelined from blogging due to domestic and work related duties. Dear Me. When it rains, it pours!

So I begin.

A big congratulations to the organizers of the 2nd ReaderCon: the National Book Development Board, the Filipinas Heritage Library and the collective group of Filipino Book Bloggers! Organizing an event is not a walk in the park but you guys made it look so easy. Your passion for books and reading fueled the success of the 2nd ReaderCon. May you continue to influence and inspire readers, especially the very young ones, to love books and nurture in themselves a culture of reading. The 1st Readers Choice Award was pretty cool especially that in the category for children's books children were judges. Schools and learning communities working with and for children should learn from this example. If we envision a reading nation, we need to involve our kids in deciding, choosing and creating books and reading materials. Let's start them young! Maybe next year, a young adult (YA) novel category can be judged by teens?

In the panel where I sat in to present the role of the library to readers and book lovers, a clamor for more books in Filipino surfaced. English novels by Filipino writers, for teens and older or more mature readers, are readily available. There is a steady production and distribution of such materials. The Tagalog novel for YA is a gap in the reading scheme. The industry has its work cut out for them.

I enjoyed seating in the teachers and reading program panel too. One's love for reading does not grow like mushrooms after the rain. Reading, being a complex activity, needs to be taught in formal settings like the classroom. Teachers are natural reading instructors. While there are expensive reading programs presented during the panel, I was impressed at the innovative reading program run by a public school in Caloocan.  CENTEX's reading program is a classic example of government and non-government project.

I did not finish the whole event and missed on panels by authors after lunch. I did buy books, bookmarks and a handsome Harry Potter book pendant. What joy! Looking forward to the next ReaderCon!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Help A School Library Grow!

Event: Sambat Trust's Second Birthday Campaign for Ambulong Primary School

Target:  £5.000: 970 children at Ambulong Primary School, Batangas, Philippines, can have a library filled with 2,000 children's books.

Raised so far: £695.00: 139 children.

JustGiving page:

Did you know we are celebrating our 2nd birthday this September? Sambat Trust became a registered charity in September 2010.

Thanks to you, over 2,700 children now have access to books and a functional school library in the Philippines.

To celebrate our 2nd birthday this September,we are raising funds to establish a school library at Ambulong Primary School, Batangas; a school with 970 children.

Our fundraising target is £5,000- so we can deliver 2,000 children's books to the school.

If you break this down, it costs just £5.16 to give each child at the school access to books and a functional school library.

Celebrate Sambat Trust's 2nd birthday! Go to and donate just £5.00 to give a child at Ambulong Primary School access to books and a library.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Life as a Librarian (3 of 3)

Here is part three of the interview questions Mr. Egipto sent me to answer. Those in red would mean that I have answered the question in a previous set (see part 2) I do find his questions repetitive. I could not help but ask myself if these are questions for a psychological test to measure my truthfulness or a set of questions for a LIS (Library and Information Science) course. Anyways, I answered because, I do not wish to snuff the hope out of younger LIS students. Lastly, there are questions that are vague. Again, I am extending my patience seeing this as an opportunity for younger LIS students to learn.

What kind of things do you feel most confident in doing?

Is this in the context of library work or about life in general?

Can you describe for me a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome? How did you handle it? How do you feel this experience affected your personality or ability?

Again, is this in the context of library work or life in general?

What do you think are the most important characteristics & abilities a person must possess to become a successful librarian? How do you rate yourself in these areas?

A successful librarian must be a lifelong learner. I can not rate myself because lifelong learning is a philosophy that changes every life cycles. As a belief system, it is also subjective. Lifelong learning can never be measured by a rating scale.

In your work experience, what have you done that you consider truly creative?

I tell stories. I write. These are creative pursuits. It takes time to master these arts. I can not say I am a master of these arts.

Can you think of a problem you have encountered when the old solutions didn't work & when you came up with new solutions?

Too general, it renders vagueness or ambiguity. Please rephrase the question.

Of your creative accomplishments big or small as a librarian, what gave you the most satisfaction?

The sincere response from children after a storytelling session lends the most satisfaction. Their stark honesty is also appreciated. Children are better at telling the truth. Then again, our children learn to tell lies and give out flattery from us, adults. 

What kind of problems has people or library patron recently called on you to solve? Tell me what you have devised.

Resourcing instructional materials are common requests. I approach the work bottom-up. This means, I ask questions from the library patron pertaining to his or her needs to help him or her narrow subjects, key words. Then I search for information in the library, the nearest neighboring library or info center, and if still needed, ask help from bigger libraries.

What organizations do you belong to?

PBBY. IASL. PASLI. PLAI. PNULISSA. KUTING. Lit Critters. Sambat Trust. Sa Aklat Sisiskat Foundation. Magis Deo Community. I also sing in the choir. 

Tell me specifically what activities are you participating in your organization? (Leading questions in selected areas. i.e. sports, economics, current events, finance.)

Google all the organizations I named and you will have an idea on the activities these organizations do.

What is your professional goal?

Do you have a long & short-term plan for your department? Is it realistic?

I design a strategic plan for the library that spells out the library's vision, mission and goals and identifies specific programs, services and activities. These are evaluated periodically.

Did the programs or activities that you want to implement for the last year was accomplished?

Yes and no. It would be impossible that all library activities to accomplish in a year. That is UNREALISTIC.

What are your top priorities as a librarian?

Library users. Collection. Budget and support from leaders. Library Services and Programs. Evaluation of library work and staff. Staff training. Linkages and networking. Community development through libraries.

What are your standards of success in your job?

I base my standards on the DepEd School Library Guidelines of 2011 and the IFLA - UNESCO School Library Guidelines.

In your position, how would you define doing a good job? On what basis was your definition determined?

A good job is accomplished when it meets the standards set by the school and the existing DepEd School Library Guidelines and IFLA - UNESCO School Library Guidelines. There are also assessment and evaluation for library staff that the school's Human Resource Office set up and implement. These are used to measure " a good job". Personally, a good job would mean one's communication with his or her God at the end of the day, telling God of all the ups and downs he or she experienced in the day. Seeing that there are graces and blessing despite the "downs".

In your present job what approach do you take to get your people together to establish a common approach to a problem?

I wish to answer this on a separate blog post, as it deals with people management.

What specifically do you do to set an example for your employees?

I try my best to WALK my TALK.

How frequently do you meet with your immediate subordinates as a group?

Supervision is cyclical and regular. There are weekly meetings and different measures to assess a library staff. There are also work and that need follow up every day. People also work in different ways and manners. So, different ways of approaching them nay be done. But, a common or standard set if rules and guidelines must be present for all to follow.

How do you get people who do not want to work together to establish a common approach to a problem?

Do you feel pressure in your job? Tell me about it.

Yes. But, to be explicit about it, I think you need to invite me to your class as lecturer on Library Management to be able to answer this question well.

What has been the highest pressure situation you have been under in recent years? How did you cope with it?

Same answer as the above.

Describe your most significant success & failure in the last two years.
As a librarian what do you like to do best?
As a librarian what do you like to do least?

What kind of books & other publications do you read?

I read anything. Even crap.

How are you helping your subordinates develop themselves?

My staff and I design a supervisory plan.

Is there any time that you would refuse to answer a patronĂ­s request? Why?

Library patrons are important. I take time in listening and speaking with them. This can be tiring, but this is one way to break the librarian stereotype.

My Life as A Librarian (2 of 3)

Finally. I am now able to answer the set of questions sent by Mr. Egipto of St. Louis University. My apologies for turning this in so late. There are urgent circumstances I need to deal with at the moment.

Briefly, would you summarize your work history & education for me?

This is what I give when I get to answer a question like the one above -

Zarah Gagatiga has fourteen solid years of work experience as school librarian and coordinator of the Grade School Learning Resource Center of Xavier School. She is now a Teacher Librarian at Beacon Academy, an  International Baccalaureate School offering the Middle Years Program and the Diploma Program. She was part of the Philippine delegation to the Southeast Asian Conference on School Library Services sponsored by IFLA-UNESCO in Bangkok, Thailand (2003). In 2002, she presented a workshop in the 2nd Storytelling Congress in Singapore. She has toured the different regions in the Philippines for library workshops and storytelling sessions in schools and communities since then. Among other things, she is also a teacher-trainor, writer-blogger, reading clinician, a seasoned PAASCU accreditor (basic education) for the area of Instructional Media Center, library consultant for Sambat Trust, a charity based in the UK, and chair of the Philippine Board On Books for Young People (PBBY).

Her first book, Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories with co-author, international storyteller-author Dianne de Las Casas was published last October 2011 by ABC-CLIO, USA. Visit Zarah's blog at

Iskolar ako ng bayan sa undergard at graduate level. I still yet to finish my MA in LIS.

What special aspects of your work experience have prepared you for this job?

My mother is a librarian. I believe she prepared me early on by modeling the reading habit and raising me up a reader. I remember spending my summers in the library where she worked.

Can you describe for me one or two of your most important accomplishments?

I have a license - both in teaching and in librarianship. I am a published book author.

How much supervision have you typically received in your previous job?

I experienced being supervised clinically, formatively and, having earned a number of senior years, I was able to do my own self-supervision.

Describe for me one or two of the biggest disappointments in your work history?

None. I see failure and mistakes as opportunities for learning and self-discovery.

Why are you leaving your present job? (or, Why did you leave your last job?)

At some point, a professional will look for new challenges and will seek change. I experienced both. So, I resigned from my former job; spent two years doing freelance work which afforded me time to reflect; and then, saw an opportunity to do something familiar, yet different.

Everyone has strengths & weaknesses as workers. What are your strong points for this job?
What would you say do areas need improvement?

Strong points: my work experience and sphere of network or linkages. Points for improvement: understanding and living the International Baccaluareate paradigms.

When you have been told, or discovered for yourself, a problem in your job performance, what have you typically done? Can you give me an example?

As a working mom, attendance was a challenge especially at the time when our kids were young. I responded to the challenge by working out a routine and a schedule of work and domestic duties that were well planned. Now, my kids are older and more independent so, I've overcome the challenge on attendance.

What kind of people or library patrons do you find it most difficult to work with? Why?

None, but, the challenge is knowing every kind of library patron and how best to deal with each kind. This skill is learned overtime.

Starting with your last and present job, tell me about any of your achievements that were recognized by your superiors.

I have organized a preschool library; set up learning environments where IT is integrated in a library skills instruction program; passed the PAASCU accreditation for the school library I managed; and now, I am in the process of establishing a high school library for a new high school in Binan, Laguna.

These accomplishments would not be possible if the support of the school administration to the library and its personnel is lacking or, none at all.

What are some things you would like to avoid in a job? Why?

Challenges should not be avoided, but should be dealt with. Knowing how to face the challenges is an essential survival skill.

In your previous job what kind of pressures did you encounter?

Establishing a library and setting up effective programs and services that library patrons need to be aware of pose enough pressure.

What are some of the things on your job you feel you have done particularly well or in which you have achieved the greatest success? Why do you feel this way?

I think I have answered these questions. Go back to read and review.

What were some of the things about your job that you found most difficult to do?

Collection development is the most challenging especially because IT changes the game in a pace that is so fast it important that librarians keep up. Better yet, know IT well enough to be leaders in the profession.

What are some of the problems you encounter in doing your job? Which one frustrates you the most? What do you usually do about it?

Working with difficult people is a challenge. But, we all are human beings. Having said this, I am more compassionate and less judgmental of people I deal with in the work place. Being able to communicate one's ideas properly, in speech and writing can help overcome difficulties. Another difficulty that librarians deal with is the stereotype of the library as a warehouse, and the librarian as custodian. Librarians need to advocate the profession as a relevant profession.

What are some things you particularly liked about your job?

Reading. And sharing this love and culture of reading to others.

What special aspects of your education or training have prepared you for this job?

I am a reader. I read a lot. Reading is the easiest and most accessible way to grow professionally.

What is your long-term employment or career objective?

To carry on setting up libraries and teaching others to use libraries. I think libraries will never go out of style.

What kind of job do you see yourself holding five years from now?

I'd still be a librarian. Teaching in the university, maybe. I also see myself in the training and consultancy area.

What do you feel you need to develop in terms of skill & knowledge in order to be ready for future outreach program/activities?

Strengthen library management skills; understand different kinds of people more; device structures for these peoples to grow and develop literacy centers themselves.

Who or what in your life would you say influenced you most with your career objectives?

As far as my career is concerned, my mom plays a big role in my life as a librarian.

Can you pinpoint any specific things in your past experience that affected your present career objectives?

I have worked with non-government organizations that have literacy campaigns and advocacy. These NGOs influenced me in some ways.

What would you most like to accomplish in a library?

Make that library a functional one.

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