Monday, September 30, 2013

Filipino Librarian: Veronica Silagpo

As we bid goodbye to September, the blog features Ms. Veronica Silagpo, a BLIS graduate of the School of Library and Information Science, UP Diliman as the Filipino Librarian of the month. She is pursuing MLIS in the same university. Right now, she enjoys providing reader's services to middle school students of the International School Manila.
a. What's your lib story? Describe how you made the choice of majoring in LIS and what was college life like for you as a LIS major. You can cite challenging stories and success stories while studying the course. 

 LIS was my first choice when I took the UPCAT. It was my aunt (who had a Librarian friend) who told me that the course offers some good opportunities. During my freshman year though, it was a struggle for me to actually love the course I have chosen. People were like “anung pinag-aaralan nyo dun?” or “ano yun?” when I describe to them my course. I felt like my course was treated as inferior. I actually thought of shifting. Luckily, I met some members of UP Future Library and Information Professionals of the Philippines. They were people who understood my dilemma and I found the organization’s cause – to promote and develop the LIS profession– very noble, so I joined them. Joining UP FLIPP played a very pivotal role in my life as a student of LIS. I became an officer and was tasked to recruit more members. It was more than a responsibility for me, though. Helping out students who felt the same way that I did when I was a freshman became a passion. I consider seeing the people whom I’ve talked into staying and finishing the course then as happy LIS professionals now as one of my successes. 

b. What has been the greatest challenge you've faced so far as a licensed and working librarian? Why do you say it's a challenge? 

 I was 19 years old when I started working and like many fresh graduates, I too, started as a wide-eyed idealist. I was very keen on being the best librarian that I could be. Sadly, I met so many who exemplified the stereotype of librarians early on I really thought that they are like dinosaurs, things of the past but to my chagrin, they aren’t. Add those who were really unhappy with their jobs and those who attended seminars only to catch up (or gossip) on their former colleague’s life or for the free travel opportunities. They were so disappointing and disheartening. I found myself angry at these people who were the reasons why people look down on my beloved profession. It actually affected me so much at that time. It was kind of a struggle for me to reconcile what I have been telling others when I was still in the University and the reality that was the LIS profession. I remember telling people that libraries and librarians have evolved. That the stereotypes no longer existed, that LIS professionals are now hip and cool. Now, years later, the realization sank in - that those people existed and would probably still exist in the future to remind us of what we shouldn’t be. And for that to happen, we need to keep ourselves in check, to always be the best in what we do. 

c. What is your area of expertise in LIS? 

 Reference and Readers’ Advisory Services. I take pleasure in those little chitchats with library patrons. I enjoy those “aha!” moments whenever I help people find what they’re looking for and I love giving book recommendations. I believe that we are all readers. If someone says that they hate reading, then they haven’t found their book match yet. Spreading the love, love, love for reading is one of my advocacies in life. 

d. What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional? 

 Pleasing personality? Hahaha. Kidding aside, excluding degree and license, I really think that a heart for service should be the primary requirement for LIS professionals. An open mind and being adaptable to change would really help, too

e. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional? 

The endless THANK YOUs, smiles and little notes of gratitude are somewhat the most fulfilling rewards I have received from this profession. I usually get little knick knacks and gifts, too. Also, I get kids professing their love for me almost every week, so it kind of keeps my love tank full.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013

November 2013 is Picture Book Month

Celebrate with Picture Books! Read * Share * Celebrate!

There's a calendar that can be downloaded in the Picture Book Month website. It is beautiful! The calendar is designed by Elizabeth O. Delumba. Register now and plan activities to celebrate literacy through picture books this coming November.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sambat Trust Turns Three!

Thank you for your amazing support for the past 3 years!

Nearly 4,000 children now have access to books and a school library.

To celebrate our 3rd birthday, every new supporter who "likes" our Facebook page this September will be matched with a £1 donation- up to £500.

£1 puts a local children’s book in a library, so please Like. Share.

Thank you for making a difference to children’s lives in the Philippines.

Lots of love,
Sambat Trust

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Museo Pambata: Storytelling Workshop

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Eleanor and Park (With Spoilers)

Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher/Year: Orion, 2012

I first heard about Eleanor and Park from Tarie Sabido, book blogger superstar and PBBY Chair. We were in Cebu and she raved about it in the middle of her workshop. I was at the back of the hall and she pointed out to me: "Zarah, you will love it!"

And she's right.

What worked

I like it that a Korean American boy is one of the main characters of the story. Park was not characterized as the nerdy Math and Science wizard who fell head over heels in love with a beautiful blonde cheerleader. Instead, he fell for the weird fat girl at the bus and fought for her, not just his feelings for her, but for what is right for  both of them. I call this love.

It's nice to have a rich vampire boyfriend that sparkles in the sun, but at the end of the day, I'll go with the guy who reads comic books; who listens to The Smiths; who is unafraid to have sex with the girl he loves; who'll stand by and defend his girlfriend against bullies, big or small.

More than being a love story, Eleanor and Park is a family story too. It shows how different parenting styles affect the self concept of children and teens. In some parts of the novel, I paused to ask myself how I am rearing my own teens. Rowell's description of Eleanor's relationship with her mother, and the environment where she lives in brush on the issue of physical abuse. It is this external conflict that allowed Park and Eleanor to make a decision that is bigger than themselves.

What did not work

I can't really think of any. I love Rowell's writing style because it reminds me of Judy Blume, Cynthia Voigt and Katherine Patterson - YA writers I read when I was a teenager. So, I'll be off book hunting for Rowell's other novels.

Rating: Four Bookmarks

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

MIBF Moments

The excitement and energy of the recently Manila International Book Fair is ebbing away. I am left with good memories and some regrets.

I regret not having enough time to visit booths and greet writers who launched their books that Saturday at the MIBF. I regret not taking enough pictures. I regret not being able to buy books! I missed the ReaderCon announcement of book finalists in this year's Readers Choice Awards!


I am still basking in the wonderful moments spent with friends in the industry. Best of all, the hubby was with me the whole day at the book fair. That's a first, I tell you!

Sharing a few pictures --

L-R Ed Maranan, Luchie Maranan, myself, Luis Gatmaitan, Eugene Evasco, Heidi Abad, Rose Torres Yu, Becky Bravo and Jun Matias of Lampara House

Look who's at the Lampara Writing Workshop!

Started my presentation with a storytelling of Joseph's Overcoat using Albergus table napkins.

Signed for Luis "Tito Dok" Gatmaitan.

Did some book signing too after the workshop.

Thanks to Lampara House, my publisher, for organizing the panel-workshop on writing stories for children. The event was attended by published writers, teachers and librarians, students and readers from all walks of life. It was an honor to be with the company of academicians and Palanca winners: Eugene Evasco, Rose Torres-Yu and Heidi Abad. The presence of friends from KUTING made the even a celebration of books, reading and children's literature.

See you at next year's Manila International Book Fair!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Picture Book Ambassadors

November is Picture Book Month and I'm one of its ambassadors! Here's the official press release from Dianne de Las Cassas, founder and number one champion of Picture Book Month.

I am sooo excited about Picture Book Month this year. We have confirmed David Adler, Dianna Aston, Rick Anderson, Larry Dane Brimner, Julie Danielson, Carmen Agra Deedy, Tomie dePaola, Rebecca Emberly, Sue Fliess, Zarah Gagatiga, Candace Fleming, Lee Harper, Jannie Ho, Steve Jenkins, Daniel Kirk, Jesse Klausmeier, Mercer Mayer, Bobbi Miller, Wendell Minor, Hazel G. Mitchell, Jerry Pinkney, Robert Quackenbush, Rob Scotton, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Michael Shoulders, Wendi Silvano, Heidi Stemple, and Rosemary Wells. Stay tuned for more to come!

Go the">website
for more information
, promo kits and activity ideas for your school and library!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Reader Feedback on My Daddy! My One and Only!

When I was in Bali last week for the IASL Conference, I got this feedback from a parent who has copies of my books, A Tale of Two Dreams and My Daddy! My One and Only! 

The Daddy one especially really moved my daughter and me. It supports what values I am trying to raise my daughter with, and for her-wow she was able to make real connections and see value in her daddy that she hadn't seen before!
And then the senti factor got me :-) It is beautiful. Thanks!
 I will be at the Manila International Book Fair on September 14, 2013 to sign copies of my books. I suppose the illustrators will be present too! The book signing will start at 1PM in the Lampara - Precious Pages booth. At 3PM, I move to the conference room at SMX to join Eugene Evasco and Heidi Eusebio Abad,two wonderful writers of children's stories, in a panel on writing stories for children.

I hope to see you there!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Author of the Month: Marivi Soliven Blanco

With two wonder women writers. Rare opportunity!
Our school had the pleasure of hosting Ms. Marivi Soliven Blanco's author talk last August 14, 2013. She's a very talented writer and a fascinating person besides. She gave a reading of a chapter from her new novel, The Mango Bride (Penguin Group, 2012) to the delight of students and faculty present at her talk.  She talked about the publication journey of her novel which to me is a feat too awesome for an ordinary writer to accomplish. 

The Q and A after her presentation was an engaging one. It left me with more questions, actually so I dared send her interview questions for the blog and she replied! 

Read on!

a. I was struck at two things you mentioned during your talk in the academy: that you write for yourself and that as writer, one needs a support group to keep the writing muscles going and for feedback mechanism. How do you reconcile these two ideas in your creative/writing process?
I write the story  I see in my mind without thinking of the "mass audience" or a future readership for the eventual book. In other words, I don't worry if the scenes I write are going to offend a certain sector and neither do I try to preach or send a message to readers.  However, my writing needs to be clear and the characters' actions need to make sense as the plot unfolds. This is why it's important to have a small group of writers who look at my chapters and tell me if a certain scene seems plausible or not.  In the case of The Mango Bride, I needed to see if the Tagalog phrases were still understandable in context for  non-Tagalog speakers.

b. Describe your growth as a writer. You started out with stories for children, and now, a Palanca winning novel. What happened in between?
I worked in advertising before I began writing stories for children. Over the years I  wrote essays for, an online magazine. Those essays were eventually compiled into Suddenly Stateside.  Then I went on to write a guide to pregnancy, (Baby Love); a guide to being happily single (Sexy Sassy Singularly Happy); then Spooky Mo; in between that I edited an anthology of autobiographical essays that my high school class self-published (Speak Up, Woman) to fund a scholarship at Miriam High School. We're in the process of putting the 2nd scholar through high school and will find a third one after she graduates.

c. Which is more important: a writing award or rave reviews from readers/critics?

Alll good feedback is good, whether it's in the form of winning an award or getting a good review from critics.  These things help sell more copies.  But I don't write with that goal in mind.  My first goal is to write a good story.  Whatever follows is a bonus.

d. What story or novel you wish you've written?

I haven't really thought about that.

e. Who is your "writer's writer" and why?
There are many, but Ann Patchett comes to mind, because of the depth of research that she wend through in order to write Bel Canto

f. If you're not a writer in this age and time, what would you be?
A good cook.  But I only cook for friends and family, so I'd still need another day job.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Filipino Librarian: Audrey Anday

Audrey Anday has been a librarian for fourteen years now. She holds a BS in Applied Mathematics from the University of the Philippines Los Banos and a MLIS in the same university. She went to Norway for her International Masters in Digital Library at the Høgskolen i Oslo, Tallinna Ülikool & Università Degli Studi di Parma.

a. What's your lib story? Describe how you made the choice of majoring in LIS and what was college life like for you as a LIS major. You can cite challenging stories and success stories while studying the course.

I was suppose to take my MA in Education major in Mathematics teaching when my mom suggested I also apply for an MA in LIS because at that time, Information Technology has been introduced to the field. Being the obedient daughter who roams around the library since I was small, I tried to apply hoping I will get to be accepted in the College of Education first rather than in ILS. However, it was the opposite that happened. I was able to finish my course work in two years but the then Dean Josephine Sison made a comment that she would not allow me to graduate if I only write a Special Problem thus I had to work with my thesis while working at the UP Open University. It took me another two years to finish the Master program. I was a full-time student and the challenge really was how to manage my time in such a way that I make the most of it plus spend time with new friends who became my good friends until now. It is a bit hard to adjust from the Science to the Social Sciences framework but all the hard work and perseverance were worth it because the same year I graduated did I took the board exam and passed.

b. What has been the greatest challenge you've faced so far as a licensed and working librarian? Why do you say it's a challenge?

My greatest challenge is really being a daughter of a librarian and "getting out of her shadow" has been a slow struggle. Don't get me wrong. I am proud to be her daughter and honored to be her colleague, it's just sometimes, I wish they can also remember me by my name together with the affinity

c. What is your area of expertise in LIS?

Being trained as a librarian, I guess we should all be expert in one way or the other in all the aspects of Librarianship. However since I have worked with Distance Education provider for a good number of years and recently graduated from the International Masters in Digital Library Learning, my expertise has moved towards providing library resources and services to distance learners with the use of diverse digital resources and knowledge management. But i still love to do cataloging from stamping to placing the call number and neatly shelving it to it's proper place

d. What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?

A competitive curriculum that is more or less parallel to majority of our neighboring countries should be in place that is also more or less responsive to the skills and talents of the students who will take it. Plus an individual who really has his heart and mind set to service. Theory and practice always come together, some people are good at theory while some are better in practice, thus a good combination for teaching and learning is also a welcome refresher. After graduation, small group talks, training and mentoring should be practiced informally or formally so that continuity of teaching and learning is ensured. Nowadays, anything can be applied to different sectors and field, at such collaboration and connection with other fields such as Computer Science, Management, Engineering and even with the Hard and Soft Sciences would also be an advantage.

e. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?

Aside from the trainings, workshops and enormous opportunities that came my way, it is the experience of being able to see people smile back at you after your encounter with them, be it at a service point, through email exchanges, interaction at workshop and training, that is the best reward so far. In addition, having gained good friends to turn to when you need some new ideas or even comforting words has also been a great reward for a tiring day. I guess it's not all monetary although there are jobs that pay well, I believe for me, the fruits of all my labor are the intangible things that warm me as person and the hurdles and bumps and humps that I have overcome through all the years are the lasting rewards I will always be proud to have attained.
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