Monday, April 7, 2014
NBDB Booklatan in Malabon and Then Some
Surprise number 1: Ken Spillman
Who would have thought Ken Spillman, author and literacy advocate, would be there? He flew to Manila to award a grant of PHP 10,000.00 to a Filipino author as additional funds for him/her to attend the Asian Festival of Chidlren's Content in Singapore this May 2014. That lucky author happened to be Genaro Gojo Cruz. When he learned that NBDB set up a Booklatan, he volunteered to tell stories to the kids there.
When we met, we had a book swap. I gave him copies of my book since the last time we saw each other, he gave me copies of his books. And yes, Ken, I still owe you a neat write up and a book review. Before he left Malabon, he handed to me his book donations to Sambat Trust UK's next school library project. I hope the next time we meet, I'll be able to take Ken to the schools that Sambat Trust UK has adopted.
Surprise number 2: Mayor Lenlen Oreta, the storytelling mayor of Malabon
I saw how Mayor Lenlen Oreta read aloud an Adarna Big Book for kids aged 4-7. Seated on straw mats, they eagerly listened to the mayor read aloud the story of two puppies, siblings who have opposite personalities. Mayor Oreta is a pro. He has questions prepared for pre, during and post reading. I learned later on that he visits schools once a week to do storytelling sessions. Now that's a literacy initiative worth emulating.
Surprise number 3: Malabon Teachers don't know who Augie Rivera and Christine Bellen are.
Two authors born in Malabon and Malabon teachers must know who they are and the contributions these two talented authors have given to Philippine Children's Literature.
Surprise number 4: Audience were all teachers
I expected to speak to Malabon librarians, but I was the only librarian in the room. So I had to adjust my stance to cater teachers' needs and interests. It's a good thing that reading and literacy are two concepts that teachers share with librarians. It was not at all difficult for me to make adjustments. However, the absence of librarians in a workshop meant for them is a cause of alarm. While the local LGU and the DepEd division they're sent out memos, librarians were excluded from attending. I learned about this from one of the participants.
Thinking about this, I feel that advocacy initiatives of librarianship in the political, educational and cultural aspects of Philippine society must be in place. What do I mean by this? I'll reserve a separate post on library advocacy. For now, it is good to talk about the relevance of libraries and the important roles librarians do. Those who are given this opportunity should do more than talk about topics, trends and issues that concern librarians and the profession. It is essential to emphasize integration and collaboration with allied professionals. Teachers can set up reading and literacy centers. True. Librarians are there to sustain these reading centers and transform them into learning hubs where readers can critically think on their own, make well informed decisions and be useful citizens who can contribute to the growth of the community.
Filipino librarians, our work is cut out for us.