Monday, August 25, 2014

Reading Promotion: I KNow What You Read Last Summer

I Know What You Read Last Summer, a book guessing game I set up last week as the library's reading promotion activity for the months of August and September.

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"&gt;&lt;img alt="Attachments" border="0" src="" />
AttachmentsR byainbow Rowell<br/> 

My rating:<a href="">4 of 5 stars

This is my third Rainbow Rowell book and it did not disappoint at all. In Eleanor and Park, Rowell writes about two different teens falling in love. In Fangirl, she explores life cycles and the changes that go with starting out at university. In both novels, Rowell presents quirky, almost neurotic, characters that grow on you. In Attachements, she created another male character, Lincoln, who seemed to start out as a weak, leading man to a strong female lead, but whose true blue, honest to goodness attitude towards people and relationships saved the day. In the end, Lincoln got the girl and my vote as a relaible book boyfriend.

What worked

Rowell is dazzlingly funny in her use of dialogue. Her characters jump out of the pages with joy and angst through shared conversations: in the office pantry, in the family kitchen, in email exchanges between Beth and Jennifer. It's amazing how Rowell weaves all the complexities of her characters, lead or supporting ones, into the fabric of the whole story through these conversations. I love Beth and Lincoln, but I was also rooting for Jennifer and Mike. I do hope there's a spin off (Hint. Hint).

I like the way Rowell unraveled the growing affection of Lincoln towards Beth and how he fell in love for her. Lincoln's revelation to Beth of who he really is pretty romantic. Their romance didn't end in fireworks, but time brought them back together. Indeed, when love is true, it finds a way.<br><br>

What did not work

Set in the 90s when the Internet was only starting out, Lincoln's job was to monitor company emails. Thus, his knowledge of Beth's woes and heartaches came from eavesdropping in her emails and chat messages with Jennifer. It's pretty weird. At one point, I thought of this situation as a menage. But, I suppose, that's just me. With the advent of technology, the idea of sharing information and our own identities to people we barely know is out there for the taking.<br><br>I did enjoy the book as it showed me subtle ways of coping with loss and heartbreak. The path towards redemption is not always laced with blood, sweat and tears. I like Lincoln's resolve and restraint towards getting Beth back. Attachments is not as dramatic as Eleanor and Park nor is it as life affirming as Fangirl. Then again, the book is sweet and quietly comforting. Rihana is right. We can find love in a hopeless place.


<a href="">View all my reviews

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Mary Ann Jimenez Salvador

Mary Ann Jimenez Salvador, Reference and Information Services Librarian of DLSU  Dasmarinas, Cavite shares with us her LIS: Love, Inspiration and Sacrifice.

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

Taking Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in Library Science was far from my mind. In fact, I never thought that a course like this exist. When I enrolled at PNU my desire is to become a science teacher. I preferred Biology or General Science. But my fate led me to this path when I served as a student assistant in the PNU Library. Prof. Ruben Marasigan was the one who enlightened me about the LS profession. He boasted to me and my fellow student library assistants that 100% of their LS graduates were successfully hired as a librarian right after graduation. This motivated me to embrace the LS profession. In addition to LS, I also took Art Education as my specialization course which nurtured my creative inclinations. I could say that I am one of those lucky students from our LS batch (1994) who always got recommendations from our professor whenever a school or institution looked for a part time cataloger. This gave me additional income to sustain my studies, plus I was able to practice and apply the theory that I’ve learned from the classroom. The Good Shepherd Convent in Cubao, Rogationist Seminary in Pasay and the Learning Child in Ayala, Alabang were the places that help strengthen my foundation in the LS profession during my college days. Luckily, the latter hired me after graduation and allowed me to practice my profession there for two years, as a librarian and as an art teacher. 

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? 

For the first nine years, I’ve worked as a one-woman librarian. It was a very challenging task because I was the one who started building the library and library collections in my first and second job assignments. Starting a library is like giving birth to a new baby. It was painful at first because you have to start everything from developing vision –mission –goals to designing policies, doing technical and mechanical works, simultaneously promoting as well as preserving your collection. However, as your baby grows into a child it becomes easy, meaningful and fruitful, especially if you were able to provide and answer the need of the researchers and implement successfully your plan. Working solo-librarian strengthened further my knowledge and values of the profession specifically, on working independently. After going solo for several years, I decided that it would also be better to work in a bigger library with other librarians. I can say that working in a university library is more challenging: you have to balance work and your relationship with people – your partners – namely: students, colleagues and other stakeholders. It also tested your leadership ability specifically in handling people. 

What is your area of expertise in LIS? 

For ten years now, I’ve been serving the readers’ services unit, now I’m in-charge of the Reference and Information Section and concurrently, the head of the creative team of the library. My RIS and Creative teams are also responsible for marketing the library services. On top of reference services, I’m fortunate to handle the Airwaves Research: the official Library On-Air, The Bookshelf:  official newsletter of the AEA and the gallery. These three marketing platforms of the library squeeze my/our creativity to the fullest – from program/project conceptualization to implementation to evaluation. It also allows me/us to think outside the box incorporating the concepts of information fluency and bibliotherapy. Finally, these activities hone further my curatorial and project management skills which I acquired and fostered when I was still at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and as co-founder of an independent/alternative creative venue in Cavite. 

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

For me, there’s no requirements and preparations needed because when you do that you already close the door of possibilities to others who would like to try this path. In LIS profession all you need is Love, Inspiration, and Sacrifice. Love for learning and for discovering new things. This profession offers a lot of possibilities and opportunities, but when choosing the opportunity we have to match it with the right competency. This is the reason why learning must be a continuing pursuit in this profession. Next is being an inspiration to others. We should have the capability to influence and persuade people – our fellow library personnel and our clientele become our partner in whatever library advocacy we’re planning to do. We cannot accomplish anything without them. Also, we have to walk our talk. If we want to inspire others, we should start it with ourselves. Last is Sacrifice, do not give up. Fight for your dream and work hard for it. Remember that there’s no success that happens overnight, it always comes with some sort of sacrifice. If we want to thrive in the LIS profession all we need is L for Love, I for Inspiration and S for Sacrifice. 

What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional? 

Hearing directly from the mouth of our students that their view of the library changed 360 degrees after library orientation is more than winning a lottery ticket. Other are bonuses like a smile on their faces after tutoring them on how to use online resources, a simple thanks after guiding them on how to use OPAC, and congratulations for another successful library exhibition. These are some of the rewards that you will get from being LIS professional which cannot commensurate with material reward. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Library Bluff Game

Here's a game I used with our tenth graders, Library Bluff: Is it a Fact or a Bluff?

The 10s were very competitive. I had fun listening to their justification and reasoning, arguments and counter arguments. The game required them to think through on their answers. There were a few students who were winging it. Those who frequent the library were able to answer the questions and provide reasons and arguments that were better phrased.

The Three Categories of the Library Bluff Game
What made the game educational was the "bluffing" part. I had to provide substantial information for each fact and correct the bluff. In a way, students reviewed basic library knowledge and new information was added to their knowledge on citations, information sources and research.

Contributing to UNESCO's Information Literacy Source Book

A few months back, Joseph Marmol Yap sent me an email asking for materials I have written about Information Literacy (IL). He was, at the time, collecting sources and documents on IL for a book being compiled by Dr. Forest Woody Horton Jr. Early this month, I received a copy of the ebook.

I'll be asking for permission to make the ebook available in my blog for download from Dr. Horton. Please visit the blog in the next few days for an update.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Klasrum Adarna for Book Creators

I got an invitation from Adarna House for a speaking gig
during the Manila International Book Fair 2014.

Monday, August 4, 2014

On LGBT Literature for Kids, Reading Choice and Libraries

I remembered last year when I gave a lecture in Teacher Portia's Chidlren's Lit class at the UP Diliman, Reading Department, I was asked how I feel about books that tackle gender differences and unique family dynamics. I know the question was really all about the changing family arrangement of Filipino families today like parents working abroad and same sex parenting. At the time, two new books for children that deals with same sex parenting and homosexuality were published. One of the books was even launched during the 30th National Children's Book Day.

If my memory serves me right, I answered in the affirmative. Yes, I feel positive about these books because, alas, we get to read such themes and issues with more care and consideration. My own children come home talking about the experiences of their classmates growing up with grandparents and being raised by homosexual parents. This is the reality of the world that my own children are growing up in. If such themes and topics are written about in the form of literature that my children read, then it is an opportunity to talk and discuss this with them with the hope that, empathy and a better understanding of the gray areas that make us human will come to light. Not only do homosexuality, same sex relations and dysfunctional family exist in real life, it has a place in children's and young adult literature.

So I was pleased when Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin by Bernadette Neri and Ang Bongang Bongang Batang Beki by Rhandee Garlitos were included in the Kids' Choice Award Top Ten Best Books. The Kids' Choice Award went to The Day of Darkness, but having these two books in the roster of the Top Ten Best Books tells us something about the books we want our kids to read and the choices our kids make on their reading.

For one, book creators need to be better at their craft. The quest to strive for higher goals and standards is a continuous process. As adults, we need to engage with our growing, young readers of the books they pick and read. The teenager or tweener may not open up to an adult on the books he or she is reading, but there are strategies to do so. More on this in a future post. Kids are more open to read about books that deal with complicated and controversial issues. I think we need to pay attention to this openness if we truly want to see the local children's industry grow and mature.

Lastly, I hope, with the effort of the PBBY and the NBDB spearheading the Kids' Choice Award, more children and teens are given the opportunity to join in the conversation. For this to happen, we need to strengthen the library system in the country. And that, my librarian friends is where we can take part.

Library Bulletin Board for the 1st Term

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