Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Storytelling Wonders!

Here is another email I am sharing. This came from Cyril Llerin, a school principal and participant in the DepEd's National Training of Trainors last March 2015. I had a half day session with the trainors on storytelling. The email contains feedback and a request.

I am thankful for the feedback. I replied to her request. I am happy that Ms. Llerin is sharing what she got from my workshop. Feedback like hers inspire me to continue doing the little contribution I can do for the K-12 program.

Hello Teacher Zarah G. Good morning po.

Thank you very much for the very memorable, enjoyable and FRUITFUL EXPERIENCE we had with you in our Storytelling 101 at Tanza, Cavite. We learned a lot. I personally enjoyed it, especially when I was given the chance to play as the HIGANTE in the "patikim portion" of the workshop. Nagenjoy din kami nang husto doon sa  biyahe ni JUAN...lakad, lakad na Juan.... Pumatak nang todo sa mga utak namin ang session mo dahil pinayagan mo kaming ma-experience ang STORYTELLING.


I am a school principal in Aalaska elementary school and I am planning to share your session with my 33 teachers in grade s1 - gr. 3 on April 22, 23 and 24. Gusto ko sanang gawing first activity ko ang kwento ni Juan... Hihingi sana ako ng kopya sa story ni Juan. Gusto kong gawin exactly how we did it in NTOT kaya may I have the copy of the text of the story? It is still vivid, very vivid pa talaga in my mind that activity. Sobra akong nagenjoy! Lahat kami parang kasali na sa story though mga boys lang ang naging mga hayop (participants in the storytelling)

And yes, I do wish that in the process of sharing stories, telling and creating them, our tribe may increas.

IASL 2015 Online Conference

This information came from Lourense Das who is one of the people in-charge of the IASL 2015 Conference in Maastricht. 

Online Conference
For the 1st time in the Annual IASL Conference history an Online Conference will be part of the total event. The Online Conference includes a selection of Papers with the highest score from the review process. The Online Conference will live-stream 5 keynotes, 23 papers, the Poster Elevator Pitch session and snapshots of conference happenings. Besides following the live stream, you will also be able to view the keynotes and the sessions afterwards (till at least a month after the end of the conference). The Online Conference programme is now available on the website.

So, if you are really, really not able to join us live in Maastricht, please do consider to join us virtually in the Online Conference. Registration for the Online Conference is now open!
Head on to the link. A conference fee of 75 euros is pegged for participants from Zone C countries.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ILN Discussion: Prove your worth!

I have been thinking through these questions:
•    How do you measure success in your library?
•  Are library statistics gathered? How are they used, and what do they tell you about the library?
 •    Who makes funding decisions about your library? How are those decisions made? Is funding very difficult to get?
 •    What is one story you can tell about a positive outcome that was achieved by your library?
These are the questions I need to answer for the ILN's topic of discussion. It cuts across library advocacy and knowing the roles that librarians play in the community he or she works with. I will get back to answering these questions before the weekend comes to a close. For now, follow these links since ILN participants have written about proving the library's worth and library advocacy.

What will you do to prove the worth of your library?

SLA Success Stories

The Elevator Pitch

Return on Investments

Library Measurement and Metrics

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Alex Lunar

Alex Lunar is this month's Filipino Librarian. He is currently the media librarian at the University of Batangas, Batangas City.

What's your lib story?

I am an accidental Librarian.

Never in my wildest dream that I saw myself doing library work. One thing I like doing that is somewhat related to library work is organizing things around me. I like to see things neatly arrange, from my room, to the things I use, to my garden. After graduation, the same school that gave me a scholarship in college called me because they needed an encoder in the library department. I applied for the position and got hired. My first degree was Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. I do some computer programming and trouble shooting. While working in the library, I felt I need additional job so I enrolled professional subjects in BSED because I feel I can teach. I choose TLE as my major because it was related to computer education and eventually I got my teacher’s license. I work as an encoder, computer trouble shooter and binder. As part of professional development the school obliged me to enroll in library science subjects for me to have background of the field. I went to Philippine Normal University to enroll in their specialization program. The very first day I set foot on PNU grounds especially the library, I knew changes will come to me. I met brilliant professors in the likes of Sir. Cobaria, Sir. Marasigan, Mam. Joven, Ma'am Orendain and Ma'am Tayona.

I think I didn’t choose LIS, it was a gift to me. I met different students taking up LS Specialization, some are young but mostly are older, most of us were graduates of other fields. When I finished my specialization program I thought PRC would allow taking LLE because I already have 18 units in LS and already a LET passer but they did not allow me. It took them sometime to decide but in the end, I was not able to get the exam. That was the first challenge I encountered.  I enrolled in the graduate program MAEd-LS in the same school, thinking it was my last option to be qualified for LLE, I have to do well. I met a lot of good people, I learned a lot, I’ve known PNU well and the thought of qualifying for exam just became a consolation price, the learning and experience became my motivation. I finished the program, it was year 2008, the last year non-LIS and non-MLIS graduates can take the exam, I have to nail it one time, thankfully I got it. 

The only guy in the group is none other than Alex Lunar, male Filipino Librarian.
What has been the greatest challenge you've faced so far as a licensed and working librarian?

The greatest challenge I encountered so far as a licensed and working librarian was teaching future librarians. It was the time that I am the one demonstrating and showing them how to become the best librarian they could be. It was challenging because they saw you as a mentor and model just like what my professors did to me. I have to make them see what I saw, the beauty of books and reading, research and service.

What is your area of expertise in LIS?

I could say that my areas of expertise are information technology and indexing, but I also do things other than that. If being funny and humorous is some sort of expertise in LIS, I would be the first in line. I could be a friend to anyone.

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

For me to become LIS professional, one should have a deeper understanding of things around them and be able to appreciate their importance. One should understand the importance of being informed and be able to share the information to others. You have to be positive and optimistic enough that the things you are doing will bring positive results. One should love to discover from basic sampling to complicated scientific research.

What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?

Rewards, I was given a chance to teach young people about libraries, books and the beauty of reading. I was able to serve different type of clients belonging to different walks of life. I met a lot of bright people and I was able to learn from them. It was rewarding to belong to organizations doing good things to other people to make the world a better one. I was able to talk and share my knowledge to my colleagues. I was awarded several times for being good (daw) in practicing my profession which I cannot achieve without being one. I became known and popular somehow, elected in several positions in different library organization, maybe because I gathered more votes because I’m talkative and friendly. Lastly I can say, it was financially rewarding, not that much but it pays better being a librarian.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ARC: The Navy SEAL's Email Order Bride/Red Hot Beginnings Anthology

My affair with contemporary romance novels hit an all time high when I started reading Cora Seton, particularly The Cowboys of Chance Creek series. I have read all eight books in the series and was very much amused at the quirky characters, loveable female leads and the swoon worthy cowboys that are matched with them. It was a lot of fun reading the romance stories of Ethan and Autumn, Jaime and Claire, Cab and Rose, Rob and Morgan, and the rest of the Matheson brothers.

When I learned about The Heroes of Chance Creek series, I immediately purchased the first book The Navy SEAL's Email Order Bride. When I finished reading this, I bought the second one, The Soldier's Email Order Bride and the third, The Marine's Email Order Bride. I am patiently waiting for the fourth installment in the series, The Airman's Email Order Bride, to see how the Halls' quest to reclaim their home and ranch will end. Of course, it will end happily ever after, like most romance novels do. But the adventure, the relationships, the sense of community, along with its complications are elements in the series I want to see unfold and come to a conclusion.

What worked

I love Mason Hall because he loves his brothers, his family's heritage and the land he grew up in. Apparently, this SEAL has a strong and well balanced mental faculty that he does not suffer any post war trauma. Nope. He is not the dark and brooding hero. He is prideful, handsome, a gentleman and knows where his head and heart should be. He is your romance hero whom you can depend on. Ah, but his pride would get in the way some times and this is where Regan Anderson comes in to temper and put Mason into rights.

This is what I love about the book. How the author mixes and matches her characters to bring home the message that, despite differences, man and woman can live together. The stuff of fiction, some would say. An escape from reality, a few may add. But, I have seen real life relationships endure that makes me a believer in this conceit.

What about the sex? Of course there is plenty. But Regan knows what she wants and how to get it. Mason gives what he can and takes, in all sincerity and respect, what Regan is capable of giving.

What did not work

It's too short. I would have wanted to see more complications between the leads but, Cora Seton reserved that for the second book in the series.

As for the anthology, the Red Hot Beginnings, it is a sizzling read; a good reading companion these hot summer days. I've finished the second book, Life Blood  by V.M. Black and it can stand strong, enough for me to suspend my disbelief. Though it is not a finished novella, I can say that this is the better vampire romance novel I have read in a while. There is a series to the initial offering, Cora's Choice, so I might check it out soon as well. I am on the third novella now, Beauty Touched the Beast by Sky Warren, another promising read that touches on a May-December affair.

I will leave this review here but with a promise that I will come back to finish it. Until next post!

The Binan Public Library and Museum

The stained glass reminds me of my lola's house.
I made the visit to the public library of Binan, Laguna last week. Thanks to Dr. Merlene Alon who accommodated me that afternoon. Dr. Alon is a proud Binanense who volunteered to help develop the library and the museum. The public library is housed in the old municipal hall which is flanked by the public market on the left and the church on the right. There is an azotea overlooking the town plaza and the skeleton of the old Alberto House. That afternoon of my visit, I was given an application form for a library card!

The library has a spacious reading room; a viewing room; an Internet station; and a working area for its staff and volunteers. That afternoon, the reading area was empty but there were teenagers who were using the computers for research and, yes, Facebook.

This poster about Rogelio Limaco is found in a room dedicated for Binan's World War II hero.
There is also a museum on the second floor. It was impressive since it has a gallery of photographs that show Binan's industry and trade since the time of the Spanish conquest. There is a room dedicated for Roger Limaco, one of Binan's local hero as well as past mayors and the memorabilia that are marked by each's term of office. I learned from Dr. Alon that more and more, family members of past mayors have contacted her to donate more memorabilia from their collection. This is good news indeed and the local government unit better take good care of these archival and historical objects, documents and donations.

As a librarian, visiting this library is already a treat. As a member of the community, I feel I need to do more. So, the extra books we have identified for donation in our school library will be having a new home in this public library inside a heritage house. More photos on my next post!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

DIY School Library Bulletin Board

Here is a sneak peak on a handout and content on my forth coming workshop for Adarna House and Intervida next month. I will be giving a session on library improvement for teachers, librarians and cultural workers in Bicol.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Visit From Librarians of Lipa City Colleges

The visit of eight librarians from the Lipa City Colleges in our library was one event I was thrilled to host. They were the first group to see us at The Academy for benchmarking purposes. To prepare for their visit, my staff and I showed them the basic library functions we have set up, the activities and programs we have conducted, so far, gave them a tour of the campus and had a round table discussion at the end of the tour. We also served them the fabled puto Binan and brewed coffee.

The team from Lipa City Colleges was led by Ms. Belle De la Cruz. From this post in FB by Marianne Diesta, I think we had all a wonderful time. Here's hoping we can establish stronger networking ties with our colleagues in Batangas.

Monday, April 20, 2015

SLIA: A Decade of Blogging

The blog turned ten years old yesterday! There is reason to celebrate! So, from here on, I'll be posting throwback posts that consists of Top Ten lists about the blog and topics I have written about the past decade.

For the meantime, here is a screen shot of my first post in 2005.

Von Totanes greatly figured in my blogging life. He remains an inspiration.
At the time I started out, my agenda  was to promote school librarianship; the work I do as a school librarian; advocate reading and literacy; and use the online space as a way to address topics and issues relevant to the profession. Along the way, I realized that blogging helps me learn new things. I am still learning new things. SLIA opened opportunities for me to grow professionally by being a main platform for my own personal and professional learning network. Blogging gave me avenues to be creative.

It has been an exciting ride. It is one where I had encountered bumps along the way and where I was able to pause, to reflect and pick myself up to move on. I've reached a decade of blogging and, perhaps, a "dot com" website is inevitable.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Haiku Writing Workshop

Candy May Schijf and I composed a haiku during the workshop.
I like haiku. You can say so much, and more, in three lines and in very few words. Back in 2009, I wrote twelve haiku, one for each month to capture a moment. In my poetry workshop for kids, I always put in a unit on haiku writing. Imagine my delight to learn about a Haiku Writing Workshop in the IAFOR LibrAsia 2015!

It was the last session of the conference for Day 1. I was on cloud nine to have had my photo taken with haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. In our brief conversation before the start of her workshop, she told me that she is a poet, and that poets are bubbles. She smiled and excused herself as she had to prepare for her workshop. Just like that, she disappeared from my sight like a bubble. Upon entering the workshop venue, we discovered stuff on top of each chair. At close inspection, it was a crocheted bookmark and a one page handout for the writing workshop. The crocheted bookmarks were done by Ms. Yamashita's mother who is over 90 years old.

With haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. Bubble personified.
During the workshop, Ms. Yamashita and her co-facilitator, gave inputs on the basics of writing a haiku, a brief origin story about it and the form of a traditional Japanese haiku in 5-7-5 syllables. They showed samples of haiku by Issa, Basho as well as western ones. What followed next was an on-the-spot haiku writing workshop where feedback was given immediately to the brave souls who stood up and delivered. At the end of the workshop, I was lucky to get a book on a collection of haiku written by children from all over the world.

As in all art forms, writing must be practiced. It is something done everyday to sharpen one's skill, perceptions and feelings. So, I committed to writing 100 haiku. What I do is to select photos I have taken from my travels or from simple things I see around me. Like what Ms. Yamashita said in the workshop, a haiku is about moments. It is not about the passing of time. I started last April 6, 2015. I am on day eleven now. I post my haiku on Instagram. Check these hastags: #haiku / #humahaiku / #The100DayProject #iaforLibrAsia2015results.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Comparative Librarianship

The OICC - Osaka Internattional Convention Center
One of the new things I learned from the 5th LibrAsia Conference was about comparative librarianship. I have read and participated in international librarianship, but it was my first time to encounter the term, comparative librarianship. Turns out, it has been around since the 70s and that, my engagement with IASL since 2005 is part and parcel of ICL, International and Comparative Librarianship.

Here are links to ICL websites:

ICL Definitions
IFLA - Interest Group: ICL
Peter Johan Lor on ICL

Thinking through this experience, I realized that my current involvement in the International Librarians Network's peer mentoring and partnership program is an ICL activity. I have been exchanging emails and blog entries with my Polish friend, Wanda Sliwowska, a school librarian in Poland, for over a month now. You can read the ILN introduction I wrote in this link. Wanda has made a blog since our "convo" and email exchanges. I also learned from her that they have a school librarian association in Poland. Our last topic of discussion in the ILN program was about games in the school library. While Wanda has started organizing a game board collection, I still have to study and explore this possibility in our school library.

Receiving my certificate from Dr. Patrick Lo
In my introduction, this is what I said on my purpose for joining ILN: I joined ILN because I know little of the world. I wish to expand my worldview in the context of my work as a school librarian. I am excited to know more about my peer mentor hoping that I can also contribute or give back a little of what I know. It has been an enjoyable and enriching experience. There are times when I do feel alone in the work place. No offense meant to my learning community. But being with one's kin or kind inspires and uplifts me to do more; to push myself; and to look at my small self in a bigger world. Such experiences affirm that the little things I do matter.  To quote June Carter, "I just want to matter."

Going back to the 5th LibrAsia Conference where comparative librarianship was a topic of presentation, Dr. Patrick Lo shared his research on librarians in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. It covered librarians working in schools, academia and universities. In a nutshell, there is work to be done in school librarianship across Asia. 

We can start rolling our sleeves and go to work by answering this survey: - Where we can mull over on our roles and feel good afterwards. - Where we can think about comics and how it can change our services to readers.

These are all for now on the IAFOR / 5th LibrAsia Conference.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Library Visit and Benchmarking

On April 16, I will play host to eight librarians from Lipa City Colleges. I am preparing a song and dance number for our visitors. And yes, there will be food!

Japan Trip 2015: IAFOR ACAH & LibrAsia 2015

Crossing the river towards the OICC
Let me first spell out these acronyms: IAFOR stands for International Academic Forum. ACAH means Annual Conference on the Arts and Humanities. LibrAsia is a coined word for Librarians in Asia or Libraries in Asia. Put together, these are the three reasons why I was in Japan in the first week of April this year.

I attended the IAFOR ACAH LibrAsia Conference (April 3-5, 2015), presented a paper, learned loads and had a good time. This last bit is the icing on the cake. A lot of work went into research and writing the paper. Now here's what happened in the conference.

The plenary sessions began in day 1 where academics from the arts and humanities presented their research papers. I came late on the first day so I only had the chance to listen to Mr. Jared Baxter talk about Van Gogh's Starry Night and the influences it has on different disciplines as well as its impact in the political, cultural and historical milieu of the artist, past and present. This was already in mid-morning. A session before the morning break. I met Filipino academics and presenters too. There was a good number of Filipino participants and paper presenters from Luzon and the Visayas. Somehow, the atmosphere did not feel so foreign at all.

The Pinoy Continget at the IAFOR 2015
Before lunch break, we were all treated to songs and dances of the Taiko Drum Perfomers. I was impressed by their youthful exuberance performing their traditional songs and dances that I wrote a haiku.
"Thunder in the flesh
Proud, powerful and unafraid
Taiko drum performers"

Candy receiving her certificate from Dr. Lo
Breakout session began at 1.30PM. I presented my paper on school librarians and leadership in the library session with Candy May Schijf and Mr. Wilson Chu of the Hong Kong Design Institute presenting too. Candy's paper was about Information Literacy and assessment while Mr. Chu's paper was on attitudes and perceptions of students on the library and how this can help librarians create the space, services and programs of the library. The session was chaired by Dr. Patrick Lo of Tsukuba University.

Discussion during our session thrived. The audience were interested to know about the government's guidelines on school libraries in the Philippines. Dr. Lo was particularly eager to know the school library landscape in the country. This led to an exchange of calling cards, more conversations and sharing of future research projects after our presentation. Right after, Candy and I rushed to Willian San Andres Frias' presentation. We didn't see her present her paper on collection development and research data, but a physicist and librarian from Vienna was giving her accolades for her paper, even encouraging her to have it published in an academic, refereed journal.

What were Cristina, Grace and Darrel doing all the time?

A haiku is about a moment.
Cristina chaired a session and presented her paper too. Grace and Darrel sat in sessions in the literature strand. During the afternoon break, I met Dr. Grace V.S. Chin from the Univeristi of Brunei Darusalam. She wrote a paper on Jose "Butch" Dalisay's novel, Soledad and Her Sisters, and the OFW experience seen through the lens of the matriarchal archetype. I was introduced to her by Grace Bansig (ye, another Grace), since she listened to her present her paper.

The last session we all attended was the Haiku Writing Workshop by haiku master, Emiko Yamashita. I will devout one post for that workshop since it is one of the more memorable sessions in IAFOR LibrAsia 2015. Well, at least, for me.

This is Day 2 of my Japan Trip of 2015. My post on Day 3 is next. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Friends New and Old in Osaka and Kyoto

A groupie before they bid me farewell for my lone journey to Kyoto
I look back at the week I spent in Japan and words come to me to describe it: mentoring; adventure; kindness; intellectual discourse; art and culture; international mindedness; serenity; order; discipline; risk taking; friendship.

For today, I will write about FRIENDSHIP.  

Friends Old and New

I think when people travel, they are bound to discover new ones and were helped by the good old ones. This happened to me at the onset. It was Ann Grace Bansig who pushed me to submit a paper in the IAFOR LibrAsia Conference. I remember it well. We were having a light dinner in Tokyo Tokyo last year when the idea of attending conferences in 2015 came about. There is no harm in trying so I told Grace and Darrel (who was with us at the time). After reading the guidelines of the IAFOR's Call for Papers, I submitted my paper on leadership and school librarianship. In less than a week, I got an acceptance letter. A few weeks after this good news, Grace sent a text message informing me of the good news she and Darrel received from IAFOR. We were all very excited at the opportunity to engage in conversation with librarians from different cultures and backgrounds. And yes, the idea of visiting Japan thrilled us to the bone!

A lot of friends helped me too in planning and preparing for the trip. Many of them wished to remain anonymous especially the kind of help they extended to me. I am sure of one thing though, I will do more random acts of kindness especially to travelers and librarians dreaming of traveling abroad to attend a conference. I will pay "it" forward.

With Ryota who is a Manny Pacquiao fan. He believes that Pacman will defeat Mayweather!
Candy May Schijf, a friend I have met over in FB, whom I briefly had an EB (eye ball) at the Rizal Conference in November last year, submitted a paper and it too got accepted. Her friend from DLSU Taft, Willian Frias got an acceptance letter as well.

So our company of three, became five. In December 2014, we met to plan the trip. We had constant convo in FB on flight details, lodging, logistics and visa applications. A week before the trip, Cristina Villanueva of UP Baguio sent word via FB since she learned that there are Filipino librarians attending and presenting in the conference. She too was a presenter and session chair at the IAFOR. We arranged to meet in Osaka during the conference.

Leaving Manila on different routes and plane reservations, we all met at Osaka International Convention Center on Day 1 of the IAFOR LibrAsia. Happiness!

At Tennoji Park. Our first encounter with the glorious sakura!

Dare and Grace

One dynamic of friendship I find worthy of reflection is that of collaboration. This is very evident in the relationship of Darrel Manuel Marco and Ann Grace Bansig. I have seen these two together in many instances where one's personality and strength complement the other. Where Grace lends energy and sprite, Darrel provides balance and introspection. In my imagined reality, I see them as a couple perfectly fitted to each other. But, sad to say, this is just me dreaming romantic dreams unsuitable for others to make it come true. The point is, good friendships thrive in all walks of life and in all peoples regardless of age, religion, cultural background and sexual preferences. This is the magic of friendship that is why, it must be nurtured and kept healthy.

Sadly, I didn't see Darrel and Grace present their paper on the Overseas Filipino Worker and Philippine Children's Literature since I needed to be in Kyoto on Saturday night. More on this in another post.

I am impressed to see both of them go beyond the horizon. How many Filipino school librarians venture into writing about children's literature, analyzing context and determining the constructs of knowledge found in these children's stories? Only a handful dare to do so. I think it is relevant that school librarians look at the reading materials that children read because, after all, school librarians bridge children to books and information sources. From what I read in FB, the duo dared to push the envelope during their presentation and they both accomplished this with grace. Congratulations!

As of writing, Darrel and Grace are still in Japan, meeting friends and having the summer of their lives! As I posted on FB, I wish them well and that their friendship may bring forth more collaborative endeavors in the future. 

Friends in Kyoto

I spent my last day in Japan in Kyoto. I took the subway from Osaka then made the connecting ride via the Limited Express in Kyobashi. It took me an hour to reach Demachiyanagi station. I met Lani De Vera there, a friend from way back. She teaches English in an IB school there. She treated me to dinner in a ramen house and the ramen was delicious! I spent the night at her place and the morning after, we met her friend, Midori-san.

With Lani and Yanagida-san who has been to Bohol and Cebu.
It was raining that Easter Sunday. I wore three layers of clothing but the cold climate got through my bones. This did not stop me from enjoying the walk down the Philosopher's Path. Lani and Midori-san planned a hanami but due to the rain, a change was imminent. Lani and I found ourselves in Midori-san's home. It was mid-way the Philosopher's Path. I just have to say this: the whole place was like a setting in a Miyazki movie. More on this in a future post. Again.

With Midori-san whose name means "green" in Japanese.
At Midori-san's home, we met Yanagida-san, her husband. He is a retired teacher. He likes taking photographs, traveling and listening to music. He showed me his CD of Celeste Legaspi songs. He showed me his album filled with his photographs of fall, winter, summer and spring in Kyoto, Okinawa and Mt. Fuji. He even offered his place for me the next time I am in Kyoto. Their hospitality warmed me enough to still the shaking coldness in my toes and fingers. Midori-san fed us a plateful of pizza, salad, fresh juicy tomatoes and sweet bread. The coffee was great too! The brunch was perfect for the long walk she had thought out for us to take.

The rest of the morning, Midori-san was with us as tour guide to the Nanzen-ji Temple. There I saw girls in kimono, a temple gate that reminds me of Avatar (think Aang and the gang), an aqua-duct, more sakura and rain. Lots and lots of rain!

At noon, Lani brought me to Kyoto Station where I started my journey towards Nagoya to Central International Airport. I have fond memories of these three cities: Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto. I meant to go back to Japan. God willing.

Now, I need to save up. And do more thinking and working and engagement in an endless conversation on matters that are relevant to the profession.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Japan Trip 2015: Nagoya to Osaka Day 1

And so, I am back.

I am here to tell the tale and it goes like this.

When my paper was accepted for oral presentation in the IAFOR LibrAsia 2015, I was excited. Who wouldn't be? I thought, I will be presenting, once more, to an international audience and it is going to be in Japan. Japan! Images flashed through my mind: kimonos, haiku, ramen, robotics, kamishibai, kabuki masks, geisha, samurai, Studio Ghibli, and, cherry blossoms. The long and short of it, the preparation for the trip was remarkable. Thanks to the help of Darrel Marco and Ann Grace Bansig, I was booked on time and got my visa a week before our scheduled flight.

So, Darrel and I were together on the flight coming in Japan via Nagoya Central Airport. The Conference was in Osaka but due to our limited budget, we went the long way round. And boy, did we go round and round on our first night in Nagoya. When we reached Meitetsui Station, we looked for the bus stop of the night bus. We needed to ride this bus on time since the last trip is at 24.30. We followed the instructions in our online reservation form but couldn't find the spot. Our first attempt was the Meitetsui bus station but it was the wrong one. We asked the staff where Willer Express makes its stop but they simply said they do not know.

We went back where we started. You see, when you are lost, go back to where you began and you will find your way. So we retraced our steps, tried calling Willer Express (a futile effort) and trusted our instincts. We headed to JR Line and there, we found an information center. We asked for directions. The language barrier was so strong that it was an additional challenge. We comprehended through actions and signals, body language, and yes, intuition, again. The Japanese police and information staff we talked to when we were looking for the stop of the night bus were all very serious at helping us. I think they know what we meant and that they provided us with the right directions, but expressing these in a language foreign to theirs didn't help us. On our third try, yes, we went back to Meitetsui Line, a Japanese woman came out of nowhere when we were asking for directions from a taxi driver. Luckily, Chisako, our savior for the night, could speak English. Another luck came about. Darrel's Android picked up a signal to connect via wifi so he could download a map. Showing the map and our reservation print out to Chisako, she helped us find our way to the bus stop. She was after all, going to Tokyo via Shikansen and our way to the bus stop is her way to Shinkansen station as well.

With Chisako who helped us find the stop of the night bus.
It was a long walk. Pretty much like a regular 3k run for me. So imagine Darrel and I lugging our bags and suitcases, lost in Nagoya with only our map, our print outs and our guts intact. It was a test of faith. I never realized how steadfast and persevering Darrel is until that night. He never gave up given the time left at our hands. He was calm too. I sure did learn a lot of things from him that night. These days, I worry a lot. I almost gave up telling Darrel to buy us new tickets in another bus company. The thing is, he has so much trust. So much faith. Then I realized, I am growing old. How blessed am I to be in the company of the young.

How unafraid and trusting was I when I was Darrel's age? Maybe I need to remember. Maybe I need to bring back that heart of a child in me. I sure need to reflect more on this. Darrel and I were together Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. There I was being blessed with the grace of friendship and the kindness of a stranger.

The Night Bus has a game console, a small TV screen and headphones for music.
Finding the bus stop, we thanked Chisako. I gave her a copy of my book as a token of gratitude. The long ride to Osaka began. When we reached Osaka, we walked four or five corners more. We reached the train station, got off at Shin-Imimamiya, walked three corners, and finally we found our hotel where Ann Grace, May Schif and Willian Frias had checked in a day before. They were on their way out while we were on our way in.

SURPRISE! We were so noisy! We were so Pinoy!

Together at last!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Live Blogging: IAFOR LibrAsia 2015

I am seated at the plenary hall of the Osaka International Convention right now, listening to Mr. Jared Baxter discuss Van Gogh's Starry Night and its cross cultural contexts in the recent past and in current times. I am blown away by the integration of art, politics and the discussion on culture by Mr. Baxter's presentation. How can one painter's technique, color combinations and biography become so powerful even in this day and age that it has become a source of study?

The program for the day promises to be an exciting one since a Haiku Writing Contest is next, followed by paper presentations.

I will be presenting my paper, The School Librarian as Literacy Leader, at 1PM today. The session is the Librarianship track where Candy May Schif and Prof. Patrick Lo of Tsukuba University will also present papers on information literacy.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

International Librarians Network: Book Elections from Poland

I am sharing this interesting book activity and list of books by Wanda Sliwowska, my peer mentor and partner in the ILN program. She calls it Book Elections.
It was an action inspired by magazine for librarians “Library in school”. Pupils choose books they want to recommend to other teens. You have the list below. I was very glad that many of the books they can borrow in the school library. As you can see our pupils like science fiction books, detective stories and novels of manners. How about pupils in your school? Which kind of book do they like?

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
The Fault in our Stars
John Green
The Circle
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Artur Conan Doyle
Christopher Paolini
Harry Potter
Joanne K. Rowling
We Children of Bahnhof Zoo
Christiane F.
Addict’s diary
Barbara Rosiek
Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith
Lord of the Rings
Around the World By Bus
Karol Lewandowski
Jeff Kinney
If I Stay
Gayle Forman
The Chronicles of Narnia
Veronica Roth
Three Meters Above Heaven
Federico Moccia
Stephanie Meyer
Percy Jackson
Rick Riordan
The Maze Runner
James Dashnel

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Update on New Book Project: Big Sister

I received a soft copy of Big Sister from Lampara Books, publisher of my books for children. In a month or so, the printed copy will be ready and I am hoping to have a book launching in June or July. No details yet. Still an idea.

Ruben "Totet" de Jesus did an amazing job illustrating the story. Take away the text and the story can stand on its own legs through the drawings. Like Jomike Tejido and Liza Flores, Totet (a good friend from PBBY so I call him by his first name) knows how to bridge the text to a visual narrative. The result is wonderful! A merging of words and visuals on a printed page! What interpretation will the story hold when it reaches the hands of an effective storyteller like Dyali Justo?

Of course, I sound like "nagbubuhat ng bangko". Indulge me please. It is April Fools Day, anyway.

Here is a clipped photo from the dedication page of the book. Just like my previous books for children, Big Sister is a very personal story I put together a few years back. It is a dream come true to see it as a book for children.

I do not have a big sister but I have good friends who I consider as my sisters. At twelve years old, I became a big sister and it was only recently did I discover why I was given a baby brother. That my friends is for another book project!

A New School Library Grows in Sta. Cruz Laguna

Look at these photos:

This is the new school library of the Laguna Sino-Filipino Educational Foundation. The school library was set up by Ms. Yasmin Ong, Language Teacher and the designated Library Coordinator. She is not a librarian. But, she loves books and she is an avid reader. Yes, my dear librarian friends, we are not the only ones who can set up and organize libraries.

Nope. This is not an April Fools' Day joke.

When Ms. Ong was introduced to me via Facebok by a common friend, she and I started a three month long conversation on setting up and organizing a school library. This all happened in Facebook! Last March, she sent me these pictures of the library. How lovely!

Our initial "convo" was about the Dewey Decimal Classification. We librarians learned the DDC in university for one semester. So what I did was to explain the concepts of library organization to Ms. Ong in the most practical and simplest of ways. Uniformity, Accuracy and Reliability are key concepts "to live by" when organizing a library collection. The rest, procedures and structures, will follow. I also recommended her some reading materials like the IFLA-UNESCO Manifesto and School Library guidelines. Since Ms. Ong is a teacher, I encouraged her to work with her students when dividing and organizing the books by genre: FICTION and NON-FICTION. It is in fact ideal if students can be given a role in helping set up a system of organization since they are the immediate beneficiaries of the library. Teachers can take part too, as they are involved in teaching and learning. The library is a place where learning and teaching are nurtured and developed. Much of library development is anchored to its community's context and culture.

For librarians who are helping teachers, community developers and people in Non-government organizations set up libraries, remember to begin with the knowledge of the community and their experience of libraries. We are creating learning spaces and avenues of thinking. The books and formats of information we organize must be contextualized to a philosophy and a culture. That culture and philosophy is in part found in the community to which the library belongs to.

This is going to be a running post so do watch out for more tips on library set up and helping library advocates organize reading centers and libraries.
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