Friday, November 6, 2015

The 2015 NBW Blog Event: Filipino Librarians and the Essentials of Reading Books

This write up is part of the  2015 NBW Blog Event aimed at celebrating and drumming up the 81st National Book Week happening on November 24-30, 2015. With the theme, the Filipino Reader in the Era of ASEAN Integration, guest bloggers write, share and ruminate on being a Filipino librarian and reader in this age of ASEAN Integration. 

Today's topic is about Filipino Librarians and the Essentials of Reading Books. Our guests bloggers are Igor Cabbab and Iyra Buenrostro. They approached the topic in a he says / she says format. Together, they lend insight and informed opinions on the shaping of the identity of Filipino Librarians, the relevance of knowing the interest of readers in the context of library services and their dreams of the ideal library in the Philippines.

Prof. Cabbab mentions a few websites where audiobooks can be downloaded. Take note of these recommendations, peruse them and if you find them worth your time, download!

    •    What/who is a Filipino librarian for you?

Iyra: This is somewhat related to a research problem I and Dean Kate Obille of UP SLIS raised in one of our ongoing papers on defining Philippine librarianship. If we look at the legislation and policy standards already in place as regards Philippine librarianship, and the qualifications and skill set that Filipino librarians must possess, these mostly entail the need to adhere to the internationally accepted practices in librarianship and assimilate or employ them in the Philippines by the Filipino librarians. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of definition or characterization of what Philippine librarianship is or what a Filipino librarian should be. But I believe that there is more to Philippine librarianship or what a Filipino librarian can do than adhering to standards and own professional development. Alongside his/her own professional development as a librarian, a Filipino librarian must let him/herself grow with the library clients – be the library is a public, special, school or an academic one. A Filipino librarian can go back to his/her roots and serve a community that truly needs the help of a librarian. A Filipino librarian is the one who can serve the country, even in a simple way of promoting the value of reading through the use of Filipiniana literature. 

 Igor: I'm taking a different side to this. The usual definition revolves around the person with the corresponding skill set and citizenship, maybe we should also define based on other factors. For me it may not be about citizenship, since we're going global and all. I remember mixed martial artists of Filipino descent yet not of Philippine citizenship who proudly refer to themselves as Filipino and carry the flag in every battle.

    •    What do you feel Filipino librarians should know about their users and their reading interests?

Iyra: Filipino librarians should be aware that the reading interests of users are constantly changing. And since I really believe that going back to the roots is important, Filipino librarians can inject innovative ways of introducing books and other materials written by our own Filipino authors especially that most of the widely read books nowadays are foreign titles.

Igor: In terms of service, the client is changing. In terms of content, the audience is also changing. Together with preservation of local sources we must also look outward and consider global resources. Roots are important, so are leaves that touch the branches of other trees. Of note would be the obvious shift in attention and interest, this generation of users are visual more than textual, hence the probability of materials for them being more graphic and audio-visual than textual.

    •    What about your reading interests nowadays?

Iyra: My reading interests now are related to my dissertation…and I have no choice. Hahaha. But I’ve always interested reading about Philippine history and culture.

Igor: My reading has been related to my dissertation proposal too. Noooo escape. XD  I must admit, my  recreational reading is very low these past few months. Other than articles from FB links I barely read other stuff. Due to my hectic schedule I still find time to escape.  One time I found my way to several public domain audio resources,
Unofficial audio drama rendition of the Hunger Games.
Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy by BBC
The Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. Lovecraft
Old Time Radio Shows

So what I do is download Old Time Radio programs and audiobooks from and and other sources and load 'em up on the car stereo on the way to work. So what I am trying to say, is… there will always be a way to learn. All Hail Cthulhu! XD

    •    In a perfect Philippines, how should things in a library be?

Iyra: I see Filipino librarians serving a community that actually reads. Filipiniana materials are widely circulated and more and more Filipinos are more aware of their own roots – their culture, history, and the story of their being as Filipinos. Love your own!

Igor: A community of service with no backbiters, no thick-headed self-serving people operating in the guise of “for the greater good”. So sorry, but that's how I really feel.

 Asst. Prof. Iyra S. Buenrostro (BLIS 2005, cl; MLIS 2010, specialization in Archival Studies) is a full time faculty member of the UP School of Library and Information Studies since 2006 and she teaches courses on Library and Information Science, Records Management and Archives Administration. She is currently on study leave while pursuing her PhD (Communication and Information) at Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University (Universiti Teknologi Nanyang) in Singapore.

Asst. Prof. Johann Frederick A. Cabbab (BLS 1994; MLS 1999, specialization in Information Systems, and Literature for Children and Young Adults) is a full time faculty member and former Dean of the UP School of Library and Information Studies. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Human Resources Development Office of the University of the Philippines Diliman Campus. He is also pursuing his Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in Information Science (DLitt et Phil) via distance mode at the University of South Africa (Universiteit van Suid-Afrika).

They are both members of PLAI, PATLS, SFA and SEAPAVAA. They last presented a paper together at the IFLA 2013 via “Reliving the Filipino classical music heritage: preservation and restoration of Philippine art music manuscripts of the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Music“.

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