Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reconnecting with PASLI: Learning with Colleagues

With young school librarians who asked for an autograph
My last speaking engagement with PASLI was in 2013 in Baguio City. Three years after, I was back to reconnect with colleagues in PASLI as facilitator for two sessions during the 38th National Conference and General Assembly in Iloilo City. This reconnection with my PASLI friends is one for the books.

To briefly share with you, I had a medical crisis a day before the PASLI Conference. I thought I was going to be admitted to the hospital, but my urologist cleared me safe to travel. I had to rest the following day to prepare for the flight on Wednesday morning. PASLI Officers Rhodora Espiritu and Gemma Murillo-Cuna did everything so I can come and deliver my seminar-workshop at the conference. It was bad enough that I missed the PLAI Congress due to a medical crisis (again). I know I had to do the PASLI Conference.

And so, with God's grace, I came. I delivered. I did my job.

What joy! While participants posted their photos on FB showing the fun they had during my sessions, I admit that I learned from them. This is what I always look forward to in speaking engagements: the insights and learning experience I derive from interacting with delegates and colleagues.

I realized that there are school librarians who have shown leadership in their learning communities. Their stories of best practices must be heard. This implies the changing role of PASLI. Apart from the conduct of conferences, perhaps, it will help Filipino school librarians to see and hear more stories about best practices from colleagues. PASLI can be a platform for them. So, PASLI is taking on a mentoring role to its members, peers and colleagues.

With delegates and PASLI Officers
The program boasted of esteemed speakers from the academic libraries. Their presentations are products of research and scientific study of LIS. I imagine now a PASLI Conference, where papers, thesis and research are presented alongside best practices. This can firm up the practice of school librarianship as well as discover topics for further study that will enrich the LIS literature in the country.

In my session, I discovered the possibility of doing a research on professional competencies and continuing professional development of school librarians. During the session, I posed a challenge to the delegates to look at the extent of impact a Personal Learning Network can do to a school librarian and its effects on the school library he/she works in. We have always talked about improving our school libraries. It is time to focus on personal and professional development because, school libraries will not grow if school librarians are not growing.

Ready for a workout?!
I also noticed the number of young school librarians in attendance. I wondered how many of them will stay as school librarians in the next ten years. Because, I have seen good school librarians quit the profession due to varied reasons. Again, this is an avenue for research. Oh! If only I have the time! Lastly, being with colleagues last week made me see hope. Hope for the profession. Hope for Philippine School Librarianship.

I am grateful to my own learning community, The Beacon Academy, for allowing me to be involved in my professional community. I am thankful for PASLI for sending me the invitation as early as February and assigning a topic they know I can handle well. In the middle of the three day conference, I asked myself why, despite the infection and stones, I continue to do this. Many reasons surface. But this one, I will say it here: I do it because it is my way of giving back to the profession who has given me so much!

Photo source: Thanks to Mae Pagatpatan Diesta and Rhodora Espiritu for the photos

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