Sunday, April 30, 2017

Millennials and School Libraries

Sharing with you this PPT by Darrel Marco as presented during the 2017 PASLI Conference in Cagayan De Oro.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Singing Librarian: Bridges & Never Been To Me

This is my third year to take part in the school's annual showcase. It's not a perfect performance, but I do it because it is good for my soul.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Year After My Stroke of Luck

Finding inner peace can be a struggle.
When I was a still a school librarian in Xavier School, a classroom teacher became one of my assistants. She came from a long leave of absence after a minor stroke that rendered her insecure and fearful. While she tried her best to work alongside the healthier staff of the library, her moods and temperament swung from left to right. She couldn’t keep up with the entire demands and energy of the preschool community thus, the work assigned to her were few and light. Hoping this would give her the time and the pace to recoup, gather up her strength and go back to full time teaching for the next school year, she wallowed in self pity. It affected her work output and productivity. She became a burden to many on days when she was down.

It had not been easy for all of us, most especially for me as I was the librarian-in-charge of that library located in the early childhood education unit of the school. One day, she told me of her desire to go back to classroom teaching because, she utterly felt useless in the library. She believed she was meant to teach. Her health has stabilised somewhat according to her doctor. To go back in the classroom would renew her self confidence and vigor.

Who was I to prevent her? The next school year, she was moved back to the Grade School department to the relief of the staff and the teachers who endured her for one academic year.

I remember her now because today is the first year anniversary of my Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). How easy it had been for me to dispense faith and belief to someone who survived a stroke. Indeed, putting one’s self in the shoes of another is very different from experiencing a life changing event. The emotional and psychological recovery takes time. I remember her now with the realization of how fragile our bodies are, more so, our feelings and state of mind.

Now I know how it is to be insecure and afraid. To lie in bed, begging for sleep to come but worry hovers and keeps me awake for hours; to cling and to seek friends who would patiently listen to my complaints. The irrepressible Zarah Gagatiga is no more but a vulnerable woman afraid to die at any moment. There are days when, after a productive day at work, fear would gnaw at my insides and it would leave me exhausted until either of my kids or my husband assures and pacifies me.Telling me and reminding me of my worth. That I am loved. That I am not alone. I doubted myself a lot since the stroke. My prayer to God had been a litany of endurance and survival. Nahihiya na nga na ako sa Dios because, there are instances when I have become blind to the graces, the mercy and the blessings that came my way since the TIA.
With the Fambam, Easter 2017
Yet, God’s love is stronger than my fears. Walang hangan ang kanyang pasensya. Walang katapusan ang kanyang pagmamahal.

Everyday, He continues to give me the grace to see the kindness in people and to bask in the glory and the goodness of His creation.

Despite myself, I pray for humility and a forgiving heart.

I wish I had been kinder to that former colleague of mine. No one knows if I will see her again. But, I resolve to live life one day at a time; to be simply grateful for every breath and for every waking moment; to be kind and to do goodness for as long as I live.

The Extended Essay as Process and Research as a Journey

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Salamat, PASLI!

Hangang ngayon, punongpuno pa rin ang puso ko sa pasasalamat sa mga officers ng PASLI (Philippine Association of School Librarians), sa iginawad nilang recognition para sa aking mga gawa, nagawa at gawain bilang isang school librarian, teacher librarian at advocate ng mga aklat at pagbabasa. Hindi ko kase inakalang makakakuha ako ng ganoong recognition mula sa mga kaibigan sa pinili (at pinilit) kong propesyon. Isang sorpresa! Wala akong nasabi sa video chat kundi, salamat at salamat!

Taos puso rin ang pasasalamat ko kina Darrel Marco at Ann Grace Bansig na naging saksi at tumangap ng plaque noong araw na iyon, April 19, 2017 sa N Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City. Bukod sa nanay ko na isang librarian rin, silang dalawa ang susunod na angkop na tumangap ng recognition para sa akin. Bakit nga ba ako wala noong araw na iyon ng PASLI conference? Unang araw pa naman ng conference yun. Well, my dear readers, palipasin muna natin ang ilang araw at ikukuwento ko sa inyo ang dahilan. Pramis!

So, now I wish to formally deliver my response and, yes my acceptance speech. Nakukulangan kase ako sa ginawa kong FB post. I think, PASLI deserves more than a post on FB as a way to thank them.

My dear PASLI friends and colleagues,

How I wish I was there to personally accept the plaque and to humbly receive the recognition that the organization have accorded me. I do not think of the PASLI standards nor its values when doing my work and advocacy. Gusto ko lamang gumawa ng tama at ng mabuti dahil hindi ako perfect na tao. To quote John Steinbeck, "now that you know that you are not perfect, you can be good." At dahil ang pagiging school librarian ang isa sa mga alam kong paraan kung paano maging mabuti, I pursued being one with all my heart and soul to the point of being unorthodox and downright, ah, different.

I believe that when we pursue our passions, life rewards us a hundredfold.

The love of family.

The support of true and good friends.

You, PASLI and the more than 100 participants of the 2017 Annual Conference, make my work and advocacy possible! Rewards na kayong lahat sa buhay ko.

I have had many failures as a school librarian. And I suppose, for as long as I live, I will not stop making mistakes. In a way, this makes me happy because it affirms two things: I am alive and I am still in the process of becoming.

Feeling ko, maraming deserve ang ganitong recognition. Kaya naman, magsisikap pa akong kilalanin at tulungan ang mga taong nagsisikap na maging mabuting school librarian sa abot ng aking makakaya. Alam kong hindi ako nag-iisa at panahon lang ang naghihintay para dumami tayong lahat na mga mabubuting school librarian. Sabi ni Salve Dimzon sa FB, "how to be you po?" And reply ko sa kanya ay isang kanta ni Barney, the Purple Dinosaur:

I'm the one and only me
I'm special you see
You're the one and only you
You're special too!

Lahat tayo ay may likas na galing, talino at, siyempre ganda! I hope we can be an inspiration to each other!

Muli, salamat PASLI! Hindi rito natatapos ang aking paglilingkod!

Hangang sa susunod na pagkikita!

With  much love and with a grateful heart,

Zarah G :-)

PS - please continue to pray for my health and well-being! I shall keep you all in my prayers!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

From CPE to CPD for Filipino Librarians 2017

Before I write about the updates regarding the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Filipino Librarians, here are blog articles and some content on the topic which I posted in the blog dating as far back as 2007.

Dr. Corazon Nera, who was the chair of the Board for Librarians in 2007 presented updates on the resurgence of the CPE and the Professional Standards for Librarians during the PLAI Southern Tagalog Region Librarians' Council. If my memory serves me right, this was the time when the BFL finished working on a set of guidelines for the practice of librarianship and revisiting the CPE of several years back. Apparently, with the organization of regional councils of librarians, standards and CPE programs for Filipino librarians would have a platform of implementation. Two years after, the CPE Program for Librarians Articles 1-3 date of posting April 26, 2009  was presented by Mrs. Elizabeth Peralejo who was then a member of the Board for Librarians, during the PATLS seminar.

The BFL was indeed hard at work, and still is, to fully interpret and implement Republic Act 9264. However, there is much talk about challenges in fulfilling and meeting CPE requirements. In 2010, I wrote about complains and worries of librarians on the "earning" of CPE units. I gave my two cents as an ending to the post.

The concerns on meeting units and points, asking for permission and seeking for supervisors, looking for funds to finance one's CPD activities are all real!

Ms. Angelic Bautista, who was a school librarian back in 2011 asked me about professional activities for school librarians. I asked a friend, Darrel Marco, who was a school librarian in De La Salle Zobel gave his response. He enumerated different ways in which school librarians can update their knowledge and upgrade their skills. I gave additional tips and lent insights too. 

Three years ago, the BFL conducted consultation meetings with leaders and practitioners in the profession. Here is a document on the consultation on new guidelines on the CPD for librarians. 

If I started blogging about the CPE of Filipino Librarians, (which is now called CPD see how it changed from education to development), back in 2007 that would be ten years to its evolution into a law,

More of that on my next post.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pathfinder: Media and Information Literacy

Media and Information Literacy is a trending topic these days. With the rise of fake news and alternative facts, MIL is not only a trend but a relevant set of skills needed by all to survive in this time and age. If humanity is not careful, it might drive itself crazy into destruction earlier than the projected course of human history. MIL is probably humanity's key to survival.

Inspired by the round table discussion with stakeholders on MIL policy and standardization in the country today, I wrote my MIL takeaways in the blog. Because I am still inspired, here is a Pathfinder (which I intend to further develop - see, inspiration is a very dangerous thing) on MIL for oldies (like me) and newbies.

For a good start on Information Literacy, read this -  UNESCO Information Literacy For my personal experiences on IL, I have compiled them in one blog post.  The links there are more than 10 years old, but I hope it could lend you a sense of history and background information.

This is what I found as relevant on  Media Literacy  The site has a video explaining what it is as well as 21st century literacies like digital literacy and visual literacy.

For freebies and downloadables on MIL, UNESCO and our DepEd have PDFs for your perusal.  

UNESCO Media and Information Literacy as Composite Concept

Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy

DepEd Media and Information Literacy Curriculum Guide

Recognizing that MIL education is for all, UNESCO has a document mapping MIL policies across the globe: World Media Education Policy

And, if you're waist deep in MIL and its implementation in your learning community through the school library programs and services, share it with others via UNESCO's social media campaign #milclicks. Visit the website too. It has a MIL MOOC!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Book: The Day Max Flew Away

Finally, I got the dummy of The Day Max Flew Away. The illustrations are by Jomike Tejido and the Filipino translation is by Palanca Hall of Famer, Eugene Evasco. 

Here's the front and back covers.

Book Review: Across the Nightingale Floor

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Riverhead Books, 2002
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Across the Nightingale Floor, Tales of the Otori Book 1 by Lian Hearn is one of the few series I am excited to follow through this year. It has everything I longed to read about in a series, yet it is neither young adult nor adult books. The librarian in me is having a difficult time placing this series in its appropriate category that in the end, I shall simply recommend this to anyone interested to expand their imagination about feudal Japan.

For one, I am fascinated by Japan like the author, who spent years researching and writing the book through a grant. I have always found Japan as an enigma and book 1 of the series, Across the Nightingale Floor, Tales of the Otori has fed my appetite to know more about Japanese culture and geography. I know there are many ways to know a country and its people. Having traveled to Kyoto a few years back has been a life affirming experience. What I cannot live out, vicariously, I find fulfillment in reading books. Fiction, though a work of imagination, is capable of opening windows to another world and the world views of other peoples.

Here now are three reasons why I am swooning over Across the Nightingale Floor:

1. It has intriguing and interesting characters, heroes, villains and anti-heroes too. Takeo is tested by fate and his journey towards knowing himself and making his own decisions to fully establish his identity is still a work in progress. How much of obedience and loyalty can truly affect one person's becoming? Lord Shigeru, his adopted father dies in the end, but the respect he has earned over the years made him a legend. A classic story arc. Now I await for Takeo's turn. Will he become the tragic hero of the stories or lead a life that is marred by deceit and murder? Apart from Takeo, I also have predictions to Kaede's role in the series. Will she break the mould or continue to abide by the rules of men?

2. The setting, its place and time, and the political intrigue of feudal Japan are stuff I am so interested about. There are also poetry and art, social classes, heirarchy and the constricted rules and stringent expectations on women. These are all flavored and embedded in the lives and loves of the characters that my emotional investment in them is already waist deep!<br /><br />

3. It captures the tragic beauty of Japanese stories (what I know from reading manga, anime and watching animation by Ghibli Studio). How can such contradictions exist side by side? Joy and pain. Passion and romance. Living and dying.

What does not sink well with me is the existence of the Hidden. I have questions about their legitimacy. They are a people who worship the "secret god." As a Catholic, I recall the century when missionaries came to Japan to introduce God. I wonder what is written in the Japanese history books. Something to find out!

View all my reviews

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Review: Issued to the Bride One Airman

Issued to the Bride One Airman (Brides of Chance Creek Book 2)Issued to the Bride One Airman by Cora Seton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second ARC of the series and while I am glad to be back on familiar grounds, meeting familiar characters and favorites from other series by Cora Seton, Issued to the Bride: One Airman had been a very predictable read. It did not bring new discoveries or surprises for me. Yet, it seems to emphasize the message that, while our service and uniformed men serve and protect the country from wars that threaten national security and the world's, it is the conflict at home where they are needed the most.

I think this is the strongest point of the series yet. The rest, it was plateau for me.

I have started to doubt the Reed women, capable as they are, because they appear dumb and stupid. If not for life threatening events, they seem to have difficulty rising above challenges small and large. They have talents and skills, yet, they need men to boost their confidence. This is perhaps due to the absence of their father for decades. How I wish the General would come home and redeem himself. Apologize and make up for lost time. After all, Two Willows stands on generous and wonder filled land.

And so, I am now beginning to think how the General's men measure up in the series. I want stronger female leads, but for this installment, Connor outshines Sadie. Connor did all the hard work. I am uncomfortable with the ending of Grant getting killed by Sadie and Jo. I hope this could be dealt with in a more humane closure, not just for Jo, but for Sadie too. I am happy that Connor's parents took the road towards reconciliation but questions linger. Will Hunter be Jo's equal? Or will I see how they complement and not just complete each other? What is the escalating problem that Cab Johnson and the rest of the residents of Two Willows face in the future books in the series?

I sure would like to know.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Breath by Tim Winton

BreathBreath by Tim Winton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Breath is my first book by Tim Winton. It was a recommended read by a dear colleague who teaches Literature for grades 9 & 10. She was seeking feedback on the book's worthiness as an instructional material that would cover a variety of topics, concepts and issues discussed across subject areas in the classroom and experienced by young adult readers in real life. Definitely, Breath is not fiction for teenagers, but the coming of age story of Brucie Picklet is one journey that many young adult readers can relate to, if not, find it dangerously fascinating.

As a librarian servicing young adults, I believe that good literature serves to mirror life and to show its many changing colors thereby, allowing the reader to find himself or herself in the pages of a book. A reassuring statement that implies one is never truly alone in experiencing the joys and pains of growing up. Good books provide the reader a space to imagine about life beyond his or her horizon and to wonder about possibilities that may or may not happen in a lifetime. Tim Winton's Breath has achieved both purposes of literature and, despite my initial shock at the stark narrative of Brucie Picklet, I enjoyed reading the book.

Breath is both jarring and tender. Very much like the novel's setting. Winton writes with honesty about the Australia he knows and the landscape that is both wild and beautiful. Set in the hippie days of the late 60s and onwards, Brucie Picklet narrates the boredom he experiences growing up in Sawyer, a perfunctory small town in Western Australia. How he carved a life that is complex, dangerous and yet exciting in his teenage years is made possible with a little help from his friend, Looney. On their 15th summer, both boys discovered three things: surfing, Sando and his wife Eva. What happened next was a series of adventures that rendered Brucie scarred for life and Looney, lost and wandering until a violent death in Mexico decades after leaving Sawyer. Youth is wasted in the young, yes. And this is what wounded people say, however, in Brucie's middle age, the struggle to achieve balance continues. His effort to rectify past mistakes comes with a stoic acceptance of finding whatever is precious that is left in his life: a career that saves lives and comforts people; his daughters who visit him regularly; his love for surfing and with it, the grace that he could still dance on water after all these years.

Is this a book suitable for young adults? It is because the book tells you this: you are going to make big awful mistakes in your life but, if you cannot face it with courage and humility, you will either turn up really ****ed up or dead somewhere in a place far from home. Now, when you do accept the failures you get from your own making, pick up the pieces because you also have the power to put things to straights. Then, you come out a bit wiser and kinder, and more grateful for the simple things in life that can bring you immense happiness.

Breath is a good fiction novel meant for adults that can show young people how complex, yet beautiful life can be lived out.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Update on Book Project: Ino the Invincible

When I was still a librarian in Xavier School, I was inspired to write about boys and basketball. There was a group of grade 7 boys who were always in the library, hanging out, reading and borrowing the newest titles that the Grade School Learning Resource Center offered. They were a smart and frisky bunch. As their grade level librarian, I get invited to their games, activities and programs. These boys inspired me to write a short story about friendship, sportsmanship and growing up.

Here is the book cover of Ino the Invincible

Lampara House is once again publishing this story, Ino the Invincible. This is a book project in collaboration with visual artist, Jonathan Ranola. While making the studies of the book's illustrations, Jonathan told me he has a cousin who went to Xavier School who happened to be a former student. Small world!

Boys and Basketball

Ino the Invincible is for my boy, Nico, Xaverian and now an ISKO, and for the GS batch of 2003 who were so open to learning new things! The book is also my homage to Inigo of Loyola. We hope to have this book launched in September of this year in time for the Manila International Book Fair.

What is your description of the perfect student? Is it someone like Ino?

Workshop: Crafting A Good Information Literacy Manual

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