Friday, May 5, 2017

My Blog is a #milclicks Space!

Starting this month, I will be posting in the blog, at least once a week, #milclicks tips, lessons and reflections gleaned from the Media and Information Literacy MOOC that I am currently enrolled in. The MOOC is a non-degree course, but a self directed learning program. If you are interested in learning more about MIL alongside a group of people, click the MOOC link and you are on your way to making it!

I have only begun the first unit and already, I have encountered new terms, concepts and ideas. One concept that struck me is "cultural pluralism". It is a huge philosophical concept and one that I keep at the back of my head. Basically, it is defined as the dynamic between a minority interacting in a bigger society. One cultural group, though small can co-exist with a larger, more dominant culture.

Libraries, being community hubs, extending services and programs to different members of the community are ideal spaces for the practice and promotion of cultural pluralism. How do we know our libraries are doing so? A few examples come to mind.

The Human Library of the De La Salle Library Systems is an example. For several years now, the Human Library brings together people from different cultural, political and social groups to talk about their experiences and life stories. It breaks down walls and create bridges of understanding and tolerance. Teresita Ang See and Etta Rosales have been guest speakers of the Human Library.

Cultural pluralism can also manifest in a library's collection. By including titles representing indigenous groups, LGBT communities and religious groups, readers can afford to accommodate a safer space in their minds and hearts the basic nature of such groups of people. This is, I think, a leveling up of bibliotherapy services. Not only can we seek self knowledge through books and reading, but we also gain an understanding of the bigger world and its peoples.

We can stock our shelves, virtual and physical ones, titles that are diverse and multicultural, promoting peace and tolerance. We can create programs that encourage kindness and empathy. There have been social campaigns on this, however, it is not called cultural pluralism. Check #weneeddiversebooks and #ReadingWithoutWalls. The later is an initiative of the Young Adult Librarians Association where in Gene Luen Yang, the US National Ambassador for YA Literature, created a comics for the campaign.

Starting with the library's collection and a knowledge of the community it serves, librarians can create programs and services that are inclusive and culturally pluralistic.

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