Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Book Doctors of the National Library of the Philippines

Mrs. Anne Rosette Crelencia is the division head of the Filipiniana Division of the National Library of the Philippines (NLP). During the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit, she and her team of Book Doctors conducted a mini-workshop on book binding and book mending. In this interview, my dear friend Rosette enlightens us on the role of librarians as conservationists of one of humanity's greatest inventions, the printed book.

Librarians of the Filipiniana Division, NLP
Tells us more about the Filipiniana Division of the NLP, the services and programs it offers to the reading public.
The Filipiniana Division supports the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) in achieving significant developments in the country. It performs two main functions, first,  as an active research centre and public library to answer the information and education needs of the public; and second, as a national cultural center as it leads the collection and preservation of the written and printed cultural heritage of the country. 
The Filipiniana Division offers extensive sources of information about the Philippines, its people, culture, history, arts, literature and government. It is comprised of six sections which hold  collections for all types of researchers and research needs in Philippine perspectives. The six sections are the Conservation Section, General Books, Theses and Dissertations Section, Government Publications, Multimedia Resources Sections, Rare Books and Special Collections Section,  and Serials section  

What are your top 5 prized possessions in the Filipiniana Department? What makes each one "precious"? 

The Filipiniana Division is a home for valuable, historical and original printed collections that are significant in the study of Philippine history. It recognizes its collections as important sources of knowledge and pride for every Filipino. Among the most valued collections in NLP are the original manuscripts of Dr. Jose Rizal’s novels, “Noli Me Tangere”, “El Filibusterismo” and “Ultimo Adios” which became inspirations for strengthened Filipino national identity and nationalism. 
The Filipiniana Division is also a proud repository of primary sources such as the collection of Philippine Revolutionary Papers and the Manuel L. Quezon Papers which are both useful for researches about Philippine history during the American Period. 

NLP represent during the PCBS 2017.
 How is book binding, conservation and preservation relevant in this day and age of digital technology? 
The preservation and conservation of library collections is one of the most interesting and in demand areas of librarianship in the Philippines today. It is a response to the massive programs of the government to preserve the cultural heritage of the country jointly undertaken under the leadership of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Nowadays, libraries are not just research centers but also social and cultural centers where people meet and where local history collections abound. And because each library community has its own stories and histories to keep, it is imperative that all local history collections be preserved. 
Preservation includes many activities that extends the usefulness of library collections and one of the most practical and interesting is bookbinding. Knowledge and application of bookbinding increases the shelf life of books and elevates the number of researchers a particular book can reach and serve. Bookbinding also promotes creativity and offers inspiration for new generation of writers and researchers to create their own book. Moreover, it providesopportunity to keep one's memorable and important literary works accessible, tangible and well-preserved.

Participants were engaged in the book binding workshop
Kindly give valuable tips for librarians, teachers and book lovers who are keen on keeping their book collections in good condition. 
For everyone who loves to read, to collect books or who works with books, remember that storage and handling are two of the most important factors in ensuring that your books remain in good condition . A good storage must be well ventilated, dry and free from direct sunlight, dim when not in use, bright when in use and must be clean—dust free and insect free. Likewise, proper handling must be observed— books should be pulled out from the shelves by grasping the book block rather than pulling the topmost part of the binding, it should be free from folds, tears and stains and must be regularly dry cleaned.
NLP offers trainings on preserving and managing paper-based collections including workshops on book binding. 
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