Saturday, April 14, 2018

Filipino Librarians At the Crossroads: Exclusivity vs. Inclusivity

This is a residual post from the blog entry last April 11, 2018, What Kind of Librarian Leader Are You? where I identified my takeaways from the panel on leadership and Filipino librarians today. The invited guests in the 39th Gabriel A. Bernardo Memorial Lecture were Dr. Vernon Totanes, Mr. Michael Pinto and Mrs. Fides Abad.

Of the three, it is Fides Abad’s presentation I enjoyed the most because one of her slides holds a truth that we, Filipino Librarians, have not spoken out loud amidst the #NationalNonLibrarian issue but a sentiment many of us feel.


Photo credit: Prof. Johann Frederick A. Cabbab's FB Post of a slide presentation of Fides Abad's presentation during UP SLIS' 39th Gabriel A. Bernardo Memorial Lecture. Theme: Library Leadership at the Crossroads.

Of course, this has been said in social media and in TV interviews on the issue of  the #NationalNonLibrarian, but the context in which Abad presented this truth, as I take it, is one that shows prejudice and exclusivity to another professional whom we, in the LIS Profession, have no personal knowledge of. Our colleagues from the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) remain to be as quiet as mice.

This silence speaks volumes.

A law was violated. We have so many questions. We need to hear answers. We deserve to get a response.

On the other hand, I am also thinking beyond this manmade law. It seems that the law and adherence to it has turned us into absolute thinkers. Has RA 9246 turned us to be exclusive, turf oriented and prideful professionals? 

Insulted by the appointment of a non-librarian in the NLP, we fail to look at Director Adriano as a person too. A human being who has a set skill, though different from ours, that can contribute to the growth of the NLP in particular and LIS in the Philippines in general. In one conversation I had with librarian friends, I said, baka pwede ma-convince at ma-inspire si Director Adriano na mag Masters in LIS? After a long stretch of silence, my friends deep in thought, one replied, pano pa yun ma-inspire kumuha ng MLIS, binato at binatikos na sa social media at may nakaabang pang complaint sa Ombudsman?

Is it too difficult to stretch a kind hand to one who is different from you? 

Ang yayabang natin, ano? E lahat naman tayo, tao lang. 

In a time when the divide and conquer strategy is being applied left and right by the current powers that be, kindness, goodness, empathy and compassion are all too hard to come by.

Tooth for a tooth. Eye for an eye.

We will all go blind then.

Unable to see.

Disabling speech and open dialogue.

I wonder who among us, those outside of NLP, like the PLAI, the BFL and the rest of the library associations have talked to Director Adriano in person.

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