Tuesday, November 6, 2018

National Book Week 2018: Stories! Stories! Stories!

Darrel Marco explaining the judging mechanics
National Book Week begins on Saturday, November 24, 2018 and will end on Friday, November 30, 2018. NBW Chairperson Darrel Marco shares with us what makes this NBW celebration exciting, why libraries are all the more important in today's globally conflicted world, and compares NBW 2018 to Rhandee Garlitos'  Chenelyn! Chenelyn! (Adarna House)

 1. What makes NBW 2018 exciting?

Stories! Stories! And more stories!!! 

National Book Week 2018 this year is themed "Connected Actions, Collective Vision: Libraries transforming society".
I believe that it is thru the telling of stories that we can transform our society -- stories of struggles and hardships, stories of failures and downfalls, stories of hope and aspirations, stories of collaboration and cooperation, and stories of success and happy endings.

We are opening the 2018 National Book Week with a Reader's Theatre Contest and a Storytelling Festival on November 24, 2018 at the Gateway Gallery in Cubao, Quezon City. This is one successful story of collaboration between the PLAI and an NGO gearing towards the development and promotion of literacy in our society thru books and stories.
Another notable collaboration is among different regional librarian's councils working hand-in-hand with the Department of Education divisions to promote the National Book Week.
This year, we also introduced the nationwide Graphic Novel Making contest. Entries started pouring in from all over the Philippines since August, and this is aside from the usual Poster Making and Essay writing contests. Winners of these contests will be announced on the opening day, as well.

I think what makes this event exciting is the fact that this is not purely librarians' work but a collaborative effort of a community wanting to promote literacy. Some events and celebrations may have the flash and bangs but makes the NBW2018 special are those minute details that make the event more endearing to the public.
Entries for the Poster Making Contest
2. In light of the current political climate in the country and in the world, how do librarians and libraries factor in book development in the country?

The dawn of social media was a double-edged sword, with one side helping us to move forward thru easier and real-time communication, and with the other one shaking up our core value i.e. the truth. We are bombarded daily with deliberate disinformation in the forms of fake news, alternative facts and historical revisionism, and oftentimes people retaliate thru namecalling or smart-shaming. I say, let us go back to the facts -- i.e. the written and verified ones.

As librarians, we are supposed to be the gatekeepers of these facts. The library that is open to everyone -- the innocent, the accused, the victim, the abused and even to some extent, the criminals -- should be a bastion of social justice. We still have a long way to go in developing a learned nation that would go to books to seek for facts instead of social media but I am positive of the steps being taken to have a more media and information literate society. Additionally, there is also a sliver of hope that Philippine children's books today are tackling more radical and sensitive topics that were used to be considered as taboo.

The judges troop together for a photo op.
3. If you are to compare the NBW to a book, what is it and why?
In an ideal world, it would be The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Who doesn't love a beautiful butterfly as an ending, right?

But looking back, I would rather say, it's Chenelyn, Chenelyn by Rhandee Garlitos. 
Books are there whenever we need a friend or a helping hand, whenever we want to while away our time at the beach or at a coffee shop -- but we just realize their true importance once they are gone. We take for granted those books that are offered in front of us, given that we have social media, Netflix and technology.

I hope that books and technology would co-exist and would not go against each other. I mean if you could go watch one episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, then try to read one chapter of a book too, or even one short story, and you'll see that your life will change.

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