Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Monthly First Post

As I keep up with this blog tradition, I am also reminded of how fortunate I have been this 2019. The year is awfully hard and I could not have made it this far if not for the support of friends at work, in the book industry and in Philippine School Librarianship. As the year ends, I can only say thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

January - Prayer for the New Year - I should have gone back to this every time I needed to. Reminder to self for 2020, pray more. Pray harder!

New Year’s Prayer for the Family

God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.

As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.


February - Teacher and Librarian Collaboration - My work always involves collaborating with faculty and academic coordinators.

I had a productive meeting with our Dean of Faculty last week. 

March - A Hymn to Time - I can no longer remember the context of the post, but I should post more poetry, di ba?!

Time says “Let there be”
every moment and instantly
there is space and the radiance
of each bright galaxy.

April - Pilgrim's Pit Stop - Because I also write for the Magis Deo Newsletter.

Sometime in early February, I felt weighed down, irrelevant and vulnerable. Work made me listless and dissatisfied. Changes in family life left me confused, even lost. Under the circumstances, I would rather protect myself by staying in my comfort zone. I did recognize the invitation to be brave. Being brave, however, would mean taking risks, going the extra mile and stretching an arm and a leg. I found myself asking, “what for?” and at “what cost?” I was tired.

May - School Librarian in the 21st Century - This is part 1 of a three part post about my participation in the 2019 PASLI Conference in Manila. When you visit the post, do read the entire series as I have shared some insights and reflections too.

The last week of April is when most library organizations in the Philippines have their national conferences. The Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc (PASLI) is one of them. Many school librarians are on summer break in April and PASLI sure knows where to go to offer its members a conference where learning and fun both happen. I have had participated in many summer conferences of PASLI in the past and I always felt welcomed.

June - Summer Writing Workshop - Something I do every summer. And yes, I will be doing this again in June and July 2020.

Points for discussion:
 ⁃ Story Grammar: formats and elements
 ⁃ Children’s Literature Today
 ⁃ The stories that shape our childhood
 ⁃ Why write for kids
 ⁃ Writing workshop: writing, critiquing and revising
 ⁃ Note: if you have stories for workshop and critiquing bring 4-5 copies

July - Books. Tech and Design Thinking - Some random thoughts on the topics of tech, books and design thinking.

Since my summer began in early June, I have been to several round table discussions and meet-ups with friends in the education sector and in the book industry. Our topics of conversation range from reading, to books, the creation of information and knowledge, ways to communicate these resources to them and the behavior we apply as we consume them. I discovered and validated three things.

August - Library Skills Sessions at the Beginning of the Academic Year - What I do in the Academy

I am preparing for next week's library orientation and research session with our Griffins. The teacher in me is excited to go back to school, officially, and meet new and returning students. Another part of me is missing vacation already. Such is life.

September - Bookish Convo and Self Publishing - Meet up with Techie Lopez who was, at the time, starting out a book project.

Von Totanes, Director of the Rizal Library, introduced me to Techie Lopez via Messenger. Techie is an aspiring author who is at a crossroads. She has written a story but could not decide where to bring her manuscript. Finally, after chatting online, she decided to self publish. 

October - Filipino Illustrations in Picture Books - A Q and A over SMS led to a post in the blog and lead to a talk on illustrations and picture books.

I am sharing this exchange I had with a dear fiend in the book industry on identity and book illustrations. 

November - Game Changers in Philippine Librarianship - Thanks to John Hickock for this feature and study of librarians in the SEA region making a difference.

It is in October when the Rizal Library conducts its international conference. I have participated in this academic and scholarly endeavor countless times and I have always felt welcomed by the library community there. Each visit, be it for work, professional or personal matter, feels like a day of hanging out with my favorite cousin. On its 8th International Conference, I was there once again as a social guest by John Hickok of the American Library Association. He attended the conference as a paper presenter.

December - Room To Read Book Project - Yes. 2019 has been a good year. Everything is grace.

The news that our book, Masaya Maging Ako (Gagatiga and Bauza, Lampara Books) is included in this brochure and will soon be out for publication surprised me like a thunderstorm. On this day when typhoon Kammuri passed through CALABARZON, the Philippine Children’s Book Industry has something to smile about. And that is on top of all the gold medals that the FIlipino athletes are raking in the 2019 SEA Games. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

A Six Sentence Christmas Story by Jamie Bautista

Jamie Bautista had a neat activity for Christmas in Facebook! This post was on his timeline last December 24, 2019.

 Post any photo as a reply to this and say a genre. I'll write a 6 sentence max (genre) Xmas story for the first 10 today.
Jumping into his challenge, I replied with this photo:

Taken on December 12, 2019 between 5.45 PM - 6PM at the Beacon Academy campus using an iPhome 6s.
 Below is Jamie's story which he posted as a reply to my photo and genre, which is Gothic.

 ”Is that seriously the tree you want?” Lord Habershenk asked his wife, Lady Trudy, as the couple stared at the bare and craggly old tree, the moonlight casting web-like shadows on their faces.

“It’s perfect, darling,” Lady Trudy exclaimed. “I can already picture us putting it in the east wing of the manor, hanging all this tinsel and aluminium balls on it and putting on top that glorious gold-leaf star we got during that trip to Bangkok.”

“Isn’t that the tree where Margaret Goldmore hung herself five years ago?” Lord Habershenk asked, sounding almost hesitant to bring up this dark history.

“Darling, I want a Christmas tree that took a life, so I can try to bring life to it. Isn’t that what this season is all about?” Lady Trudy laughed with an unsettling giddiness in her voice.
Now this is how you engage readers in story creation using social media tools. 

More about Jamie Bautista's works featured in the blog:
Jamie Bautista in Sagada
Private Iris on YouTube

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Movie Review: Klaus

Klaus (2019)
Director: Sergio Pablos
Screenplay by: Sergio Pablos, Jim Mahoney and Zach Lewis

I heard friends talk about Klaus as a heartwarming take on the legend of Santa Claus. It has good reviews online as well, so I included the movie in my list to validate what I have read and heard. It did not disappoint.

The animation is amazing, smooth and clean. I enjoyed the colors: beige, mocha, blue and gray. I am not a fan of steam punk, but it is the movie and it grew on me. The 19th century setting of the movie was a factor, I think. It is old and miserable, sentimental and full of hope all at the same time.

Of the many Santa Claus portrayals I have seen over the years, this Klaus is now my favorite. This Klaus has a past, does not talk much and perceives signs in nature around him. All the stories and details that made Santa Claus a legend are in the movie. Watching these scenes were all comforting as I dig deep into childhood memories of the rituals of gift giving. What made this legend all the more real to me (while watching an animated movie) was the rendition of the stories about Klaus told by the children as Jesper, who is actually the lead character, delivers all of the toys that Klaus made for them. That is the power of imagination right there. Truth and faith as well.

In the end, I gained a new insight about Klaus. He wants us to play. He wants us to laugh. In play and in laughter, we become.

Rating/Recommendation: 4 of 5
Go and stream it! 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Movie Review: A Christmas Prince

Of the five Netflix original movies I have in my To Watch list this month, I have successfully seen two, so far. I am putting a check on Klaus (2019) and A Christmas Prince (2017). Here is my review of A Christmas Prince.

A Christmas Prince
Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA)
Directed by Alex Zamm

One of two romcoms I have in my list, A Christmas Prince contains all the recipes of a Hallmark movie. The characters are pretty much what you would expect from a trope that uses mistaken identity and clean-up-your-mess-to-be-redeemed ending with a kiss in the middle of a snow covered street. There is the scheming and conniving ex-girlfriend, the ambitious royal cousin, the endearing and imperfect princess that acted as the female lead's bestie and fairy god mother. Yes, Cinderella lives!

I did find Rose McIver endearing and Ben Lamb as the titular Christmas Prince is charming. However, sparks were low between the two actors. While I did root for them, their chemistry lacked the fire that says, "We are a sexy pair, so we deserve to be together" at the end of it all. But, the movie has two sequels up in Netflix. But. I am skipping it.

I am moving on to A Knight Before Christmas where Vanessa Hudgens is the female lead. I want to give myself a chance on her again as I loved her in the first High School Musical.

Rating / Recommendation: 3 of 5
Stream it if you are a fan of romcoms :-)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Room to Read Book Project Update: Masaya Maging Ako!

I am so happy to see the dummy and cover of our new book, Masaya Maging Ako.
This book is one of the 20 books created and produced during the Room to Read Workshops in Bohol and Baguio.
Author: Zarah Gagatiga; Illustrator: Jamie Bauza; Publisher: Lampara Books, 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019

2020 PASLI National Conference Call for Papers

Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc. (PASLI)

Call for Papers 2020

42nd National Conference
Newtown Plaza Hotel, Baguio City

April 22-24, 2020

“IntenZfied” School Libraries: Optimizing Diverse Collection Development Practices for the Generation Z

Topics of Interest
• Collection Development
• Collection Management
• Selection issues and challenges
• Collection analysis
• Consortial collection development
• Patron-driven acquisitions
• Electronic resources
• Outreach, Liaison activities, and Marketing
• Policy, Planning, and Fiscal Management
• Trends and future of collection development
• The collection, collection development, and the community
• Selection tools and selection criteria
• Collection assessment
• Preservation and conservation of library resources
• Censorship
• Legal Issues in collection development
• Engaging students to read
Important dates:
December 18, 2019- Announcement of Call for Papers

January 31, 2020- Deadline of abstract submission

February 21, 2020- Acceptance notification

April 13, 2020- Submission of Full Paper and Presentation

April 22-24- PASLI Conference
Instructions for submissions:
1. Abstract for paper presentation should be submitted using this format:
a. Title of Paper (in capital letters, Arial Narrow font size 14)
b. Name of author/s (including official designation. Use * for the presenting author)
c. Institution/Company Affiliation
d. Contact details (email address and contact number)
e. 3-5 keywords
f. Abstract (300 to 500 words only, Arial Narrow font size 12)
Abstract must include the following sections:
o Research purpose
o Research methods
o Research findings
o Research impact
g. References (Please use APA format)

2. Abstract must be attached (in pdf format) and submitted to or

3. Use PASLI Call for Papers 2020 in the subject line.

4. Deadline of submission of abstracts is on January 31, 2020.

5. Notifications of accepted abstracts is on February 21, 2020. If you are not selected, you will also be notified as well.

6. The authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to submit the full paper and presentation on or before April 13, 2020.

7. The author/s of accepted papers will be asked to present it on PASLI’s 42nd National Conference at Newtown Plaza Hotel, Baguio City on April 22-24, 2020.

8. Each presenter will be given 20 minutes to present their paper and 10 minutes for question and answer during the plenary session.

9. Please note that accepted paper presenters still need to pre-register and pay the necessary registration fee. The association will only provide the food and corresponding CPD points for each paper presenter.

10. If you have any questions, please contact or

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

PASLI 2020 National Conference in Baguio City

The 2020 PASLI National Conference has opened the online registration for participants. Here is the PDF of the invitation letter to the 2020 PASLI National Conference in Baguio City. Please READ the letter carefully as it has all the information on the registration fee, payment and bank details, online registration form and contact persons in PASLI. Thank you and see you in Baguio!

Below are hashtags to use for when you are searching for information about the 2020 PASLI Conference.


Monday, December 16, 2019

Lam-ang for Millennials and the Gen Z

With Lance Reblando who plays Taraok, Lam-ang's pet rooster.
The hubby and I watched Lam-ang an Ethno Epic Musical produced by Tanghalang Pilipino the other night at the CCP. It’s an early Christmas treat we allotted ourselves before plunging in into the busyness of family reunions and meet ups. Overall, it was a satisfying show and a brave retelling of one of the oldest epics in the Philippines.  

Lam-ang has its strengths and weaknesses (which includes the narrative, sadly) yet, the core cast is amazing. Just when music and dialog become chaotic, especially in Act 1, Tex Ordoñez-De Leon as Baglan brings everyone back to the musical’s core. Reminding the audience why Lam-ang is worth rooting for. And here is where JC Santos succeeds. I went out the Little Theatre wishing there was an Act 3. 

Nonetheless, Lam-ang remains to be a brave retelling of an epic that is worth revisiting. Offering many points for reflection on shared values and the lack of it these days, on leadership and the loss of moral courage. I think this is the purpose of theater especially in this day and age when reading literature takes on a new meaning. It challenges us to seek ways to revitalize culture and to continuously examine identity in the performance of art  be it in the old and or the new. 

I hope #TPLamang gets an extended run. For the sake of our youth, CCP and Tanghalang Pilipino, please consider a rerun!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Launched!

It has been three weeks since our book, When A Book Talks, was launched in the National Library of the Philippines but my heart will be forever grateful for all the support given by friends in the profession and by my publisher, Lampara Books. The event would not have been a successful one if not supported by the NLP, CLAPI and the presence of my college professor and mentor, Mr. Miguel Cobaria.

Prof. Cobaria has indeed grown in wisdom over the years. But, his zest for learning has never waned. He was the most engaged participant of them all. I was not surprised at all that he was awarded the Most Outstanding Librarian by PLAI during the National Congress in Tagaytay last November 30, 2019.

With Ghie Cabalar, illustrator of When A Book Talks

After my talk on the status of Philippine Children’s Literature, CLAPI and Lampara Books facilitated the launching. Ghie Cabalar, illustrator of When A Book Talks, gave a short talk on her approach to illustrating the book. Then we had book signing and first in line was our dear Prof. Cobaria.

This book launching was the simplest I had but the most special so far because it happened during the celebration of Book Week and National Library and Information Science Month. Librarian friends from CLAPI were present, and Ghie Cabalar who is a licensed librarian made sure to be there as well.

With CLAPI Officers and Prof. Miguel Cobaria
Our book is for all librarians who serve children and young people. I wrote the poem, When A Book Talks, at a time when librarians are challenged to provide engaging library and literacy services to young people. The challenge and the demand are still the same. We are needed all the more in bridging readers to books that they can read with confidence.

Friday, December 6, 2019

With Readers and RAPers (2 of 2)

Delivering a plenary session during the RAP Demofest was a meaningful experience for me. It was a platform for me to advocate the roles that school librarians play in teaching and learning, especially where Information Literacy skills is concerned. Not many school librarians are given this opportunity, so I treasure this very much indeed. I also had the honor of listening to Dr. Dina Ocampo delivers the keynote address.

Since the theme of the Demofest is about multiliteracies, Dr. Ocampo focused her keynote on the teaching of critical thinking and comprehension. Using critical theory as a base of her claim, teachers are all the more challenged to continuously examine and reflect on teaching practices. It was an inspiring and thoughtful keynote All the more,  I am prompted to look at my own teaching practices in a scholarly approach towards professional development. This means, applying research on professional practice and doing self assessment and evaluation to its effects. 

Easier said than done, I know. But there is no better way to begin than today. And, build allies along the way. I am sure of one thing. My participation in the RAP Demofest has definitely strengthened the awareness of  teacher-librarian partnerships. At the same time, RAP is valuable ally in our (school librarians) quest for the advocacy of literacy. 

How to forge a formidable alliance? The adventure continues! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Brochure of Room to Read Book Project

The news that our book, Masaya Maging Ako (Gagatiga and Bauza, Lampara Books) is included in this brochure and will soon be out for publication surprised me like a thunderstorm. On this day when typhoon Kammuri passed through CALABARZON, the Philippine Children’s Book Industry has something to smile about. And that is on top of all the gold medals that the FIlipino athletes are raking in the 2019 SEA Games. 

Masaya Maging Ako, illustrated by Jamie Bauza and published by Lampara Books. Created during the Room to Read (RTR) workshop for writers and illustrators in Bohol and Baguio, I have always dreamed of writing a story for my daughter, Zoe. And I did during the Room to Read Workshop in Bohol So, I dedicate this book to her, and to victims of mean cliques and bullies, kids, teenagers and adults alike. Remember that there is a place where the cliques and the bullies cannot touch you. You are never alone. You have companions. You have allies.

In time, those cliques and those bullies will get what they deserve. But for now, know that you are loved. You are beautiful in your own unique way. You are enough. You can make a difference!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

IL Lesson for Grade 10: Identifying Sources In Line With the Statement of Inquiry

One of the many Information Literacy Skills lessons I enjoy planning and teaching is the identification of sources in line with the research question. In this lesson, my objective is to facilitate the search strategy of extracting important keywords from a research question or a statement of inquiry. These keywords will then be used for searching of sources online or in the library's OPAC.

Sharing with you the PowerPoint presentation I made. Notice that questions are asked and posted at each step of the identification process. Part 2 of the lesson is an exercise in knowing the content of primary and secondary sources.

This IL lesson was made possible in collaboration with the research coordinator and the Middle Years Program Coordinator's recognition of the teacher librarian role as literacy skills facilitator.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Illustrator of the Month: Ghie Cabalar (2 of 2)

Here is part 2 of the interview with Ghie Cabalar, librarian and illustrator of When A Book Talks (Lampara House, 2019).

4. What was your approach in illustrating When A Book Talks?

Upon receiving the manuscript of When A book talks, I felt the overwhelming happiness. I'm a fan of Ms. Gagatiga's works, so it was a dream come true to collaborate with her.  I read and reread the story. I analyzed the characters involved. It was fun exploring the book because the topic is very close to my heart. I conceptualized for the character design. It's a poem, so I have to interpret the lines. I underlined words that will highlight the things or emotions that the character wants to convey. As an avid reader, I assessed my process of reading and recalled my favorite books. This approach helped me reflect my memories as a reader and include them to create the perspective of the book, which is the main character.  I drew and colored them traditionally. I experienced having self-doubts because it was my first book. However, I challenged myself to conquer them. I experimented on using different art mediums and approach them in various art styles. I do these until I came up with something that I am happy and proud of.

5. Your 5 Favorite Books for Kids
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Geronimo Stilton series by Elisabetta Dami
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
A Series of unfortunate events by Lemony Snicket
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan

6. Your Advice for Young Artists

Art is self-discovery. It is a journey and a reflection of one's soul.  So, I want to encourage young artists to start exploring. Let go of your inhibitions and start creating. Enjoy your art process. Create happy little accidents according to Bob Ross.😉 

Continue to strive hard and practice a lot. Be a lifelong learner. Collaborate with different people. Expand your inspirations and influence. Ask questions. Read quality books. Avoid plagiarism. Give proper credits. It's good to take inspiration from other people's work but improve your work by injecting your creativity and identity. Someday you'll find your artistic voice, the things that make 
your artwork unique and personal.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Illustrator of the Month: Ghie Cabalar (1 of 2)

When A Book Talks, my seventh children's book with Lampara Books was launched last Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at the National Library of the Philippines. The illustrations were rendered by Ghie Cabalar. Read up on her interview below. 

1. Who is Ghie Cabalar?

My name is Ghie. I am a licensed librarian and a graduate of Bachelor in Library and Information Science at Polytechnic University of the Philippines. I had units for my Master's degree in UP.  Two years after, I decided to go back to my passion since I was a kid. From then on, I took my second degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in Painting at the University of the Philippines, which I haven't finished yet. For my hobbies other than drawing and painting, I read a lot of books, articles, and epubs. I often listen to podcasts and audiobooks especially while traveling.  Human behavior, psychoanalysis, metaphysics, arts, cats, fiction books, constellations are the things that fascinate me. I'm currently a freelance artist so I work from home and sometimes work on field painting mural works on walls.

2. Which came first, librarianship or art and illustrating?

Art came first.  I started enjoying doodling on papers even before I start learning how to write. My interest and skills in art flourished during elementary and High school since I became our school representative for editorial cartooning and on-the-spot poster making competitions. These opportunities eventually led me to become our batch's Artist of the Year and PGMA awardee for Culture and Arts during our HS graduation. Librarianship came in college. But my love for literature and libraries were already established since I first learn how to read. Books captivate my interest since I received my first fiction book. I fell in love with books because of the texture of the paper, the alluring smell of the book: old and new and especially, the different kinds of emotions and incredible experience it brings.

3. How does being a librarian inform your art and vice versa?
Librarianship taught me the skills in finding the right and credible resources. My skills in knowledge acquisition helped me during my transition from being a professional librarian to becoming a fulltime artist. I considered myself a lifelong learner. Thus, I read and browsed a lot of art-related materials. I also do some research on art inspiration,  tutorials, principles, and theories. My purpose is to grow and expand my artistic vocabulary and knowledge. Knowing how copyright works and being aware of issues on plagiarism are essential parts of being a librarian and artist too. Hence, it is my practice to always see to it to give proper credit to the right people. I also help my fellow artists and art enthusiasts by providing reference sources that are available on the web. I even encourage them to visit their local libraries if they want to further study their materials. Librarianship also molds me into becoming a responsible art producer.

Part 2 of her interview will be posted within the week. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Leader School Librarian: Hanna Chaterina George

I first met Hanna Chaterina George in 2013, during the annual conference of the International Association of School Librarians (IASL) in Bali, Indonesia. Already, she has shown remarkable organizational skills and charm. These, I believe, are essential qualities of a leader. Last April, we met in the annual conference of the Philippine Association of School Librarians (PASLI) and the regional school librarians workshop by the IASL in Manila.

Hanna, as I call her, strikes me as someone who continues to learn. Another trait that makes a leader, a leader. When I flew in to Jakarta for the seminar that she helped organize with a cadre of young Indonesian school librarians as volunteers, I was further more impressed at her unending energy and zeal. She is indeed, one of the many leaders in school librarianship in the Southeast Asian region.

The blog is featuring her as the Leader School Librarian of the month. I hope that this write up inspires school librarians to grow and develop in their chosen field. 

1. Who is Hanna Chaterina George? 

I am a professional school librarian with both undergraduate and master degrees in Library and Information Science. I have been working as a school librarian for 20 years before I became a full time library consultant, especially school library trainer.

Hanna Chaterina George (red dress) is one of the prime mover of APISI, the school librarians organization in Indonesia

2. As a librarian leader in Indonesia, what potentials are present that contribute to school library development?

One potential is how the school's stakeholders, especially the school principal's paradigm on role of the school librarian has gradually changed. It gives lot of opportunities for school libraries to grow and be in line in the schools' learning and teaching process. 

Secondly,  government regulation for school librarian position has materialized and this sharpens our profession as it has been recently issued. It is called, the Cultural and Education Ministerial  Regulation No 6 Year 2019 about School Organisation Guide and Unit Work Procedures that put school librarian in the same group with teacher in  Functional Position Group. Hopefully  this become a positive trigger to support the profession better in the future.

3. What advise can you give a young school librarian starting out in the profession?

School librarianship is a dynamic and growing profession that give you lots of opportunities to work creatively to play its roles in education. You will find that become one, whether you realize it or not, your life become fulfill both in professional and personal, as what you are :"a whole package of a lifelong learner person". 

So, know exactly who you are, what you do and what you want to do as a lifelong learner in education. Expand your network, never stop to inquire anything that interest you, always find something new from your learn experience. You will find that learning can be joyful and enrich your soul and life at the same time.

Thank you very much, Hanna! Wishing you all the best in your chosen mission!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A School Library Organization Grows in Indonesia (2 of 2)

Here is part 2 of the interview of Hanna Chaterina George, founder of APISI.

4. What are APISI’s success stories? Name 3 successful activities or programs

APISI's successful stories are firstly, when our Short Courses students become the trainers of the program. Their school became the winner at school library competitions and they admitted that the achievements were as when they learn from APISI.

Secondly, APISI also participate in international events such as IASL Conferences, Regional Workshops and also trainer at Kazakshtan' school librarians workshop. 
Thirdly, APISI managed its first  big events called Scholar Life that stands for School Library ans Literacy Festival by involving members to be part of the committee. It was decided that we will have it as our regular event.

5. Where is APISI headed to now?
Currently APISI heads to be a stronger association recognised in national, regional and international level in spreading its spirit and to make impact in making school librarianship grows.

We are planning to create standards of competencies for school information professionals and school library standards.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A School Library Organization Grows in Indonesia! (1 of 2)

My weekend stay in Jakarta at the beginning of this month for the seminar on school library services was generously and warmly sponsored by APISI, the school librarian organization of Indonesia. Their concerns are similar to ours and the work they do for the improvement of school librarianship in Indonesia is an experience I can relate to especially now that I am an officer of the Philippine Association of School Librarians. In this blog interview, Hanna Chaterina George, founder of APISI shares with us their exciting journey towards empowerment and professional growth.

1. How old is APISI and how did it begin?

APISI is 13 years old. It begun in 2005, when some of school librarians around British School where I worked  in Tangerang came together to share knowledge and experiences. We invited some experts to deliver their materials about school librarianship with us. About 30 (or more) school librarians shared and discussed  and we decided to meet up again by deciding where we're going to meet and the time.

It was October 1, 2005 and we agreed to gather again in Feb 2006 in Raffles International School. We had the same event and again decide to meet up again in August 26, 2006 and that is when APISI founded.

2. What are the purpose and goals of APISI?

The purpose of APISI is to showcase the existence of school information professional through the process of continuous self-professional development to create  more passionate school librarianship in Indonesia. 

The goal of APISI is to support the development of school information professionals in Indonesia and to accommodate  knowledge and experiences interaction to stimulate studies in school librarian development.

3. What challenges has APISI encountered that tested its mettle? You may expound on how you overcame the challenges.

Major challenges faced by APISI are funding and human resources as we are independent and non profit organisation. There was immobility between 2009 and 2013 as we were asked by Government to help them establish their library worker association. Some of our committee members then became its runner including myself. At that time, I propose to take responsibility helping National Library and Ministry of Education in coordinating IASL Conference as Indonesia appointed to be the host in 2013. In 2014,  I was encouraged to re-start APISI to live again. Then we registered APISI to have its legal acknowledgement and we are back in business.

We used our own pocket to run APISI and supported with Boediardjo Foundation by letting us have its 'Rumah Ndekem', to be our office. Rumah Ndekem is an ethnical house with window-glassed paintings with a story with wayang characters.

In  2015 we got our proposal approved by IFLA BSLA to run a workshop to build our organisation stronger. Followed with an offer to be partner of Indonesia's central bank - Bank  Indonesia (BI) to implement their CSR programs in making a reading corners for school libraries in Jakarta and its nearby areas.

We opened for recruitment and started to hire some staff in APISI office.

Part 2 will follow within the week, so stay posted!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Library PR and Communication: Welcoming a New Teacher or Staff

How do you welcome a new teacher or staff in the library? Most often, the Human Resource Office introduces him or her to the community through a formal memo or letter. At faculty meetings and assemblies he or she is introduced as well. The school library, being a department that supports all aspect of academic and student life can initiate means to reach out and communicate to new faculty and staff.

I would do this by writing them a letter sent through email. This is good public relations and communications practice. Partly, this communication to new faculty and staff is a way to advocate the library's role in the school community. The new employees are also informed of the services and programs that they can avail of, as well as the staff and personnel they can collaborate with.

Here is a draft of the letter I often use to welcome new employees.

Dear _____, 

I hope you are doing well and have taken strides in getting to know the BA community. We, at the BA Library, formally welcome you as a valued member.  
The BA Library is one of the departments in school that supports your program and department. A budget for information and instructional resources is provided for your department under _________. This means, you can recommend and request for sources, references and other information materials that can enrich, enhance and improve your programs. We are also open to receive information materials from your department that will help our students in __________.  
Feel free to see us anytime or access the library catalog to check the titles of books and resources. 
Attached in the email is a list of online subscriptions and links to the BA Library portal and web OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) and the BA Library personnel's profile. We highly encourage you to make use of the resources of the BA Library since these went through a process of review, evaluation and selection. 
Thank you very much and we hope to see you soon in the BA Library!
           Ms. Zarah G

As a school librarian do you welcome and recognize the new employees in your school? What creative ways do you employ to make new employees feel they are part of the community? Feel fee to share! 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Source Within A Source (2 of 2)

Here is my answer to my student’s query on citations and the bibliographic data of the document he downloaded from our subscription database.

See the screenshot of the 1st page of the academic article. In the magnified circle is the Publisher. In the green circle is the Name or Title of the Journal, volume, issue number and year of publication. In the purple oblong is the author. The arrow points to the title of the article. 
Basic bibliographic entry or format will look like this: author; title; journal; volume and issue number; publisher; and year of publication. That is the standard format for any bibliography or citation. If you are following a specific citation format, you abide by its rules and guidelines. Therefore, slight changes can happen. 
Remember to use a period to separate each item in the bibliographic entry.
The Ask-Your-Teacher Librarian Service is alive and well in the Beacon Academy. The student who is asking for help is preparing his paper for the Extended Essay requirement. Of late, seniors would see me for research consultations despite the scheduled consultation done and over with. In past years, when I was the Extended Essay Coordinator, I was rarely sought out for research consultations.

That is something to think about.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

A Source Within A Source (1 of 2)

I received these queries  from one of our seniors during research season.

How do I cite my research documents ? ( see the example of the document below) Do i base it off the websites I got it off? Are these documents categorized as scholarly projects in the citation machine? 

I will post my reply in a few days. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

With Readers and RAPers (1 of 2)

At the tail end of October, I found myself in Iloilo once more. The last time I was there was in August for an accreditation visit under the auspices of PAASCU (Philippine Association of Accrediting Schools Colleges and Universities). Being back in Iloilo the second time this year made me see where its charm lies: good food and a love for learning.

No wonder that the Reading Association of the Philippines once again conducted and ran the annual Demofest there. Around 200 teachers from the region and beyond registered in the Demofest. The venue was at Ateneo de Iloilo Sta.Maria Catholic School, a Chinese Jesuit school in Mandurriao Iloilo. Memories of my years in Xavier School came flooding back.

Since it was a brief stay, I only get to stroll in the surrounding areas. Just across Ateneo de Iloilo is the Atria Mall where local food and restaurants catering to the locals and visitors abound. Tatoy's, of course, and Biscocho House are within the commercial complex. Nearby is an old oven, a monument for Donato Militante Pison, Iloilo’s local hero who innovated and revolutionized the sugar industry. A few meters away is a strip of commercial establishments of hotels, insurance companies and, learning centers on math, reading and writing. 

This is only one town in Iloilo. The locals are proud of their beaches and places to eat with friends and family. Alongside this penchant for food, friendship and family bonding is the value and investment they put in education. During my plenary session, participants displayed a quiet engagement. At lunch, I had a book signing and demo lesson plan presentation. 

Iloilo, I shall return! 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Game Changers in Philippine Librarianship

It is in October when the Rizal Library conducts its international conference. I have participated in this academic and scholarly endeavor countless times and I have always felt welcomed by the library community there. Each visit, be it for work, professional or personal matter, feels like a day of hanging out with my favorite cousin. On its 8th International Conference, I was there once again as a social guest by John Hickok of the American Library Association. He attended the conference as a paper presenter.

His paper was about Filipino Librarian Game Changers and I was one of the featured personalities in his paper. I still have to read his paper but in an email, he told me that my blog and the writing I do inspires and motivates librarians. How and why, I really have no idea. Maybe this is what I need to do next. As far as my blogging is concerned, I mean. 

I have been blogging since 2005. The blog is turning 15 years old in April 2020. So, yeah. It is about time to seriously do some analytical and metrics. We will see.

Apart from myself, Mr. Hickok featured Dr. Vernon Totanes and Mr. Troy “Kapitan Basa” Lacsamana in his paper presentation. We had our picture taken at the colorful and very literary staircase of the Rizal Library.

Thank you John, and here’s hoping we will see each other again soon!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Make Use of the Library’s Online Public Access Catalog

Teachers and students would often depend on the services librarians and library staff provide. However, it is also important that they learn independent searching and locating skills. Only when researchers are stumped and at a dead end can librarians be asked for help. Then again, we also initiate. 

Here are some important reasons why we encourage students to use the library OPAC.

1. Using the OPAC is an application of research skills namely, identifying needed information- in this case, the author’s name; determining and choosing needed information - title of the book written by the author; locating information within a source - the call number of the book as shown in the OPAC; and locating and accessing the book on the shell using the call number. These skills come into play when students are also using Google and other online databases. 

2. Using the OPAC is an experience of understanding technology particularly metadata. We learn by doing.

3. Exposure to the data and information an OPAC provides is exposure to bibliographic instruction.

4. All universities have an OPAC. So, this exercise of using it prepares them for academic work in college. 

So, there. The school library OPAC is both a learning tool and a learning environment. Librarians create this tool and this environment. We are very much a part of the teaching and learning process.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pathfinder: Media and Information Literacy and Teacher and School Librarian Collaboration

IFLA Trend Report  

SHEG Evaluating Information Online

Webinar on Fake News by the ALA


What can collaboration with a Teacher Librarian look like? Infographic
Surrey Chapter of the BCTLA - British Columbia Teacher Librarians Association


Langhorne, Mary Jo; Denise Rehmke and Iowa City Community School District. Developing 21st Century Literacies. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc. 2011.

Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning. Chicago: American Library Association (ALA), 1998

Academic Journal Articles

Merga, Margaret Kristin. Collaborating With Teacher Librarians to Support Adolescents’ Literacy and Literature Learning. ournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. Vol 63, Issue 1 Pages 65-72. August 2019

Web Articles
Feral, Larry. Edweek Blog. Response to ’Just as School Libraries Have Changed, So Have School Librarians' August 11, 2019 7:47 PM

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Sad Little Fact: An Open Letter to Penguin Random House Canada

This is my request to Penguin Random House Canada. Please make the ebook version of The Sad Little Fact, available to customers in the Philippines. I am a Filipino teacher librarian and I teach information literacy. I am also a trainer, facilitator and resource speaker for teachers and librarians. This book is one of my recommended reads for teachers and school librarians. With this book and the use of the appropriate teaching methods we can battle fake news and misinformation with information literacy skills instruction for K-12 learners.

Specifically, I am going to use this book as my springboard for my plenary session at the Reading Association of the Philippines National Demofest on October 29, 2019 where more than 200 teachers will convene to converse and discuss issues on multiple literacy skills instruction. I am going to read it aloud using Kindle or iBook. But there are restrictions in access. Our opportunity to engage in Jonah Winter’s story as one community is lost.

Of course I can use a different book. Of course I can download the YouTube videos of the book being read aloud. But I don’t want to do that.

I want to own the book.
I want to share the book.
I want to read the book aloud.
I am a reader.
This is my choice.
My choice is to read the book, The Sad Little Fact by Jonah Winter.

Please, Penguin Random House Canada, help me help others love books and reading. Help me help others teach Information Literacy. Please make the ebook available to customers in the Philippines.

Zarah Gagatiga
Teacher Librarian, Filipino

Monday, October 21, 2019

This is Me, ZarahG

Because of three things: the Room to Read Writing Workshop; Joann Nicolas Na's session on the Writer's World View during the workshop; and eating flowers at Bohol Bee Farm.

Zarah is a teacher librarian, an award winning author, blogger and storyteller. She handles press releases and communications protocol for the Philippine Association of School Librarians and currently represents the library sector in the Philippine Board on Books for Young People. 

Zarah believes in three things: the power of love; the value of family and friendship; and, with the use of appropriate methods, that books and reading can change lives. Visit her blog at

Si Zarah ay isang gurong librarian, premyadong manunulat, blogger at kuwntista. Siya ang PRO ng Philippine Association of School Librraians (PASLI) at kumakatawan sa sector ng mg librarian ng Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY). Si Zarah ay naniniwala sa kapangyarihan ng pag-ibig; sa kahalagahan ng pamilya at pagkakaibigan; at, gamit ang tamang pamamaraan ng pagtuturo, ang aklat at pagbabasa ay may kakayahang gawing pambihira ang isang buhay.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pathfinder: Halloween


Reference and Readers Services

Pathfinder: Halloween

This Pathfinder is prepared for Ms. Roxas’ CRE class specifically targeting a text with a 900-1200 Lexile readability level. Ms. Roxas requested for sources on Halloween, the religious rituals of its pagan origins and how modern practices has turned this “holy day” into a commercial endeavor. 

Key words: Halloween, Druids, Celtics, folklore, rituals, beliefs, Samhain, All Saints Day 

BA Library Resources: 

For a background information, definition and explanation of Halloween, Druids, Celtics, folklore, rituals, beliefs, Samhain, All Saints Day 

World Book Online (WBO) -

Username: ####

Password: ***

Articles in WBO are lexiled

Explora in EBSCO -

Username: ####

Password: ***

Selected articles in Explora are lexiled

The Day: News to Open Minds

Username: ####

Password: ***

BA  Library OPAC -


Online Sources

Jack Santino: Halloween, Folklore, and Death Festivals

Estimated Lexile – 1010L – 1200L

An interview with Jack Santino explaining the pagan origin of Halloween and how the rituals merged and permeated into modern day practice of the “holy day”.

Five myths about Halloween

Estimated Lexile – 1010L – 1200L

A news article by Jack Santino, he continues to debunk modern myths and beliefs about Halloween. He brings back readers to examine the roots of this famous holiday.

Teacher Resources on Halloween – included in the list of activities is the NatGeo video on the origin of Halloween

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