Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Children's Book Summit: Prospects and Directions in Philippine Children's Literature (4 of 4)

After knowing the Top Ten Awesome and Amazing Events in Philippine Children's Literature and the children's book industry, it can be concluded that prospects for its growth and development is an on-going process that is already beyond the borders of Metro Manila. We are discovering publishing houses, book shops and organizations of book creators in the regions. Government agencies like the DepEd and the National Library of the Philippines are supportive of book development efforts and book projects by teachers and NGOs. The continuous building and the development of public libraries in the provinces is another venue of distribution. Though, the acquisition process of books is another story to discuss all together. The traditional means and ways of book production remain but new models are being made and this infuse excitement and vigor to the book and reading communities.

We have heard writers, authors and artists talk about the state and situation of the industry. I am grateful, as a librarian, to be given this chance to speak about book development from our perspective. Content creation as process and product is already a stable system, though it needs to be constantly open to possibilities and the great "what if".  Economics is always an issue, but I believe that creativity knows no boundaries nor walls. Since libraries operate and conduct services and programs for young people, the process of creation extends outside the confines of the classrooms.

We also need to listen more to our readers and welcome new voices. What do they offer? What can we learn from them? How is media playing a role in the exchange of information? There is research to do and to make use of apart from the surveys and interviews we regularly conduct. Instead of asking what attracts readers to books, ask why are readers reading and how do they read.

Lastly, we need to recognize that reading is a personal experience. And yet, it is a social one too. Enough of the statement that Filipinos do not read. The Filipino reads. Even this statement begs to be pared and dissected from a social and anthropological view.  The Igorot child is reading a different story from that of Lumad in the fields of Mindanao. The teenager from Binan, Laguna who goes to an high end senior high school has so many reading materials at her disposal compared to the young adult living in Baseco, Tondo who only reads required textbooks and his exposure to social media and afternoon variety shows happens every day.

We are a country with diverse peoples and diverse needs. Do our systems of thinking, learning and content creation celebrate and support this diversity?

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