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

Halloween Greetings

I am in Iloilo and my staff sends me this!

Friday, October 25, 2019

RAP DemoFest PPT: Power of Two

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Children’s Book Writer and His/Her World View Part 2

One of the many amazing things I experienced during the Room to Read Writing Workshop in Bohol was to be mentored by peers and friends in the book industry. I was part of Lampara House’s pool of writers and we have a team of editors to walk us through the entire process of creating a story for children but writers and friends from the other publishing houses became mentors too.

Ergoe Tinio of Adarna House was my seat mate. I discussed with her my character study and she was generous in her advise on how I can make my character stand out. Award winning author, Genaro Gojo Cruz gave suggestions on how I can reconcile the plot of the story to my character’s choices and decisions. Palanca Hall of Famer Dr. Luis Gatmaitan is the best venting buddy. Writing two stories in five days can be tiring and frustrating, I tell you. And then, there is Teacher Tin Canon who took time to listen to my story dilemma. When I presented my draft to the big group, I received validations and affirmations. More possibilities to improve the story. More insights to digest so I can continue to grow as a writer.

In the middle of this exercise, I realized how varied and beautifully diverse the many world views I encountered. At the end of the day, I was able to chart a course for my second manuscript.

I also observed how my writer friends' world views are reflected in their stories.

Luis, being a physician, has a series of books on heath and hygiene. Every year, Hiyas/OMF Lit publishes a book for kids that discuss a health issue through the Tito Dok Series authored by him. He has a number of books that breaks the myths and folkloric beliefs on medicine, health and wellness. The newest is Tuli o Di Tuli, a middle grade book on circumcision. Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel (Adarna House) is a favorite read aloud piece as it depicts the strength of a child battling with cancer. Then, there is 'Sandosenang Sapatos (Adarna House) that tells the story of a child with no feet who badly wanted to wear ballet shoes and dance.

Teacher Tin, on the one hand is an advocate of peace education and inclusive instruction in the classroom. Her Salanga winning story, Bakit Matagal ang Sundo Ko is an empowering depiction of the child waiting to be fetched in school. Her child characters, Pitong and Karlo, in the books Pitong Patagotago and Sampung Magkakaibigan posses special learning needs.

Genaro's empathy and advocacy to empower the poor and the underprivileged seeps into his stories for children. Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas, Ang Bahay na May Gulong and recently, an alphabet book for kids that show images and symbols of the lower-middle class family living in the city.

This would make for an interesting study. Besides the milieu, the author's world view affects his approach and treatment of storytelling.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Children’s Book Writer and His/Her World View

Of the four publishers who had an input session during the Room to Read Writing Workshop in Bohol last week, it was Joann Nicolas Na’s session on world views that made a lasting impression. She is the editor of OMF Lit/Hiyas. In her talk, which was like a brief writer’s recollection, she asked participants what we believe in. In a previous post, a wrote them down.

I reiterate them here.

There are three things I believe in. 

I believe in love. I believe in family. I believe, that with the use of appropriate teaching methods, reading and literacy can change lives.

These beliefs all funnel in my stories and the books I have published, so far. Almost all of the six books I have written and collaborated with amazing Filipino artists were all based from real life characters. Many of them are stories of loved ones and family members.

The Day Max Flew Away is the story of my family. Much of what the father told the main character in the story is basically what I often hear my husband tell my kids. In My Daddy! My One and Only!, I celebrate the bond between father and son. Big Sister, is my story. I became one when I was twelve years old. My father is a retired public school teacher but he worked abroad back in the 80s. This became my context for Dear Nanay Needless to say, the experiences a writer go through and the beliefs he or she values are reflected in his/her works.

This prompts me to review and examine the works of my contemporaries. In the coming days and weeks, I will be posting in the blog selected works of writer friends in the industry and their body of works. This is not an academic study of children’s literature but, who knows. Maybe after posting my featured articles on Filipino Children’s Book writers and their world views, I may continue this as a formal study of writing and Philippine Children’s Literature.

Visit the blog and find out the writers, or illustrators, I will be featuring in my quest to understand the writer and his or her world view.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

2020 Call for Entries : the PBBY Chapter Book Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2020 PBBY-Salanga Chapter Book Prize. The winner shall be given a cash prize of P25,000.00, a gold medal, and an opportunity to be published. Prizes will be awarded in an appropriate ceremony to be held during the celebration of National Children’s Book Day on July 21, 2020.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat and time-stamped no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 8, 2019.

The contest rules are as follows:

1. Open to all Filipino citizens, as well as non-Filipino residents with dual citizenship, except those who are related to any PBBY member up to the third degree of consanguinity. For foreigners, they must have spent at least six months (can be accumulated) in the Philippines for the past six (6) years.

2. Stories should be intended for children aged 8–12, with not less than 15,000 words and not more than 30,000 words.

3. Entries may be in English or Filipino.

4. Plot may be anything that relates to a Filipino child’s experience.

5. Entries must be in hard copy, 1.5 space, Times New Roman 12 with 1-inch margins on short bond paper. 

6. On a separate sheet, contestant must identify the target grade level, number of words, and the synopsis of the story.  Contestant may also include suggestions to teachers for enrichment activities.

7. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.

8. Each entry must be signed by a pen name only. Five (5) copies of each entry should be placed in an envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant should appear.

9. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a second envelope, on the face of which the pen name shall appear. This must contain the contestant’s full name, address, contact numbers, a short literary background, and a notarized certification from the author, vouching for the originality of the entry and for the freedom of the organizers from any liability arising from the infringement of copyright in case of publication, and affirming that the entry or any variant thereof has (a) never been published nor (b) won any other contest i.e. that it has never won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, honorable mention in any other contest or otherwise been awarded a medal, a citation, or included in a publicized list of meritorious entries to a literary contest.

10. All entries must be sent through snail mail or personally dropped off at the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, Inc., Scout Torillo cor. Scout Fernandez Sts., Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City.

11. All entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat no later than 5:00 p.m., November 8, 2019.

12. Winners will be announced no later than November 29, 2019. Non-winning entries will be disposed of by the PBBY Secretariat.

Grand prize and honorable mention winners shall be subject to a bidding process to be facilitated by PBBY, to determine which publisher/s will publish their winning stories.

The winning story will be the basis for the 2020 PBBY-Alcala Prize.

For more details, interested parties may contact the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, at (02) 8352 6765 local 203 or email

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Kuwentong Musmos: Palihan para sa Pagsusulat ng Kuwentong Pambata

How many times have you gotten drunk so bad that a hangover is inevitable the morning after? A few times back in college? Recently? Just because.

Well, a hangover is never a good thing, except for events worth getting drunk in. The hangover lasts for days and it is a good feeling you wish to bottle and preserve. So you keep it in a flask. You take it with you wherever you go. For days when you need some sunshine and happy thoughts, you uncork the bottle and take little sips of the memory. Invigorating! 

The Kuwentong Musmos Writing Workshop for Beginning Readers I attended last week in Bohol is just like that, an experience that left me with a pleasant hangover. Who wouldn’t be if you are among your people, talking, listening, creating stories not just for Filipino children but for the children of the world. Organized by Room to Read (RTR) and Adarna House, the workshop was a Voltes Five moment!

Twenty Filipino writers from the country's leading publishing houses of children's books banded together. The result was forty manuscripts that tackled themes on identity, gender equality and inclusion written for beginning readers. It was hard work. And it was for a god cause. As  Al Santos of RTR said, "Your stories will be read by a child who has never seen or opened a book before." How can I say no to this project? The little things I do as a librarian, teacher and author suddenly expands. I become a part of something bigger than the round hole I plug my square peg in ( yes, I don’t fit most of the time and it’s a miracle that things work out sometimes).

The inputs made by the four publishing houses during the five day workshop weren’t at all new things for me but what they said amplified, affirmed and validated what I have always believed in. Invest in human capital (Anvil Publishing); Create imperfect characters and let them go through challenges (Adarna House); Take courage, use language responsibly and take risks (Lampara Books); Every writer has a world view that is reflected in his/her works (OMF/Hiyas) So, children’s book writer, what do you believe in? 

I believe in three things.

I believe in love. I believe in family. I believe that, with the use of appropriate methods, reading and literacy can change lives.

There were twenty of us who left Bohol last week. I would like to think that we came out of the experience as good writers and better persons. As of writing, many of us have received call backs from our respective publishers to revise the manuscripts in preparation for the illustrators' workshop in Baguio next week. The Kuwentong Musmos Writing Workshop is in-progress and the learning experience I took away from it, I will keep forever. 

Now, it’s time to share what I gained from the workshop. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

PASLI Seminar on Research Skills Competencies

The seminar-workshop aims to: 

1) understand the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR) in research; 

2) enhance the competencies of librarians in doing scholarly research that are responsive to the 4th IR library users; 

3) help improve services, resources and demonstrate library impact on student success through evidence based practice and research productivity; 

4) produce research outputs that can be shared in the next DLSP Libraries Research Conference.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Filipino Illustrations in Picture Books

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

Bestie: Question! (This is research for one of my talks.) What makes Filipino illustrations Filipino?

Me: Simple lang yan for me. If the reader feels Filipino when he/she encounters and engages in the book or the art. Let the writer and artist create a book or art Filipino man siya o hindi. If there is a reader who sees himself or herself in the art, in the story and his/her culture and values as a Filipino then, that's it. 

Filipino author ka? Filipino illustrator ka? Sulat ka lang. Gawa ka lang ng art mo. If the book or the art connects to a Filipino reader, identifying values and culture that amplify his or her identity and sense of self as Filipino, then that's a book or an illustration that is Filipino. 

Now there are instances when a reader, not Filipino necessarily, is able to find himself in a book or in the art of the book made by a Filipino. I think it's because art and literature are great equalizers -- As much as death and tragedies do.  

Bestie: Follow up question 😁 Then what would make a foreigner identify illustrations as "Filipino" and enjoy / appreciate the illustrations as foreigners?

What he/ she initially knows about the Philippines and its people. Dianne de Las Casas thought of using the jeepney as cover for our book. Cramped. Overloaded with happy passengers. That's her worldview and perspective. It was Bernadette Solina Wolf's husband, Michael who is German, who made the suggestion to put colorful banderitas in the margin. Fiesta - that's how Michael identify Filipino culture. 

The enjoyment comes in when the reading or the engagement with the book begins. 

Bestie: Is there anything. . . "universal" about our illustrations?

Me: Themes and concepts, yes. But the style of art, I am not so sure. 

Maybe universality would depend on the illustrator's vision and rendition. Take for example Serge Bumatay's illustrations of Tight Times. It feels so, ah, European but, I also feel that I am reading a book made by Filipinos. 

Melag makes use of Baroque. But the use of space, balance and perspective reminds me of what life is like in Tuguegarao, my father's hometown. 

I love pepper Roxas's work in Mang Andoy's signs because it reminds me of two things from my childhood - the golden books series and my growing years in Pateros!

I also think that universality would also mean or connected to, aesthetics, beauty and even, ethics. We appreciate what is beautiful and good and we say, ah, it's art! 

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