Thursday, November 26, 2009

5th Booklovers' Club Convention (BLC) T-Shirts

For those interested to get a BLC t-shirt, please provide black shirts with collar and PhP50.00 for printing to the Secretariat. Please contact Arvin Tejada (e-mail:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 PLAI National Congress: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability through Libraries and Information Centers

Environmental sustainability is the theme of the 2009 Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) National Congress.  The three-day activity will be held on November 25-27, 2009 at the Heritage Hotel Manila. This year’s congress will be spearheaded by the PLAI and the National Committee on Library and Information Services (NCLIS), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The congress registration conference fee is PhP3,600.00. It covers the kit, conference papers (to be distributed in CDs), lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, certificate of attendance/participation and Librarians’ Day Luncheon ticket.

For further details, please visit the PLAI website or better yet get in touch with the following:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Internet Manifesto Trainers Workshop held for SOCSARGEN Librarians

The Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) – SOCSARGEN Regional Librarians Council, in cooperation with the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLA) Committee on Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), organized the IFLA-FAIFE Internet Manifesto Trainers Workshop on October 26-27, 2009 at the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in General Santos City. The theme was: Internet: The Way to the Future.”

The speakers were Prof. Maxie Doreen Leva-Cabarron, Board Member of the PLAI Central Visayas Librarians Regional Council; Dr. Marilou P. Tadlip, Director of Libraries of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City and Executive Vice President, PLAI National and Prof. Lilia Echiverri of the University of the Philippines College of Law Library, incumbent president of the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc.

The initiative was spearheaded the PLAI SOCSARGEN Regional Librarians Council headed by Mrs. Victoria Santos, Director of Libraries and Chair, PLAI SOCSARGEN Regional Librarians Council

Dr. Marilou P. Tadlip, Prof. Maxie Leva-Cabarron, Ms. Lilia Echiverri, Prof. Victoria R. Santos, and SOCOLA Founder and Adviser Mr. Arturo O. Barbosa.

The workshop was about exploiting current technologies, specifically the internet, to bring information to the wider community. It was also about addressing the challenges that come with free access to information, that is, creating a balance between responsible use of information while at the same time ensuring that all barriers to free access are removed.

Prof. Maxie Doreen Leva-Cabarron gave an overview of the IFLA/FAIFE Manifesto and talked about scenarios and trends in internet use in Philippine libraries.

Dr. Marilou P. Tadlip’s sessions were on barriers to free and open internet access and the how-to’s of implementing the Internet Manifesto.

Also among the highlights of the two-day activity were the focus group discussions where participants reviewed and crafted acceptable internet use guidelines for their audiences.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Two Mindanao Public Libraries Win 2009 NCCA Award

Mindanao Librarian wishes to congratulate the Davao City Public Library for bagging this year's Search for Outstanding Libraries in the Philippines spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Also to the Zamboanga Public Library who made it to the top five.

Thanks for making Mindanao proud!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Competition Guidelines for the 5th Booklovers Club Convention

5th BLC Convention Delegates, please follow this link to access competition guidelines:

5th Competition Guidelines and Mechanics

(1) click the above link;
(2) scroll down the page and click DOWNLOAD NOW near the bottom;
(3) wait for the download counter to finish then click DOWNLOAD NOW again to either save or open the file.

Important Updates on the Competition Guidelines (as of 2009 November 2009):

* Only the first ten (10) participating teams to register and confirm during the registration may join the competitions.

* Each competing team will be provided with an improvised cellphone board.

Tales of A Reluctant Mindanao Blogger

Saturday, 24 October 2009. I found myself accidentally attending the 3rd Mindanao Bloggers Summit (MBS3) in Pearlmont Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City. My original intention was simply to hie off and take a break somewhere far, so I and my son tagged along with my husband who is an active member of the SOCCSKSARGEN bloggers. Participating in the summit was not at all part of the plan. But fate would intervene and this reluctant blogger soon found herself sitting with fellow cyber authors and listening intently to Atty. Adel Tamano’s (more famous for being Vicky Belo’s lawyer) piece on governance and transformation.

Up to now, I must say I still am a reluctant blogger. While I see blogs as powerful platforms for transformation and building connections, I still need to find out what it is exactly I intend to achieve from this initiative. For one, it is hard to squeeze in precious time to blog while work and family concerns also scream for my attention. (Then again, others are able to do it and are still able to keep balance.) Maybe it is more because as a person, I am not one to easily disclose or share my thoughts, let alone in cyberspace to remote and unknown individuals. When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure which direction I intend for it to go. It was more like going with the flow (it is IN to have one) but I was not really ready to let go of a piece of myself and a chunk of my time. And this explains why there were only a few posts when I could have written so much. Before me is such a huge information landscape.

Until MBS3. Sitting there, albeit briefly, took me to that “direction” I was finding difficult to define. Until it became clearer to me that this blog will continue to advocate for libraries, librarianship, reading and literacy in Mindanao; and mainstream initiatives that celebrate reading and promote librarianship. There are no more excuses.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reading and Reader Development Advocates Converge for the 5th Booklovers Club Convention in Korondal City, South Cotabato

Yet another best practice in the promotion of libraries and reading that is worth mentioning is the continued support extended by the Notre Dame of Marbel University Books and Information Technology Society (NDMU BITS) to the annual celebration of the National Book Week.

For the fifth time, the NDMU BITS spearheads this year's Book Lovers Club (BLC) Convention. This time, the initiative is with full support from the Cyber Bibliophile Society (CBS) of the Green Valley College Foundation, also in Koronadal City, South Cotabato. This year's activity is initiated by two staunch librarian-advocates, Ms. Michaelilie C. Carbonquillo, CBS Moderator and Mr. Arvin M. Tejada, NDMU BITS Coordinator and BLC SOCSKSARGEN Area Organizer.

Here is their invitation:

The Books and Information Technology Society (BITS), Notre Dame of Marbel University in partnership with the Cyber Bibliophile Society (CBS), Green Valley College Fdn., Inc. will be conducting the BLC Convention on November 28, 2009 at Fitmart Mall Atrium/Techno Zone, Gensan Drive, City of Koronadal. This activity is inline with the nation-wide celebration of the National Book Week with the theme "Kaaya-ayang Magbasa sa Kapaligirang kay Ganda”. The convention has the following objectives: 1) to enhance students’ awareness on the importance of books and libraries, 2) to provide an avenue for the participants to tour the NDMU Library, 3) to develop camaraderie among BLCians and Bibliophiles in the Area and 4) to promote dynamic and healthy competition by showcasing their skills and talents.

Book Lovers and Library Club members are invited to attend this year’s convention. A registration fee of P75.00 will be charged to the participants to cover for 2 snacks, kit and certificate. Prospective participants/participating clubs are requested to prepare an intermission number to be presented during the Search for Mr. and Ms. Book Wizard ‘09.

Lined up activities which will be done right after the opening ceremonies are the following: Spelling Text Bee, Body Painting, Poetry in Motion, and the Search for Mr. and Ms. Book Wizard '09.

Please confirm your entry/entries by sending an email to the Secretariat at or call 0907-731-8863 / (083) 228-2218 local 125 on or before November 25, 2009. Keep posted via this blog.

Kudos to the organizers for surfacing the advocacy for libraries and reading!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

21 July

It has been close to three months since arriving from Vietnam but I have not had time to update my blog. Work takes up much of my time these days.

Today, I just felt that I needed to revisit July 21, 2007.

Two years ago, on this day, I watched my husband recover from an open heart surgery at the PGH-Central Intensive Care Unit (CICU); and saw myself through the difficult task of comprehending different shades of life and death staring straight at my face the whole ten days we were in the hospital.

At the CICU where we were surrounded by still life, I held back a range of emotions ranging from fear, pity, sadness, and uncertainty so that hope can surface. I was both strong and pretending to be strong for the father I promised to bring back home to our waiting only son; and for everyone else, including myself.

I am writing this rather brief note about 21 July because it was the most crucial time apart from the actual surgery on July 19, 2007. The doctors gave us 48-72 hours to wait and hope that there would be no complications. Close to midnight, hope found us and we were already out of the CICU.

I am writing about 21 July because today is our family’s rebirth. This day is very special.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DReAM Children Goes to Hanoi, Vietnam

In the recently concluded Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL XIV) held on 21-23 April 2009 at the Melia Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, I had the pleasure of bringing to an audience of library and information professionals in the region a home-grown practice on community/public librarianship that is grounded on the principles of libraries as promoters of literacy and more importantly, libraries as social institutions that are vital to building and promoting sustainable communities.

The case study on the Democratizing Reading Among Mindanaoan (DReAM) Children Project, piloted in Tampakan, South Cotabato, Philippines in 2006, was among the 42 papers selected out of the total 131 abstracts submitted to the CONSAL XIV Organizing Committee, along with five others from fellow Filipino librarians: Vernon Totanes, Elvira Lapuz, Mila Ramos, Beth Peralejo and Nhemi Pasamba.

The presentation zeroed in on the DReAM Children’s journey towards the advocacy of mainstreaming public libraries and how it is helping its pilot community comply with Republic Act 7743 which is a 15-year old mandate whose compliance remain relatively low across the country owing to limitations on resources and local capacities.

The paper not only brought an advocacy to a wider audience, but also surfaced good local practice which leverage on stakeholder involvement and partnership -- community-driven approaches which others countries faced with similar circumstances can possibly take after.

The full paper is available at the CONSAL website.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Step to a DReAM of Mainstreaming South Cotabato's Public Libraries

Monday, the 20th of April 2009, I fly to Hanoi, Vietnam. I take with me an advocacy to mainstream public libraries shared by a number of fellow Southern Mindanao librarians. In many ways, I am proud to take part of Mindanao with me, on a journey for this cause. I am aware that the steps I am taking, or I can possibly take are small, but they are headed to a definite and clear direction.

The past two days, in a last minute attempt to arm myself with more inspiration and motivation to help push this advocacy further, I, along with my husband, a community development worker who has become a staunch co-advocate, went public library hopping in the City Library of Koronadal, and the Municipal Library of Tupi, South Cotabato. I shall put on hold what I have seen and reserve my comments on the two libraries I visited pending further interviews with their staff. Meanwhile, I guess I have succeeded at meeting my objectives. And so I fly out of the country more inspired to present a case for a public library in South Cotabato, and more determined to dream bigger for the other public libraries of this province.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NDMU Graduates Second to the Last Batch of Library Science Majors

The Notre Dame of Marbel University (NDMU) in the City of Koronadal, South Cotabato graduated its second to the last batch of Library Science (LS) majors on 22 March 2009.

Next year, it will graduate its last batch, unless the program is swarmed by more takers and management decides to shift gear and keep the program from closing. They say that the closing of the LS program is only temporary but it is a necessary option now because it is costly to run and maintain a program with very few takers. They say there was never an academic year in the past five years at least, that enrollment went past ten students. In essence, it is the numbers that will either overturn or seal the fate of this program.

Numbers do not at all surprise me. I remember there were just two of us in my own batch who were enrolled in the LS program at the University of the Philippines Institute of Library Science (UP ILS). I have witnessed how the then ILS community struggled to hold on, until persistence, patience and sheer faith in the profession paid off. The ILS, now School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), is gearing up for more programs and a new building. I credit this wonderful achievement to the SLIS community, then and now, for keeping the program off the death zone.

I wonder if the same can be said of NDMU before the last batch exits next year. I'd like to believe so. I know of former NDMU colleagues and students who are disheartened by what has happened. They have a reason to feel that way. NDMU is the first ever institution in the SOCSKSARGEN area which offered Library Science back in the early 90s; and now one of only two institutions offering LS, the other one being the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in General Santos City which offered LS in the early 2000. Most of the librarians of different institutions in and out of the SOCSKSARGEN area were NDMU graduates. I believe that together, they have a voice, but this voice should be motivated by a common objective to influence policy and convince the NDMU management to change its mind.

I am keeping positive that NDMU will still see more LS graduates in the future. So much can still be done in a year, collectively. Perhaps it can take after what the UP ILS community did to keep LS from being added to the statistics of "dead" programs. And with the same formula of patience, persistence, and sheer faith in the profession, the NDMU LS community can probably still resuscitate the program, perhaps maybe reinvent it like what ILS did to become SLIS.

At any rate, I am glad I was once part of the lives of the batch that just graduated. We will see more of each other in the field. Meanwhile, I hope to see more students choosing to become librarians.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On Pushing the Cause of Public Libraries

It has been close to three weeks since I last posted a blog. I had been immersed writing an advocacy paper on reader development and about mainstreaming public libraries. I hope it is good enough excuse.

The past days, I interviewed two colleagues working for public libraries here in South Cotabato relative to the paper I am writing. Both expressed rather depressing realities of the diminishing motivation to push the cause of public libraries because efforts seem to go nowhere and the usual constraints due to lack of funds that paralyze their creativity. I perfectly understand where thay come from. It must be very difficult where they are -- boxed in by seemingly hopeless circumstances. It is a bit easier where I am, looking at them from afar, trying to articulate their concerns and trying to lift my fingers to be able to help them in any way I could. Then I realize that there is a difference between being there where these public librarians are and looking, empathizing and articulating their realities from the outside. There definitely is more to the advocacy on mainstreaming public libraries than just writing and delivering papers at conferences.

Then just now, I have spoken with a former colleague from the Notre Dame of Marbel University Mr. Arvin M. Tejada who is much into the same advocacy as I am. Talking to him lifted my spirits, kept me motivated and all the more challenged to push this common advocacy. Never mind if to others these may seem as time-consuming, old-fashioned, or even hopeless pursuits. It's admirable how librarians like Arvin can choose not to be constrained nor limited by circumstances, no matter how hard it is to navigate just to get the cause of public libraries to the mainstream. It is always a choice.

I wish there were more fellow Mindanao librarians with a heart and passion for community development work like those I have spoken and interviewed, so we can pull our resources and capacities together in order to push this advocacy far enough to be felt and understood.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

On Embracing Change and Trusting the Future

Embrace the change. Trust the future.

In a recently-concluded Strategic Planning I attended, we were asked to write down our thoughts after the first day’s session. I had written down three, but the one that caught the facilatator’s attention was that I wrote about embracing change and trusting the future. The following day, she flashed it on screen and invited everyone to adopt it as their mantra.

Now I am starting to ask what exactly prompted me to write it, and if I can consistently live by this mantra myself.

Which brings me to a favorite book I read some thirtreen years back. The book, The Songs of Salanda and Other Stories of Sulu, was written by anthropologist H. Arlo Nimmo. It was an anthology of short stories about his own personal encounters while immersed working with the people of Sulu. Towards the end of the last chapter he wrote that, “change is relentless in its demands, and there are casualties.”

In my whole lifetime, I saw myself navigating through so many life changes, some I managed to survive unscathed, the others I either helplessly resisted or tried hard to control. Some of these changes consumed me; the others made me fly high. Change is demanding, indeed; and trusting a constantly metamorphosing future requires faith greater than one’s own.

When I came home to Mindanao in 1998, I planned of working full-time in a big academic institution. I thought of seeing myself either heading an academic library until retirement, or becoming a full-time faculty of Library Science, or working both as a librarian and a faculty on a part-time basis. I did have a taste of life as an academic, but it was not meant to be for long. Certain circumstances would always get in the way. It took a while before it dawned on me I was probably never meant to work as I planned. I was not going to be a librarian working around a physical space called the library. I embraced this twist in my career plans and went with the flow.

Today, I use the same skills I learned back in college doing other things. I do not manage an academic library and do not organize books. Instead, I make sense of and organize organizational (explicit) content, and devise a system for capturing human interactions and tacit knowledge. It's a pretty interesting job, a huge canvass from which I can still learn many other things. I still am passionate about libraries, but this time, my personal interest is geared towards public libraries. I still long to one day see more public libraries built, and more children reading inside these libraries.

So when asked about my profession, I’d gladly say I am a librarian. But not in the strictest sense. I still teach, although I am not quite a teacher, either. I am a metamorposed librarian. As soon as I embraced change, I have experienced what I did not plan -- i.e., to be in professions not exactly my own but which require the skills I have been taught in library and information science school. I wonder if this would have happened if I resisted change. Looking back now, I am glad I refused to be a casualty of my own limited notion, or of the changing information landscape. I think that as soon as we embrace change and trust the future, we'd be brought to where we can be our “best” and where we can give the most profound meaning to our existence.

Change, I learned, is pointless to resist. I have no option but to live by the mantra. I know that I shared it both as an invitation and an inspiration.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lamentations Over the Death of a Public Library

For somebody who looks upon the public library as a community's intellectual lifeline and an agent of social inclusion, the death of the Cebu City Public Library is indeed a blow to Philippine public librarianship with the strength equivalent to a million Manny Pacquiao punches! It does not make any sense at all to justify the death of a public library with the birth of a museum. Both institutions should co-exist in a community. While public libraries and museums are both learning spaces serving the same community, they offer rather different goods, and serve different purposes. To the intellectually starved, especially those coming from weak economic backgrounds who are unable or cannot afford to access information in schools and cyberspace, the public library is a sanctuary, a last bastion of hope. To declare a public library dead, therefore, is like cutting off the intellectual lifeline that binds a significant percentage of the (marginalized) populace to the information it needs to equip itself in order to better navigate this rapidly-changing world.

And so, I am one with those who lament the death of the Cebu City Public Library.

I lament the utter disregard for Philippine laws, in particular, R.A. 7743, which mandates local government units to establish congressional, provincial, city, municipal libraries and reading centers at the barangay (village) level. In Southern Mindanao where I come from, we are lobbying hard for the LGUs compliance to this 15-year old mandate. We are groundworking (and groundworking religiously) to mainstreaming public libraries, and bringing them back to the consciousness of Southern Mindanaoans.

I lament the sheer insensitivity on the part of the proponents (Education Consultant and the LGU at that!) to decide unilaterally over a matter that requires intensive public consultations. There is no word to describe the wanton disregard by the proponent for the community that the Cebu City Public Library served amidst its dwindling resources and lack of government support.

I lament the fact that few seem to understand that a public library can be many things to many people -- source of information, learning and collaboration space, experience.
All of these, therefore, die unjustly with the closure of a public library.

I lament the fact that few seem to understand that Library Hubs are not libraries. They are transitory depositories of books to be "loaned" to what they call the satellite libraries in public elementary schools. Therefore, a Library Hub (or two library hubs for that matter) cannot replace one public library that already served thousands in its 69-year existence. Satellite libraries cater primarily to its own constitutuents. The notion of "attachment" connotes ownership, boundaries or parameters that automatically deter other community members who are not in school, or are elderly from using this facility. Satellite libraries are simply are not as socially-inclusive a learning space as public libraries are.

It is sad that just as our neighboring Southeast Asian countries are scrounging for funds to build public libraries, we are doing otherwise. Talk about governance.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mindanao Librarian to Conquer Hanoi, Vietnam

14 January 2009, I received notification that the abstract I submitted for the 14th Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL XIV) was among those selected for this prestigious conference of librarians/information professionals. I am both excited and challenged to take with me to a wider audience issues such as community librarianship, social inclusion and forging multi-stakeholder partnerships. Writing the full paper has not yet commenced, but ideas are flowing, even if they are just in my head at the moment.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Of Christmas, 2008 and 2009

I must say that 2008 ended with dreams waiting and wanting to come true. And I welcome 2009 in the same light. I sealed 2008 with wishes for myself and my family, my work and my advocacy. While I am not comfortable disclosing these wishes in cyberspace, suffice it to say that these were wishes & hopes for better days ahead for all of us.

I visited home in Tacurong on the first day of 2009. The house used to be a seat of laughter and fun when I was a child. An aging aunt and mother now calls it home. I missed my Papang and little brother Francis as I smelled and savored the old stuff that remain so familiar and close to my heart. I saw (albeit only in imagination) my father tending his backyard garden and relished the thought of being able to talk to him again, about Christmas, about things I wish for. I saw Francis merry-making with his self-made tambol humming his self-composed tune in a world only he knows and understands. My brother loved this Season so much! Then it came to me I was just imagining people and things. And I begin to feel a huge sense of loss.

Christmas to me now has become more of remembering or going back to the past -- to the child's world I used to know. It also has become a reminder of Christmases past, and the many years I saw Christmas unveil its different faces. It is too profound to dig deeper into the abyss of my emotions that come with this Season. What I am most sure of is that there is something so spiritual about Christmas that hardly surfaces against this very flimsy and material world.

I thank 2008 for the days I saw my family finding simple joys -- Papee immersed exposing his thougths on cyberspace via his blog, my son Ivan Anakin in his make-believe war while I am just whiling time away either reading or watching The Buzz and Showbiz Central.

I thank 2008 for the occasional visits of my mother, my brother Dino and his family, for occasions that allow me to see my other brother Geoffrey and his kids, for visits to my in-laws.

I thank 2008 for the many times we've conquered stressful situations -- of family members getting sick or problematic, of complicated people in the workplace, of frustrations that come with not getting what we wish or hope for.

In many ways, I am grateful for everything about 2008. I welcome 2009 just as grateful as I was in 2008. I hope this year will be kind.

Happy New Year!