While there is joy in being able to give customers the books they want to read, not being able to give them what they want leaves you with a heavy feeling in your heart...I wish I could say that the passage above was written by a librarian, but no, it was written by a reporter who took on the duties of a sales person at a bookstore. See "Bookworm at the bookshop" by Pam Pastor (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 July 2005).
There was the young couple who looked embarrassed as we tried to track the book This Book Will Change Your Love Life for them... And there was the woman who tugged at my heartstrings. She... asked me to find books on adoption. Soon, two books were in her hands, Raising Adopted Children and Parenting Your Adopted Child. "Not these," she said. "I'm looking for a book on how to adopt children in the Philippines."
It broke my heart that I wasn't able to help her more.
Why is it that very few Filipino librarians are writing about their experiences? Even articles written for scholarly journals—whether local or foreign—are rare. Could it be that there is no venue for publication? Well, I've been planning to "publish" an online journal for Filipino librarians, if you think you'd like to write for it, email me or leave a comment below.
Something else that this article made me think about is the fact that bookstores have actually taken over the role that public libraries should be playing. In Singapore, for instance, plans were made so that Neil Gaiman could visit the public library, and he did. But no such thing happened when Gaiman arrived last week. Where did he go? He went to a bookstore.