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"It's hip to be a librarian"

From "It's hip to be a librarian" by Rachel Barawid (Manila Bulletin, 27 August 2009):

Librarians are old-fashioned boring nerds, unapproachable old maids or widowers -- not!

Today's new breed of librarians have broken free from those dank and dusty school libraries, the century-old stereotypes, and have evolved into dynamic, progressive and most-sought after career people employed by large corporations, IT companies, hospitals and law firms.
We need more articles like this. Maybe publicity efforts can be stepped up in time for the showing of In My Life...


One Million Dollars for Your Library 2010

Does your library "provide free public access to information through the use of computers and the Internet"? If so, you may want to apply for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual Access to Learning Award (ATLA), which gives US$1 million to the awardee. Previous winners include libraries from Colombia, Mexico and Nepal.

Please note that "organizations [not just libraries] that reach out to underserved groups, such as poor or disabled patrons, or those from minority communities" are encouraged to apply, that the award is given to "recognize services that are currently being provided" (i.e., not for proposed projects or activities) and that the deadline is 31 October 2009.

A grant writing workshop specifically designed for those who intend to apply for the ATLA will be held at the Ortigas Foundation Library, 10 September 2009, 9:30am–5:00pm. John Silva will conduct the workshop. Registration fee is P7,500.

Adapted from my 2006 post on "One Million Dollars for Your Library."


Vilma Santos — "Librarian"

Vilma Santos — 'Librarian'
Vilma Santos plays a stereotypical librarian in In My Life, which will begin its run in the Philippines on September 16. Santos describes her character as "“irascible and rather comic—isang masungit na librarian who feels na hindi siya mahal ng mundo [a cranky librarian who feels the world doesn't love her]."

Shirley, the character played by Santos, apparently has two distinct facets – the traditional and old-fashioned librarian and the modern and transformed one in New York City. According to Santos, "The old Shirley doesn’t like computers. She doesn’t even like her library computerized." Her eventual transformation, courtesy of her gay son and his partner, seems to imply a correlation between her acceptance of her son's lifestyle and the new technology she learns to embrace.

I will reserve judgment on the impact her portrayal might have on the image of Filipino librarians until after I've seen the movie, but the trailer below looks very promising.


BLIS, MLIS and "Equivalent" Degrees?

It seems that the answer to my question on whether "PRC is Allowing Non-BLIS, Non-MLIS to Take Exam?" is No. Then again, it looks like there is still some wiggle room. According to R.A. 9246, an applicant must be "a graduate of Bachelor’s degree in Library Science and Information Science (BLIS) [or] a holder of a master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS)."

The reply below, however, indicates that "equivalent" degrees, such as BSLS, MSLS, MALIS, and MALS are acceptable. If this is true, then it still looks like a back door to me because the law clearly states, for example, that degree holders in "Master of Arts in Library Science or Library and Information Science" (MALS and MALIS, respectively) can only take the exam within five years of the law's date of effectivity.

Anyway, maybe I'm just imagining things. Here's the reply from Board for Librarians chair Corazon Nera to a query sent by Fe Angela Verzosa:

Dear Angela:

Thank you for helping us answer queries about the licensure examination for librarians. Yes you are correct, that while we have issued guidelines in accepting and processing of applications to the PRC and the regional offices, all applications received must be forwarded to us for further evaluation and scrutiny. Hence, the final approval of who are qualified to take the board exam rests with the board and all applications whether qualified or not will bear the signatures of the three members to attest that they have really seen the application. As of this writing, we have not approved of any application because nothing has been forwarded to us yet.

Now, who may qualify to take the licensure examination for librarians on November 10-11, 2009?
1. graduates of bachelor's degree in library and information science (BLIS) or equivalent, BSLS
2. graduates of master's degree in library and information science (MLIS) or equivalent MSLS, MALIS, MALS
3. takers who failed in the previous years examination for librarians.

Candidates may take the test in Baguio City, Cebu City, Davao City, Legaspi City, Manila or Zamboanga City provided that there are at least 50 takers. We also regret to announce that we failed to get the extension needed to enable new graduates of BSE, BSED and AB majors in LIS to take the licensure examination at least for the last time. Thank you Angela and hoping that this will end all the confusions.

Board for Librarians / PRC

via PAARL yahoogroup


Talumpati: Manuel L. Quezon —
Wikang Pambansa

On August 19, the birth of Manuel L. Quezon—former President of the Philippines and acknowledged "Father of the National Language"—will once again be remembered in "Buwan ng Wika" celebrations throughout the country, but this time with the added dimension that this year's theme is "Wikang Filipino: Mula Baler Hanggang Buong Pilipinas" (The Filipino Language: From Baler to the Rest of the Philippines). Baler was Quezon's birth place.

The speech below is my translation of excerpts from "Manuel Quezon on the National Language." It is being shared here for the benefit of students looking for a speech to recite in class. It may not be reproduced, whether in print or online, without my permission.

Wikang Pambansa
Manuel L. Quezon

Hindi ko nais na Kastila o Ingles ang maging wika ng Pamahalaan. Kailangan magkaroon ng sariling wika ang Pilipinas, isang wikang nakabatay sa isa sa mga katutubong wika.

Nagmula ang karamihan ng mga suliranin o pagkukulang na kasalukuyang nararanasan dito sa kawalan ng ating sariling wikang pambansa. Ang pagnanais gayahin ang lahat ng kilos banyaga kahit hindi alam kung ito'y mabuti o masama ay dahil sa isang kahinaan—ang kakulangan ng isang tunay na pambansang kamalayan. Hindi maaring magkaroon ng pambansang kamalayan kung saan walang wikang ginagamit ng lahat.

Naunawaan ko lamang kung gaano kahirap ang kakulangan ng wikang pambansa noong naging Pangulo ako. Ako ang Pangulo ng Pilipinas; ako ang kumakatawan sa bayang Pilipinas at sa mga Pilipino. Ngunit kapag ako'y naglalakbay sa mga lalawigan at kinakausap ang aking mga kapwa mamamayan, kailangan ko ng tagapagsalin. Nakakahiya, hindi ba?

Sang-ayon ako sa patuloy na pagtuturo sa Ingles sa mga paaralan at itataguyod ko rin ang pagpapatuloy ng Kastila. Subalit dumating na ang panahon upang magkaroon tayo ng isang wikang pambansa. Ang suliranin ay gusto ng mga Ilokano na Ilokano ang wikang pambansa; ang mga Tagalog, Tagalog; ang mga Bisaya, Bisaya.

Ako ay Tagalog. Kung sasabihin ng mga dalubhasa sa iba't-ibang wikang Pilipino na Mangyan ang katutubong wikang pinakamainam gamitin, Mangyan ang tatangkilikin ko higit sa ibang wika. Tagalog ang ginagamit namin sa pamilya. Pero handa akong mag-aral ng Ilokano, Bisaya o anupamang ibang katutubong wika para lamang magkaroon tayo ng wikang ginagamit ng lahat.


Alejandro, Reynaldo G., 1941-2009

Reynaldo G. Alejandro was better known as the author of lavishly-illustrated coffee table books on Filipino culture—from cooking to dance to parols to stamps. But what many do not know is that he was a librarian, and was one of the very first to graduate with a master's degree in library science at the University of the Philippines in 1966. (See "The San Juan Municipal Library: a proposal.")


October 25: Added "In Memoriam" card above (courtesy of Michael Tan)
August 17: "NY-based Fil-Am writer Ronnie Alejandro dies" by Joseph Lariosa
August 20: "A full life" by Michael Tan

September 8:

I thought of blogging about him after reading "Catholic education" by Michael Tan (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9 June 2006):
We had a great library, with an even greater librarian, Reynaldo Alejandro, who eventually left for New York but still comes home regularly and is known for his wonderful books about the Philippines. The priests fully supported him in developing an excellent library, without censorship. Much of my curiosity about the world, which I try to share through this column, was nurtured in Mr. Alejandro’s library.
Some called him Ronnie, others Ronois. Nancy Reyes-Lumen remembers how she came to work with him in "‘Ronois’ and The Adobo Book" (Business Mirror, 13 August 2009):
When a book writer dies, he isn’t really dead. Books live forever, and so do their authors. Ronnie Alejandro left us 38 books and two works in progress. Now we know why he was always in a hurry to finish a book. Time is fleeting but words are permanent.
It seems he was in a hurry until the end, and even prepared his own "In Memoriam" card. Some of the tributes on the card are shared on Grupo 58 Memories:
Nelson Navarro
Ronnie is the compleat librarian who collects and collects but cannot seem to throw away anything. What he treasures most of all are memories of good times and good friends, of which he must have a world record. Everyone loves Ronnie and he knows it deep in his heart.
Nonon Padilla
Ronnie Alejandro has been a friend from way back when I was a high school student at the Ateneo, and he was a librarian at the Ateneo High school...

He was born with hysterical energy. Had he not gone to the US of A as an immigrant to work at the New York Public Library, he would have worked and whipped his arms and limbs to become the Pinoy Martha Graham...

He did hard labor as a lonely librarian but continued his Annie Batumbakal persona on the side, in Manhattan. There he directed the Philippine Dance company in New York City, galvanizing the Pinoys in the asphalt jungle to take pride in ethnic differentiation and cultural assertion...
I think it's amazing that even though he was not a librarian for very long, the fact that at least two individuals have fond memories of him as a school librarian indicates that he was more than just a keeper of the books, but a librarian who contributed to the development of the students who used the books.

Thanks to Eloisa Borah for the heads up.


PRC is Allowing Non-BLIS, Non-MLIS to Take Exam?

ng try ako apply dito sa PRC in my place last july , eventough i knew already that non BLIS can no longer take the exam...I just submited all the requirements together with other docs.Tinangap nila application ko pero FOR THE BOARD pa nga lang...i hope, i just really hope pwede pa...but i didnt expect that PRC didnt knew about it.zipped nalang mouth ko..

That's a comment left on "Non-BLIS, Non-MLIS Can't Take Exam — PRC." The law (R.A. 9246) is clear, only graduates with degrees in library and information science, whether bachelor’s (BLIS) or master’s (MLIS), should be taking the exam this November 2009. The recent PRC legal opinion on the request to extend the deadline affirms this. It seems, however, that a back door is still open.

IF it is still open, then those who missed passing through the front door have another chance. But I would suggest that these graduates also work on getting their BLIS or MLIS. It would be interesting to find out if their respective schools will be willing to shoulder the tuition of those who were accepted into their programs even though the administrators were aware that any graduates would be unable to take the board exam. I also hope there are no more prospective librarians currently enrolled in non-BLIS and non-MLIS programs.


Librarian Buttons and Shirt

I just thought I'd share some of the library stuff I've received in the past few years. There's the "Love Your Librarian" button, which I got from the Office Movers booth at SLA 2005, and UPLSAA's "100 Percent Pinoy Librarian" button, which Elvie Lapuz gave me the last time I was in Manila. Both are now permanently pinned to my cap. And then there's the "Librarians Rock" shirt, which I was given at the Plunkett Research booth at SLA 2009, which I still haven't blogged here.

Why did I feel the need to post this? Well, aside from hoping some of my readers turn green with envy (LOL!), I thought it would be another way of answering a recent comment on one of my photos in Facebook: "your being a librarian is by chance or by choice?kasi parang di yun ang choice mo eh.. [it seems it wasn't your choice.]" This was my initial reply: "I am a librarian by choice and proud to be one."


Sabayang Bigkas: Buntong-hibik ng Anakpawis

I first thought of posting this poem a few years ago because of a wrongly remembered first line, which I thought was "Pinag-aaralan na naman nila kami" (They're studying us again), an appropriate reminder for PhD students like me and other researchers that conducting research involving real people is very different from working with test tubes and mice.

The actual first line is a bit different, evoking both academic and colloquial readings. But the fact that the text is laid out on the page in the shape of a microscope in Albert Alejo's Sanayan Lang ang Pagpatay (1993) suggests that what I remembered was not too far off the mark. I cannot, unfortunately, reproduce the poem's format in this blog.

Anyway, I've been getting requests for pieces that can be used in group oratorical contests (or timpalak sabayang bigkas, in Tagalog) usually held during Buwan ng Wika, so here's a poem whose title is difficult to translate literally, but may be understood as the "complaint of the masses."

Buntong-hibik ng Anakpawis
Albert E. Alejo, SJ

Pinag-uusapan na naman nila kami.
Pinagpupulungan. Pinapupurihan. Pinagpapasyahan.
Pinag-aaralan. Pinagkakakitaan. Pinararangalan.
Inuunawa. Iniluluha. Iniluluwa.
Ipinipinta. Ikinakanta. Pinakakasta.
Isinusulat. Iniuulat. Pinagbubulatlat.
Itinutula. Idinudula. Pinatitihaya.
Ibinabalita. Binabata. Pinagbababatuta.
Ginagabayan. Binabagayan. Binabayagan.
Inaaliw. Ginigiliw. Binabaliw.
Pinag-aalayan ng sanlaksang pananaliksik.
Pinaglalakuan ng sanrekwang mga gimik.
Pinangangakuan. Pinaaasam. Pinaghihintay.
Pinaaasa. Pinag-aalsa.
Pag-iisipan na naman nila kami.

Tambakan ng pinagsawaang mga gamit.
Sanayan ng pana-panahong pagpapakabait.
Sangkalan ng kung anu-anong mga project.
Basurahan ng pulang aklat, banal na aklat, lihim na aklat.

Ideolohiya. Liturhiya. Propaganda.
Artista. Aktibista. Rekrutista.
Armalayt. Chokolait. Johnny Midnight.
Propesor. Tomador. Kolektor.
Pusher. Holdaper. Illegal logger.
Lay-off. Jaywalk. Cut throat.
Saudi. IUD. White Slavery.
Gala. Opera. Gonorrhea.
Fertilizer. Bulldozer. Land grabber.
Puting bakod. Parada sa airport. Ahas at gamot.
Eskirol. Suhol. Ataul.
Demolisyon. Demonstrasyon. Rebolusyon.
Maghalal. Magdasal. Magsalsal.
Ave Maria. Makibaka. Potang-ina!
Pinagtutulung-tulungan lang kami nila.

Mga mapagpaimbabaw.

At Ikaw,

Isa ka pa rin ba sa kanila?

The Tagalog used is not only difficult to pronounce, it is also not easily understood. Some terms will not not be found in dictionaries or the Internet, and may require students to consult a history book or someone who lived in Manila during the 70s and 80s.

The speech is reproduced here, with the author's permission, so that it may be used by students. The speech, however, may not be reproduced, whether in print or online, without the author's consent.


Aquino, Corazon C., 1933-2009

Click on the covers to see the larger versions and read the stories.

"How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?" (from "Seasons of Love")

Cory Aquino was on the cover of Time magazine more than any other President of the Philippines—or any Filipino, for that matter—and was on the covers of other magazines as well. But editors put her on their covers not because her picture would sell magazines. Perhaps the tributes that are now being printed and aired around the world will be a better measure of this woman who is quite possibly the greatest Filipina who ever lived:
ABS-CBN - 'People Power' icon Cory Aquino dies (w/ video)
Al Jazeera - Ex-Philippine president Aquino dies (w/ video)
BBC - Philippines ex-leader Aquino dies (w/ video)
China View - Former Philippine president Corazon Aquino passes away
Chosun IIbo (Korea) - Corazon Aquino, Former Philippine President, Dies
CNN - Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino dead at 76 (w/ video)
GMA - Former President Corazon Aquino, people power icon, passes away (w/ video)
Guardian (UK) - Ex-Philippines president Corazon Aquino dies
Los Angeles Times - Corazon Aquino dies at 76; restored democracy to the Philippines
Manila Bulletin - Goodbye, Tita Cory
New York Times - Corazon Aquino, Ex-Leader of Philippines, Is Dead
Philippine Daily Inquirer - Cory Aquino dies
Philippine Star - Former Philippine President Cory Aquino dead at 76
San Francisco Chronicle - From housewife to "people power," Aquino kept the faith
Time - People Power's Philippine Saint: Corazon Aquino, 1933-2009
Toronto Star - Corazon Aquino, 76: Former president of Philippines
Wall Street Journal - Cory Aquino, Who Led Revolt in Manila, Dies at 76
Washington Post - 'People Power' Leader Toppled Philippine Dictator


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