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Marianita D. Dablio — Filipino Librarian

Congratulations to Dr. Marianita D. Dablio for her Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of the Philippines Library Science Alumni Association (UPLSAA)!

Below is the response she delivered at the awarding ceremony.

Marianita D. Dablio
2 July 2016

Thank you, UPLSAA 2015-2016, for this Distinguished Alumna Award.

It is with great humility that I receive this award in behalf of the librarians, library staff, and LIS faculty with whom I have worked at the Mindanao State University and other institutions in Mindanao. I would like to thank the faculty of the Institute, now School, of Library and Information Studies, who impressed on me the solid groundings of a good librarian: Prof. Rosa Vallejo, Dr. Ursula Picache, Prof. Filomena Tann, Prof. Namnama Hidalgo, and Prof. Herminia Santos.

How did I become a Librarian? My “romance” with the field must have started when I worked as a student assistant at the Mindanao State University Library, while pursuing a degree in BS Elementary Education. A long, long overdue expression of gratitude goes to two Institute alumni, Benifredo Sta. Maria and Leticia Espinas Aquino, who paved the way in my becoming a librarian. How can I ever forget the “imposing” voices of these two figures, who persistently told us what a library should be? Sir Benny and Ma’am Letty insisted that I should study in what was then the UP Institute of Library Science.

I would like to believe that as SLIS alumni, we have to spread our wings and leave a lasting imprint. I ventured to start the MSU Department of Library Science (now Department of Library and Information Science) as a one-woman department. Now the department has three full-time faculty members who are at the forefront of producing quality LIS professionals in Mindanao. It is worth noting the department has developed a number of Muslim and Christian librarians in the region, and in the country, as well.

Years of library work have earned me a number of monickers: “the walking encyclopedia,” “the walking dictionary,” and “Dabliography.” I realized that this image has highlighted our vital role in sourcing, resourcing, and outsourcing information for our various publics. It is our knack for looking for alternative sources of information that have connected us to our users.

Our profession is reaching a critical turn. It has reached a point where at the service delivery, “I don’t know” is not possible as a reply anymore. I always remind my students that “ewan” is not an acceptable option in dealing with our patrons. Colleagues tell us what happens when the librarian says “ambot” (meaning “ewan” or I don’t know). Perhaps it is is time to develop our reference course as an engaging moment where our students can apply their psychology, sociology, and even politics of the information interaction. With all the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there is still no substitute for face-to-face communication.

One of the most unforgettable lessons of being a teacher is how students and library practitioners are “teaching” me instead of the other way around. One never misses to listen to their endless stories of “no support,” “walang budget,” “walang paki si Boss,” and maraming “nega” sa buhay librarian. The realities of the field resound that libraries are indeed resource-intensive institutions. Perhaps we can train them how to manage libraries amidst resource constraints. Indeed the challenge is how to teach our students to see beyond the box.

With so much information around us, I have advocated the responsive and responsible use of library and information sources. We have to develop strategies on how our library professionals can respond to the changes, yet be ethically responsible for the use of such resources. Let us develop our information literacy sessions—where our students are provided opportunities to relearn, retool, and rethink—to enable them to rediscover the world from inside out.

Indeed, this award is a very prestigious one. With UP’s SLIS taking the lead in LIS education, we its alumni are challenged to reflect on what can do for those at the peripheries. UP’s SLIS has been a guiding light in our pursuit for quality education in Mindanao. While we see the need for increasing the number of Muslim and Christian library professionals, we look forward to encouraging more of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao to become librarians. Perhaps only then can we claim that Filipino librarians are multicultural. The UPLSAA has been the beacon for our initiatives.

A librarian’s work is never done, even after retirement. I retired three years ago, but my retirement felt more like a back subject. I have returned to the readings and many other things I wanted to do before I retired. I also call this phase in my life as “in progress.” I have not finished sending my expression of gratitude to the many students I have interacted with, and to the colleagues who supported me all the way.

My response has been full of “we,” “us,” and “our” because in every aspect, I was not doing the job solo. So I share this award with my former administrators who, while setting high expectations, had confidence in my ability to deliver. I would also like to thank the many individuals who shared the true meaning of resourcefulness.

I would like to thank my family, who have been there ALWAYS, through thick and thin.

For the greatnesS of God’s love in his mercy and compassion.

For all of us, MAGANDANG BUHAY!

Reproduced with the author's permission.


Librarians' Licensure Examination 2016: Results

Congratulations to the new librarians!

The passing rate for this year's Librarians' Licensure Examination (LLE) is 65 percent (738 out of 1,140), which is the highest-recorded passing rate since librarians began taking the LLE in 1993, and certainly higher than the 2015 passing rate of 47 percent.

The most important question is "Why?" Was the exam easier? Or are graduates getting better? It's hard to say for sure, but comparing the passing rates of the 2016 first timers (80 percent, or 622 of 780) and the 2015 first timers (70 percent, or 273 of 388), as well as the passing rates of the 2016 repeaters (32 percent, or 116 of 360) and the 2015 repeaters (22 percent, or 76 of 354), it's clear that the percentage of first timers and repeaters who passed the exam this year is consistently greater than the percentage of those who passed the exam last year.

While the change in exam schedule (i.e., from April last year to September this year) gave last year's graduates more time to study for this year's exam, the increase in passing rate for repeaters from 22 percent last year to 32 percent this year suggests that the 2016 exam was easier. There is a need to examine all previous passing rates for repeaters, but the passing rates for repeaters in 2013 and 2014 (22 percent and 15 percent, respectively) support my thesis that this year's exam was easier.

"Easier" in what sense? From what I've learned from previous and current members of the Board for Librarians, greater efforts have been exerted to ensure that test questions are easier to comprehend (though not necessarily making them easier to answer). From my own experience taking the exam in 2004, LLE questions can be rather difficult to comprehend, and examinees just have to make a guess regarding the answers to many questions. This can be rather disconcerting, especially to repeaters.

Anyway, while the University of the Philippines had a 100 percent passing rate (50 out of 50) and 4 of its examinees made it to the top 11, I think it's remarkable that 4 of the top scorers were from provincial schools, namely Holy Cross of Davao College, Baliuag University, University of Saint Louis-Tuguegarao, and Bicol College; with University of Santo Tomas taking the top spot, and examinees from University of the East and Philippine Normal University rounding out the list of topnotchers.

The list of the top scorers is reproduced below. The list of successful examinees may be downloaded from the official website of the Professional Regulation Commission.

Top 11


Outstanding Librarian 2016:
Rodolfo Y. Tarlit

Rodolfo Y. Tarlit

The Professional Regulation Commission conferred the Outstanding Professional Librarian of the Year Award on Rodolfo Y. Tarlit on 22 June 2016. The citation reads:
For having sustained his dedication, competence and integrity, as a Professional Librarian, contributed in raising the level of competence of Filipino Librarians and the emergence of Librarianship as a profession from obscurity to vibrancy; for having been an outstanding library educator, most preferred resource person, lecturer and trainer in information analysis and organization of library materials; for a body of library literature he wrote/presented/compiled/edited, such as conference, seminar and workshop papers and proceedings, newsletters, articles and inspirational messages; for his indefatigable leadership as University Librarian of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, President of the University of the Philippines Library Science Alumni Association (UPSLAA), Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians (PAARL), Inc., Philippine Association of Teachers of Library and Information Science (PATLS) and Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI); for having been recognized thru awards such as outstanding alumnus of the UPLSAA, Academic Librarian of the Year of PAARL, Professional Service Award of PATLS, Gabriel A. Bernardo Award, Severino I. Velasco Award, Service Award and Hall of Fame Award by PLAI, and Gawad Chancellor by the University of the Philippines-Diliman; and for his pioneering/trailblazing work as Convenor and Co-Chair of the National Committee on Resource Description and Access, which drafted the Policy and Guidelines on the Implementation of RDA in Philippine Libraries, as Chair of the National Committee that drafted the Guidelines on the Registration of Cultural Properties in Libraries, and as Member, Board of Trustees of the Martial Law Memorial Commission.

Thanks to Rene Manlangit for photo and to Elvira Lapuz for the citation.

Category: Librarians—Awardees


FO: Rizaliana Online

I was invited to talk about "Rizaliana Online" at the Philippine Historical Association's National Conference on Teaching the Rizal Course. I don't have time to share what I said, but I did promise to share the links to the sites I mentioned.

Disclaimer: The inclusion of a website in the list below does not mean that I fully endorse the site and that there are no problems with its content or usability =)

Possible Sources for the Rizal Course

TV5 search: "jose rizal"
e.g., History | #pogiproblems ni Dr. Jose P. Rizal Part (1/3)

ABS-CBN News search: "jose rizal"
e.g., ABS-CBN's Bayani - Jose Rizal: "Sa Aking Mga Kababata"

GMA News and Public Affairs search: "jose rizal"
e.g., Pluma: Si Rizal, ang dakilang manunulat

Rizal-Blumentritt Friendship
Virtual Travels of Rizal

e.g., Data papers: International Congress on Rizal (1961)

National Library of the Philippines: Digital Collections
Rizaliana: Manuscripts, Books and other Monographs
e.g., Noli Me Tangere (1887)

The United States and its Territories
e.g., El Filibusterismo (1900)

José Rizal, obras, en lenguas originales
e.g., Noli Me Tangere (1961) (pdf)

Internet Archive
e.g., Sucesos de las islas Filipinas (Morga, 1609),
Sucesos de las islas Filipinas (Rizal, 1890)

Biblioteca Digital Hispanica
e.g., Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (Retana, 1909)


Buwan ng Wika 2015

August is Buwan ng Wika (Language Month). This year's theme is "Filipino: Wika ng Pambansang Kaunlaran" (Filipino: Language of National Development). See the banner and calendar of activities below.

But perhaps the most interesting development—for me, anyway—is that Philippine Panorama has devoted most of its latest issue (2 August 2015) to a discussion of different aspects of the national language... in English! It's also interesting to note that while I've seen photos of the cover (see above) on social media, I haven't seen any links to the ePaper, PDF, or any of the articles. So, as a public service, here are the links to the articles:
Language for pleasure, not pressure (Editorial)
Why Filipino is "Filipino" by Virgilio Almario
What about Filipino? by Efren Abueg
New wave by Jacky Lynne A. Oiga
Don’t wince at the smell of rotten fish by AA Patawaran
Who says LIRA Stands for Literatura ni Rio Alma? by Vim Nadera

Click image for more information.

Click image to enlarge.


Top 5 Free Sources for Filipiniana Online (Books)

"Online research" is supposed to be what lazy students do. Scholars, meanwhile, are expected to travel to different libraries, archives, and museums to consult documents, photographs, and books. This, however, is not necessarily true anymore because more and more resources are becoming available online. In some cases, surfing the web is not only less expensive, but also more productive because researchers can examine texts more closely and are not limited by policies regarding physical access to the materials. Plus, if your university library is closed, but you just need to check one small detail, online research is the most convenient alternative.

The 5 websites enumerated below in alphabetical order are, in my opinion, the best free sources for Filipiniana online at this time. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and you'll have to search them all if you want to make sure that a particular title is really not available on any of them, but what's really good about these sites, is that unlike others that only reproduce the texts, you can see for yourself how the text originally appeared on the page, you can cite specific page numbers as if you had the book in front of you, and you can even download the entire book or certain pages (with one exception, which is indicated below).

If you have any suggestions, please send a message or leave a comment via Facebook.

Biblioteca Digital Hispanica (Hispanic Digital Library)
This site is, of course, in Spanish, so if you can't read Spanish, make sure you click on "Welcome" (other languages aside from English are also available) at the top-right corner of the page. Once you're looking at the book, you can download the entire book by clicking on the disk icon on the upper-left corner of the page, next to the book's title. Some of the books available are:
La música popular de Filipinas (Walls, 1892)
Archivo del bibliófilo filipino (Retana, 5 vols., 1895-1905)
Mga tala ng aking buhay at mga ulat ng Katipunan (de Jesus, 1932)

HathiTrust Digital Library
This website was very helpful when I was doing my PhD because it was the only one then that had such a huge collection of downloadable books on the Philippines. Note, however, that many titles are not accessible to all. You'll have to select "Full view only" to limit your search to the ones that are freely available. Also, if you see that a book is downloadable today, don't assume that it will be downloadable tomorrow. So it's probably best if you download a title when you see it. Some of the books I've downloaded in the past are:
The Philippine Islands (Blair and Robertson, 55 vols., 1903-1909)
A history of the Philippines (Barrows, 1905)
A short history of the Philippines (Jernegan, 1905)

Internet Archive
This site doesn't only host the Wayback Machine, it also provides access to a lot of books digitized by different libraries around the world. What's good about it is that you can actually turn the pages by clicking on the left or right pages. Some of the books available are:
Arte de la lengua tagala (Totanes, 1745)
The medicinal plants of the Philippines (Pardo de Tavera, 1901)
Census of the Philippine Islands (1918)
Vols. I | II | III | IV.1 | IV.2 | Appendix to Vol. I

UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004
This site is the only one that provides access to books that are still copyrighted. Not all books, however, are accessible, so you'll have to choose "public access books" to limit your search to the ones that are freely available. Note that books or pages cannot be downloaded, but page numbers are indicated at the end of every "page." Some of the books available are:
Unequal alliance: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Philippines (Broad, 1988)
Sugar and the origins of modern Philippine society
(Larkin, 1993)
Muslim rulers and rebels: everyday politics and armed separatism in the southern Philippines (McKenna, 1998)

The United States and its Territories: 1870-1925 (USIT)
I've called this site "the best and largest online collection of Filipiniana materials available for free" before, and in some ways, it is still the best because while its name suggests a larger geographic reach, it is the only one on this list that is almost exclusively made up of Filipiniana. And while most, if not all, its titles also appear in Hathitrust, some titles can only be downloaded on USIT. One big difficulty with this site, however, is that you cannot download entire books. You can only download one page at a time. Some of the books available are:
La imprenta en Filipinas: adiciones y observaciones á la Imprenta en Manila de D. J. T. Medina (Retana, 1899)
FO: Reports of the Governors General (1900-1915)
A review of the identifications of the species described in Blanco's Flora de Filipinas (Merrill, 1905)

Other sites you can check are: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, Digital Public Library of America, Google Books, and Project Gutenberg.


Lourdes T. David — Filipino Librarian

Lourdes T. David (center),
with Kate Obille (left), Dean of UP SLIS,
and Grace Tabiendo, President of UPLSAA

Congratulations to Mrs. Lourdes T. David for her Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of the Philippines Library Science Alumni Association (UPLSAA)!

Mrs. David, currently a member of PRC's Board for Librarians, was my predecessor at the Rizal Library. She encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. while I was still "young" (I was relatively younger then LOL). A few months before I defended my dissertation, the job ad came out, and one of the qualifications indicated was "Ph.D. preferred" =)

Anyway, below are the response she delivered, as well as photos of the plaque, the souvenir program, and the citation in the program.

Lourdes T. David
4 July 2015

Thank you UPLSAA Executive Board 2014-2015 for this Distinguished Alumna Award.

I humbly receive this award on behalf of all librarians and library staff that I have worked with from the time of Ms. Marina Dayrit, when I first worked in the UP Diliman Main Library, and the librarians of UP Los Banos, who inspired me to become a librarian. I also thank the faculty of the then Institute of Library Science, now School of Library and Information Studies, for imparting to me all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of a good librarian. Allow me to also thank three people who played very important roles in molding me: Prof. Rosa M. Vallejo, Prof. Filomena Tann, and Prof. Namnama Hidalgo.

Now let me tell you a story about how I became a librarian. My bachelor's degree is in Food Technology. When I graduated in 1965, I wanted to teach and study again, so I applied at the Department of Physical Sciences at UPLB, where I taught Chemistry and studied Food Science. While working on my thesis, I frequented the library to conduct my literature search. It was there that I observed and marvelled at how librarians were able to organize information, so that searching for the right information at the right time was possible. Little did I realize that this facination would lead me to the course Master of Library Science (MLS).

I never finished Food Science because I married early and left UPLB for Diliman, where I worked in the main library as a research assistant. The fascination with library work turned into a vision that someday I will become a librarian. In 1985, the vision was realized and I graduated with my MLS. I never regretted the decision. The passion that I had then for Library Science is with me until now. I love librarianship and I am proud to be a librarian. Thank you Prof. Leonor Gregorio and the UPLB Library staff for showing me the importance of librarians in the conduct of research.

I know that the image of librarians is not as high as that for faculty or other professionals, but we who are in the field know our importance. If mathematics is the queen of the sciences, library science is the mother of all disciplines. Without library science, now library and information science and other names akin to it, scientists, educators, students, and the whole of society will not be able to search for and access the right information at the right time, and will not be able to “stand on the shoulders of giants,” so to speak, when they conduct research because they will not be able to identify similar and related works done by others in their field.

Today computers have made text searching of digitized or born-digital materials possible. However, books and other materials that are not available in digitized format still have to be catalogued for easy access. In addition, librarians today teach and/or assist users in searching for information.

Our profession is a noble one and we have to increase our tribe so that more people will benefit from our knowledge and skill. In the last Librarians' Licensure Examination (LLE), the passing rate of new graduates was 70.36 per cent, while that of repeaters was only 21.47 per cent. Only 388 new graduates and 276 repeaters took the exam. The University of the Philippines had a 100 per cent passing rate, but only 25 graduates took the exam. These figures show the very small number of students enrolled in either the bachelor's degree or master's degree programs. We have to work together to increase enrollment and the passing rate. Our goal is an 85% passing rate.

The challenge is for a group or groups to develop modules that would enable the repeaters to understand the concepts of the field. In the past, library science has been taught in a recipe-style manner. With AACR2, for example, the number of spaces between words and the punctuations were always emphasized. The display format was so important to make the catalog look good through uniform entries. Today the display is no longer that important. The content is the key to access and librarians have become teachers, facilitators, managers, and what have you. Let us help the repeaters cope with these changes so that they can pass the LLE, become better librarians, and help improve the image of the librarian.

Click on the images to see the larger versions.

This award is very prestigious because UPSLIS is the leader in library education and librarianship in this country. The bottom line in quality of education is the quality of teaching and teachers. The UPSLIS must be a training institution for librarians, as well as teachers of Library Science in this country. UPLSAA is its alumni arm. UPLSAA must also play this role by helping practitioners develop further through contintuing education programs designed not only for its graduates but also for graduates of other library schools. UPLSAA in this regard must also be a leader in providing life-long learning skills to Filipino librarians.

Perhaps the quality that I possess that has inspired others and gained your vote to name me as the Distinguished Alumna Awardee for 2015 is my belief in people. I believe that all persons are capable of improving themselves through mentoring, and exposure to life-long learning programs. Such activities enable them to see themselves as capable of sharing ideas to colleagues, networking, and becoming more and more competent. Learning is from cradle to the grave.

All of us have this ability to believe in man’s capacity to learn and help in the education of our society. Let us stop remembering how some people look at our profession. That is past. We are what we are at the moment, and let us see ourselves as important members of society. As librarians we have travelled far and wide to either attend or deliver papers in conferences to share our ideas. We have helped students graduate. We have helped faculty with their research and more. Let us therefore share these abilities with other people and encourage them to become librarians.

I would also like to thank my children who have been very supportive of my endeavors. I travel a lot such that my grandaughter asked me one day if I were a spy. When I asked her why, she told me that I am always away on mission, so I must be a spy. Then she added, “It's alright Lola, you always give me gifts when you return.”

This response will not be complete without expressing my gratitude to God Almighty. He has always been my Great Wall, on whom I lean for strength, guidance, compassion, and love. The teaching to love one another is His greatest gift to humanity.

Thank you UPLSAA for this opportunity to share my thoughts about librarianship.

Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Reproduced with the author's permission.


Outstanding Librarian 2015:
Estrella Velasco Manuel

Estrella Velasco Manuel

The Professional Regulation Commission conferred the Outstanding Professional Librarian of the Year Award on Estrella Velasco Manuel on 18 June 2015. The citation reads:
As one of the pillars of Philippine Librarianship, a distinguished leader for more than sixty years, having served as a teacher-librarian since 1952, Dr. Estrella Velasco Manuel, was instrumental in the institution of the Library Science Program of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in 1978. Her exemplary dedication and service to the profession as library director of PUP and head of the Library Science Department for many years, author of the book on Philippine School Librarianship and other research publications, and participation in leading library organizations both international and local, such as the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the Orientalist Organization of Asian Librarians, the Philippine Librarians Association (where she served in the Board), the Philippine Association of Teachers of Library Science (PATLS) where she served as Vice President, then President in 1988-1989, and the Philippine Society on Curriculum Development as its former President, amply demonstrate to the highest degree of professionalism and leadership her outstanding contribution in the field of library science.

Thanks to Elvira Lapuz for providing the photo (taken by Joebert De Paz) and citation.

Category: Librarians—Awardees


The Philippines for Beginners: Book Recommendations

I was recently asked to make some book recommendations. The books, preferably available in bookstores and "easily digestible," were to answer the question: What should I read if I want to learn more about the Philippines and Philippine culture?

Smile, Cebu Pacific's inflight magazine, is probably one of the most widely-circulated (if not most widely-read) magazines in the Philippines AND I had long wondered why the few books featured in its pages were mostly foreign books, so even though my mom was in the hospital when the request came and I was quite busy at work, I set aside some time thinking about which books about the Philippines would be helpful for foreigners and Filipinos alike.

Below is the introduction I sent (which was not published huhu), as well as the full text of the article. You can download "The Philippines for Beginners," the entire June 2015 issue, and even previous issues on the Smile website.

These recommendations from book historian and librarian Dr Vernon R Totanes are sure to add to your knowledge of the nation

"What’s the best history book on the Philippines?" That's a question I usually get asked when people find out that my PhD dissertation was on the history of the Filipino history book. My answer is often another question—"What are you interested in?"—because there is no book that is suitable for all readers, and scholarly monographs or school textbooks are not necessarily appropriate for the needs of those who wish to know more about Filipinos and the Philippines.

1 Learn Tagalog — the fun way
The song "Bahay Kubo" enumerates the many vegetables grown in neighborhood gardens with one exception — ampalaya (bitter gourd). The omission inspired this children's book. The Tagalog and English texts are sure to prove useful for those aiming to study one or both languages.

2 Get to know a national hero
Jose Rizal, considered the national hero of the Philippines, was more man than Superman. This book uses humor and interesting trivia to (re)introduce Rizal as a mere mortal who loved women, was stingy with money and liked to eat tuyo for breakfast.

3 Be one with the locals
Ever wondered why Filipinos — most of whom aren't that tall — love basketball? Find the answer in this book, which the author has described as his love letter to the Philippines.

4 Appreciate the nation's cuisine
Learn how to cook lumpiang Shanghai, adobo and kinilaw and get better acquainted with the origins of Philippine cuisine with this cookbook by the duo behind Purple Yam. It features stunning photographs, too.



Book-lat: Reading in the Philippines

In case you missed it last week, the video of a TV5 documentary on reading in the Philippines is now available online. The documentary's title, "Book-lat," references the Tagalog word "buklat" (in English, to open like a book). The question it seeks to answer is "Kaya ba nating makalikha ng isang nasyon ng mga mambabasa?" (Can we create a nation of readers?) Watch the entire documentary below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Disclosure: I was interviewed for the show, and I appear as early as 1:11 in the first segment. Note that I am not identified as a librarian, but as a book historian. Also, the Rizal Library is featured prominently in the host's spiels and my interview, and several librarians and staff are clearly identifiable in the background and walking through the stacks.


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