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How Do You Build a Library?

Two contrasting articles are in today's Manila Bulletin (26 September 2007): "Book value" by Ronald Lim and "Building libraries by the book," whose lack of a credited author indicates that it's a press release.

The first article is about how the group led by Troy Lacsamana encourages communities to develop their own libraries:
"Our formula for building libraries is that we want our partners to be the one to bring it up. We want the initiative to come from them," says Lacsamana. "The partners are the ones volunteering their people for the library. That way, the volunteers really want to be part of the project and the barangay chairmans support the project. The only thing we ask from people who want us to set up a library for them is for them to have the commitment and passion for our advocacy."
The second is about how lucky a public school is that a corporate foundation deigned to give them books:
In most public schools, it is common for four students to share one textbook while other schools do not have the benefit of existing libraries. Thus, in 1999, National Book Store, with Anvil Publishing Inc. and the Reading Association of the Philippines (RAP), started the Buklat-Aklat Mobile Library project to provide impoverished public school children (ages 5 to 12) access to books. The project led to the birth of the National Bookstore Foundation Inc. in 2005, which continues to seek ways to address the urgent problem of illiteracy in the country.
I have nothing against corporate foundations donating books, but I do have a problem when press releases suggest that all that's needed to start and sustain libraries are books. It is not that simple, and that's why the approach espoused by Lacsamana in the first article must be examined—at the very least—by those who want to build community libraries.

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