Books and Schools : Partners in Education

The paper delivered by Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan entitled “Books and Schools : Partners in Education” during the Books Across Southeast Asia conference held last August 28, 2007 at the Bayview Park Hotel, Manila was available online at libro.ph (Thank you for uploading it).

Her very informative paper from “a psychologist, an educator, and a parent” point of view of books and reading is a very welcome perspectives. The quote below keeps me thinking:

“Love for reading begins at a very young age. Once children learn to love reading, a lifelong habit is established. Cullinan (1992) talks about the success cycle of reading. The more children read (practice), the better they read (proficiency). The better they read, the more they enjoy reading (pleasure), making them want to read more (back to practice). Reading leads to increased vocabulary and facility with words and expression. Wide readers are better speakers, writers and listeners in other words better communicators”.

Just wondering if Filipino librarians still find time to read good books outside our almost routine library task of acquiring new library materials, cataloging it, indexing articles, manning the circulation services, planning library promotion activities, attending meetings (e.g. Academic Council, Faculty, Department, Association, etc.), supervising staff, preparing budgets & reports, troubleshooting IT infrastructure and other myriad task we deal on a daily basis. Methinks, we normally read a lot of book titles daily but never bothered to read or skim/scan the content especially during cataloging if CIP or Library of Congress bibliographic information is available for copy cataloging. I even don’t know if we devote “enough time” to learn about emerging technologies that can be of good use in accomplishing our jobs in the near future.

Equally disturbing fact cited in Dr. Licuanan paper,

“nationwide survey of Filipino youth by McCann Erickson (Philippine Business Magazine, 2001) reported that during free time, 88% watch TV, 73% listen to the radio, 50% read books, 37% use the internet and 12% use cell phones”.

Our youth of today spend more time watching TV, listening to radio than reading books. Although 50% is still high then but with the proliferation of internet cafe and fancier cellphone models capable of accessing the net, I wonder if 2007 figures have already eroded this lead. See also Hermie de Leon survey result of the future of Philippine media used as take-off point of Ma’am Nera lecture during the MIBF forum.

Maybe Pulse Asia or SWS would care to do a more detailed survey of reading habits of Filipinos. National Bookstore the other new bookstore chain in the country plus some local publishers could underwrite the cost of doing this timely survey. Every educational institution/stakeholder may find the result instructive in crafting timely intervention to arrest the continuing decline of our educational competitiveness and the general reading competency of our youth.

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