Category Archives: Books and reading

Lim Advises Children to Read Books

News about libraries and reading in national newspapers are rare in our country. Seldom we find news mentioning our beloved profession and indirectly our importance in the achievement of a “reading culture”. Thus, it is a welcome news that from time to time our elected local officials devoted some of their time in the promotion of public library services. Hopefully in the near future, concrete policy measures about public library services will be undertaken and a sustainable library program will be supported enthusiastically by our local governments.

Daily Tribune in the metro section and penned by Pat C. Santos bannered “Lim advises children to stay away from drugs by reading books“.

In his desire to encourage children to appreciate reading, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim will open tomorrow, Feb. 19, the city-owned library in Pandacan and another in Bacood, Sta. Mesa on Feb. 25.

The libraries are stocked with books that were donated by individuals and organizations.

Lim said he expects to open more libraries in the other districts of the city.

“We want to provide children with another form of entertainment while educating them through reading instead of wasting their time in worthless ventures like begging, or worse, even drugs,” the mayor told the department heads during the regular Monday DEHECHO meeting.

The mayor stressed the importance of reading and literacy, especially among the elementary and high school students, to increase their chances of improving their lives when they grow older.

He directed the Office of City Librarian chief, Maria Gracia Gargantiel, to conceptualize a program to encourage children to read and go to the libraries this summer for their full enjoyment and optimum use of their vacation.

He met recently with officials of M/V Doulos led by Felipe Bouchat, the only floating library in the world which is committed to bring new books and its crew to outreach missions in the poorest communities of Tondo, particularly Parola and the Baseco Compound at Port Area.

Doulos seeks to address the growing need to enhance the educational system so that students can cope with modern technology while enriching their reading comprehension skills.

Lim said children who can read well are able to grow up as skilled professionals and responsible citizens in the future.

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 (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.