Thursday, September 11, 2014

Filipino librarians, advocacy and community involvement

These are the sort of things that would make me go back to doing this.

I had this quick chat with a good friend over on FB on another matter and our conversation digressed to how very few librarians are advocating for certain ideals, literacy for one, and as with conversations like this, one thing led to another.

And then I thought, there is definitely no shortage of training opportunities for Filipino librarians to enrich their skills and so I wonder why they shirk away from engaging in the larger community. I won't even go into that because certainly there would be excuses, ranging from the personal to the professional, reasons for not engaging. Sabi nga kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahilan.

But the reality is a lot of things in this world will go undone without volunteers, without advocates, without people engaging with the community for free. Personally, I don't have to look far because within the community we belong to, if we didn't give our time to the local sporting clubs, then there would be no clubs in the first place. If we didn't go out of our way to support migrants and international students, then they'd find it difficult to adjust to life here.

And the same goes for librarianship. Long have we moaned about how Philippine society in general has looked down on our profession and how we are struggling to uplift our image and yet failed to look at the things we have done for the profession over time. 

I have been away from the Philippines for 8 years  and yet I see the same names of colleagues I have worked with years ago still going at it serving the profession even past their retirement. And I can also "hear" the distant moaning and groaning of the faceless others who under their breath mumble, "sila na naman!". They're not getting any younger you know, count me in on that, and someone has to pick up the slack they will be leaving.

Kung hindi kayo, sino? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?  

Look at engaging with the professional community and joining advocacy groups as a way of giving back and saying thank you to the librarians who came before you. Because if it weren't for their active involvement, you wouldn't be reaping the benefits of what they have planted.

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