Friday, August 28, 2009
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Some discussion please: What lesson(s) can be drawn from Paragraph 8 concerning the gap in generations, experience, etc.? Both ACRL-NY and LACUNY are planning Fall symposiums to address this issue. Watch this space for more information or Google for exact details.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
NY Librarians Meetup
Monday, August 17, 2009
There is not much to crow about our library. But this corner of the school is a mute witness to the thousands of students who began dreaming about their future lives in some hallowed nook of this library.
It is however still a long upward struggle for our profession to be financially rewarding in the Philippines and I would suppose in any less developed country. With the economy of scarcity as a backdrop, librarians in the country had learned to be persevering and make do with what they are paid not out of meekness but because of the realization that in the field of education, idealism is more valuable than materialism. Very intellectual but disconcerting nevertheless.
In some top of the line schools where fees are beyond the reach of ordinary working Filipinos, librarians occupy the equivalent of middle echelon management positions with better pay than teachers. Ensconced in their air conditioned libraries and surrounded by top of the line computers with internet access faster than the speed of light, our modern day librarians are in another plane where warmth human interaction is missing. Somehow the romance of actually handling collections and the smell of leather bound books are no longer part of these high-end libraries.
For most of us in the Philippines, we manage libraries the traditional way; manually and with tender loving care. In the Philippines, advance technology is largely expensive to acquire and subsequently maintain. Talk of licensing and cost of hardware. To put everything in perspective, a high school student in our school, a private provincial institution, will annually pay between Pesos: 10,600.00 to 12,000.00 (US$220.00 to US$250.00) in total school fees. On average, a teacher or even a librarian will gross about Pesos: 11,000.00 a month or around US$230.00. The costs to do things manually even if inefficiently still make better economic sense than computerizing the library system or the whole school system for that matter. However, with the advent of less expensive hardware and free softwares, we are moving towards modernization in our own careful and well-planned phases.
The top tier high schools in the Philippines will cost anywhere from Pesos: 100,000.00 to 120,000.00 annually or about US$2,100.00 to US$2,500.00. The chief librarians at these schools earn about Pesos: 50,000.00 a month or about US$1,050.00; the same pay scale at large corporations particularly law firms with extensive library collections. These schools are mostly catholic schools catering to the educational needs of wealthy families and located in Metro Manila. Public schools cost practically nothing but they are very crowded with lower standards. Public librarians should be grossing about Pesos: 11,000.00 (US$224.00) a month but there is now a law that will increase the pay scale of the teachers and of course public school librarians to Pesos: 15,000.00 (US$312.00) a month in the next four years. Again, as a perspective, the minimum wage in the country is about Pesos: 375.00 or less than US$8.00 daily. At this level of family income, education for the children will be at best up to the elementary grades.
But we are sturdy people who put premium on education. The popularity of Filipinos as educated workers in foreign countries is a testament to our latent talents as a people. With minimal encouragement, we can excel even in the world stage. But this is altogether another interesting topic.
In our country, libraries are where you can still look directly into the eyes of your clients and instinctively know part of their personalities by the kind of books they read. Libraries are where books are stored in open shelves and not in some hard discs. Where titles are handwritten in rectangular index cards. Where library cards are examined not swiped. Where voices are kept low out of respect for the sanctity of the place and not because those are the rules.
Librarians are a respected lot in our country but the type that are easily forgotten. They work tirelessly and unobtrusively for their fulfillment is the perfection of their craft and in making their libraries useful to their public. Oh! I love to be a librarian!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Organizer, Stephanie L. Gross was warm, welcoming and provided group members with an abundance of information relating to library and information services. For example, she spoke about various library organizations, associations and clubs like ALA, SLA, The New York Library Club, Inc. and Beta Phi Mu. Additionally, Stephanie spoke about the importance of library advocacy, developments in information technology, and online job networking sites like LinkedIn.Part II of the NY Librarians August Meetup at Cosi provided group members with an excellent and unique networking experience. It was a pleasure meeting with and learning about people from all different backgrounds in the field of librarianship.
Ardleapat, Member NYLM
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Our group visited many areas, among them Receiving, Art Books, and Rare Books. We spoke with staff, including Fred Bass, the president and son of the original owner (see photo above). He readily admits the selling of books is hard work. The acquisition of the Espresso Book Machine by a downtown bookstore underscores challenges that consumers, bookstores, libraries, and publishers face today.
Christina Foxley, our cohost, outlined the store’s history and recent changes in its interior and operations. These include the closing of the annex, elimination of a check-in area, and advent of a successful events program. We learned about the Strand’s creation of libraries for movie sets and individuals, once frowned-upon practice of selling review copies, “dollar” bins, and ability to keep prices low. Because of their unusual affordability, photo books from the store are truly coveted items. The store retains staff with specialized knowledge; in Art Books, for instance, salespeople have a background in art.
Many of us were unaware the Strand works extensively with libraries. John Banister, our other cohost, is Libraries Manager, and distributed material on services. The store's review copies are especially popular among librarians. Graduate students enrolled in library and information science programs should note the Strand offers academic internships with stipends.
Since the Strand needs to restrict the size of visiting groups, New York Librarians Meetup Group hopes to schedule another tour to accommodate members’ enthusiastic interest in this iconic, vital institution. We thank everyone there for their generosity in hosting this event.
Photograph is used with permission of the Strand Book Store.