In promoting the effective use of educational technologies and innovative information services among libraries, the MHAM medical librarian participated the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) National Congress last November 21 to 24, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center, SM City Bacolod, Bacolod City.
MHAM medical librarian, Reya Marisse C. Abing, was among the two thousand librarians nationwide who attended the national congress participated mostly from the Philippines and other Asian countries with its theme, “Libraries Take Action: Providing Access and Opportunity for All”.
A Bachelor of Library and Information Science graduate and is currently taking up a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science, this 24-year old licensed librarian delightedly shared that the PLAI National Congress 2017 was an eye opener to all librarians to keep updated with the new trends, practices and innovative information services among libraries and to be able to learn on how to address the issues concerning the profession and generate a great interest on research.
“The congress was my stepping stone to let the general public grasps the importance of libraries as the gateway to knowledge development through the implementation of information literacy by providing wide access on information, identifying strategies that can link the library to the community and in strengthening the role of librarians in cultural preservation”, said Abing in an interview.
In partnership with the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) through the National Committee on Libraries and Information Services (NCLIS) and the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), the said congress was pursued in order to address the important issues being tackled specifically in achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
The aforementioned agenda conveys the vision to provide public access to information in order to provide informed decisions to the great masses that can improve lives through these libraries. In addition, communities that have access to timely and relevant information for all are better positioned to eradicate poverty and inequality, improve agriculture, provide quality education and support people’s health, culture, research and innovation.
“As part of the library department and community of MHAM College of Medicine, we can create programs that could enhance the information literacy of the society through seminars, workshops, storytelling and book talks and to engage ourselves in the community outreach programs of the institution and to take part of the intensive research works of students and faculty”, she added.
Among the addressed issues during the PLAI national congress includes the concerns on how to make the library a convenient place to hearing impaired learners by the use of Ren-Py technology which is a visual novel engine platform to create Filipino Sign Language (FSL) thesaurus that can be accessible to its users through different computer devices and how to make and design the library in order to become a maker space community to its users.
Moreover, the challenges to make the librarians become the agent of knowledge development with the influence to change with the power of the librarians in managing the damage libraries cause by the super typhoon Yolanda were also given emphasis aside from reaching out to the poor communities and indigenous people’s group by providing development support and advocacy to children. Thus, empowering the libraries through library consortiums is indeed a great challenge among academic institutions including MHAM.
Meanwhile, Abing also participated the 2nd Central Visayas Higher Education Institution (HEI)s Conference held at the Bayfront Hotel, Cebu City last November 27 to 28, 2017 with its theme, “Rising to the Challenge in Academic Librarianship”. Participated by more than sixty librarians in the region in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office VII, the conference was organized by the Cebu Librarians Association, Inc. in which Abing is an active member.
Driven by her passion and dedication to enhance her educational opportunity as a librarian, she reiterated that the conference was a venue to know the solutions to the different issues and challenges of academic librarianship. For her, seminars can create a good camaraderie among peers and can build connections in the different suppliers and aggregators that could enhance the library’s collections, facilities and services aside from fun-filled experiences.
“The rising challenges in academic librarianship are recruitment, education and retention of libraries. Every year the rate of students who enrolled in Library and Information Science becomes lesser while many librarians were retirees already. On the other hand, there are also Library Sciences graduates who doesn’t pursue the Master’s Degree Program or won’t be able to finish it. Furthermore, the impact of information technology on library services, creation, control and preservation of digital resources and supports the new users are among the many challenges in these digital times. As a licensed librarian, I encourage myself to finish my Master’s Degree Program despite the different obstacles along the way. This is not just for my career but for the institution that I am working particularly for the accreditation purposes and good standing. I also invigorate myself to be active in the different workshops on information technology for more awareness on the different trends and latest updates. The library department of MHAM will always make sure to have a good patron communication to invite more users that will utilize the library’s collection and services” she concluded.
In pursuit of engaging into new opportunities for librarians to leverage their intellectual capital, the integral role of every librarian is extremely important towards information literacy, digital responsibility and cultural preservation. In the aid of learning, an effective school librarian is an intrinsic part of the academic journey aside from encouraging lifelong reading.
With the future most promising, the state-of-the-art library facilities to be housed at the sixth floor of the new building in Banawa, Cebu City will cater the needs of the MHAM students for a classy and conducive place of learning. (Ana Liza Abao)