Emerging Philippine Public Libraries through Library
Creative Outdoor Spaces
By Maria Vida C. Aparicio
The annual National Conference of Public Librarians 2017, organized by the National Library of the Philippines, with the theme, “The Emerging Libraries: Connect, Collaborate, & Build Strong Communities,” was held at the Apo View Hotel last March 14-17, 2017 bringing together public librarians across the Philippine Archipelago at Davao City, Philippines. The 350-strong participants were all enthusiastic in improving their skills and expanding their network.
One of the parallel sessions focused on modern library programs, projects, and services. Ms. Neriza Oraba, a City Librarian of Sentro ng Karunungan Library, Tondo, Manila, Philippines was one of the sharers and also a Filipino innovator of the INELI-ASEAN Project. She imparted her library experience on “Early Literacy Skills through Creative Outdoor Spaces.”
Quoting Ms. Araba:
“We may not be as big or as popular as those pioneer public libraries in Metro Manila, but we continue to innovate and reach those people who need the library especially the children and develop programs and services appropriate for them”
Ms. Oraba was able to explore the possibilities and innovate to bring out the library to the community through creative outdoor spaces for the depressed and slum areas of Tondo. The playing ground was converted to informal literacy spaces for the young children. The outreach program promoted library children’s activities through their outreach activities, such as, storytelling, puppet shows, arts and crafts coloring activities, and balik-eskwela program. Among the benefits to children of this outreach program includes fine motor development, creativity stimulation, memory enhancement, value formation, and listening skills improvement at an early stage.
A salute to a colleague and Filipino library innovator for sharing her library program that will build strong communities that can be cascaded to other public libraries not only in the Philippines but in the ASEAN region as well.