Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remarks from the Incoming President

Prof. Arlante, PLAI President Mrs. Lily Echiverri, PRC Board for Librarian Chair Mrs. Corazon Nera, past presidents of PAARL, Friends, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you all for being here, If our number here is any indication, PAARL truly can boast of the most supportive and active membership.

As I stand before you here, I am reminded of a classic superhero movie line and please allow me to quote: “With great power comes great responsibility. This is my gift, my curse."

I am no Superhero, and I certainly do not consider being your new President of PAARL
as a curse. Indeed, it is a responsibility bestowed to me by each one of you here today.

I would like to borrow the themes from the lines I have just quoted: responsibility, gift and curse.

We talk of ourselves as an organization that collect, preserve and disseminate information, not only for these times, but for the ages.

We may not have libraries that approach the sophistication of the past library of Alexandria, or those of our counterparts in the Western hemisphere. But we are still librarians.

We are librarians that guards and preserve the platforms of knowledge that define our humanity and being.

We are the unseen hands behind the progress of academic teaching and advanced research.

As an organization of academic and research librarians, let us remind ourselves of our zealous commitment and flexibility to changes.
Our commitment belongs to the readers, researchers, to the students and to the teachers and professors.

Our commitment resides on the stalls of books and racks of materials for whoever finds them useful.

Our commitment encompasses in helping our fellow libraries and librarians to attain the excellence required by higher education.

But change is inevitable as it is permanent. The dawn of new technologies like computers, the Internet and network systems, has challenged our profession to a higher degree.

The adoption and use of these technology by our main clientele—the academic community—presupposes that we should be ahead of them in understanding and in being adept with its use and application.

This change, therefore, challenges us to go beyond what is expected of us.

This is our commitment. This is our responsibility.

Which leads me to the second theme —the gift.

This gift is not exclusive to me as your new President. Being part of a library is a priceless gift to anyone who perceive beyond the daily chores of a librarian.

We see students come and graduate in our colleges or universities. And we would still be there. We preserve the books that enlighten a reader of who and what he is, and where did he come from. In the end, that man would decide where he would go and
what should become of himself.

Our gift is to disseminate the knowledge that are slumbering on the racks and bookshelves.

Our gift is to make ourselves able to provide efficient and effective services to our current readers.

I do not consider being your new president as a curse. But I accepted this responsibility to dispel a curse that has crept in our society.

We may talk of poverty, corruption, or blame the Presidents of the Philippines, past and present for our misfortunes or hardships in life.

One hardship comes from illiteracy which is more than just not-knowing how to read and write, but also of not being enlightened by the gift of knowledge.

The real poverty here is in the poverty of the mind. Our part is to make our libraries a place conducive for learning. Our zeal is to create a community of learned professionals.

Our challenge is to bring back the readers to our libraries, which have been pulled away by the false glitters of technology.

We are here to fight that curse in our community.

As your new PAARL President, I am accepting this responsibility, this gift and this curse, if that’s how we should define leadership.

Watching a segment from CNN as they cover the happenings during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the US, the camera zoomed in one of the booths selling commemorative shirts. Printed on one of the shirts being sold are three words: LAUGH, DANCE, CHANGE, and I thought, those exactly are the words I would like to use to define PAARL, at least for this year. Laugh, because PAARL is known to conduct activities that not only provide for continuing professional education and development but also events that are fun filled and truly memorable. Dance, because PAARL has continued to sway to the different tunes of the times and able to step up with the demands of its members, Change, because PAARL has always been a front liner in introducing and discussing new concepts and ideas that should concern those in the library and information profession and that in a way should create changes in their lives as professionals.

Being at the helm of one of the most prestigious association of information professionals in the country will be never a stroll in the park, of this I am sure.

More than the sincere kudos and congratulations, good luck, I supposed is also deemed appropriate. With the many concerns and issues facing the profession, PAARL shall strive to find ways to be involved and be in the thick of things and to ensure that the welfare of members is being prioritized. We shall continue to encourage your active participation in the various activities of the association. Let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that the life of any association depends on how members are able to sustain and support its activities and efforts to keep it operational.

And talking of activities, our first activity for the year is in a way, a response to the continuing clamor by many members, for PAARL to provide a venue to discuss various concerns about library standards. Thus, in cooperation with the FEATI University Library and through the efforts of Ms. Aida Cruz and her staff, a public forum, coinciding with the celebration of the FEATI Library Week, will be held at the FEATI University Library on February 5. We are extending our invitation to those of you who have specific concerns about standards and its implications to your library. We have invited members of the Board for Librarians, Ms. Nera, Ms. Peralejo and Ms. Conti, who are the major proponents of the Proposed Standards for Philippine Libraries and Information. We also invited Dr. Teresita Hernandez and Ms. Fe Angela Verzosa to further enlighten us on the various concerns all relating to these standards.

A Seminar Workshop to be held on May, this time in the North since last year, PAARL went south in the Davao Seminar. With the theme: Librarians at Their Best: Envisioning and Realizing Multilevel and Progressive Readers Services. PAARL is considering holding it at the Lyceum of Appari and hopefully we can do a side trip to Batanes.

Other calendared activities include the following:

Public Forum on the “The Changing Economics of Print and Electronic Resources to coincide with the holding of the ABAP Book Fair at Mega Trade Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City on July 24, 2009

Lecture Forum on Digital Debates on Archives, Museums and Libraries during the Manila International Book Fair scheduled on September 17 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

International Conference on the theme: The Power of Convergence: Linking Libraries through Cutting-Technologies tentative venue is the NISMED Auditorium, University of the Philippines Diliman on October 21-23.

Lecture Forum to coincide with the National Book Week Celebration on the theme: Tradition in Transition: Blurring the Boundaries between Librarians and Support Staff to be held at the National Library on November 26.

Aside from all these events and activities calendared for the year, we shall also focus on other projects to include:

1.Campaign for a wider reach of membership
2.Continued issuance of the PAARL ID to members
3.Publish the quarterly issue of the PAARL Newsletter and encourage contributions from members
4.Update the membership database, assuring accuracy and completeness of pertinent member information
5.Develop a PAARL website with its own domain
6.Review and update PAARLNET Memorandum of Agreement to ensure continued relevance of the defined benefits and responsibilities of member institutions
7.Continue to market the Filipiniana Books for College Libraries Vol. 1 (both in print and CD-ROM)
8.Propose for the continuation of the Filipiniana Books for College Libraries (Vol. 2 on the Humanities)
9.Call for scholarships and thesis assistance grants applications
10.Start working on the revisions and updates of the PAARL Standards which were formulated 10 years ago
11.Consider for further discussion the requests of members from the South for a Regional Chapter of PAARL, this might entail reviewing PAARL By-Laws and Constitution

The paper “PAARL in the service of library and information professionals in the country” will be read by yours truly in the XIV CONSAL to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam on April 20-23, 2009. This is perfect opportunity to present to the other librarians in the region the many significant achievements and accomplishments of the association. This paper hopes to inspire and give ideas to associations which are still in their infancy stage about the efficient and effective management of a professional association. .

Indeed, we are going to have a busy year. The success of all these planned and activities lay on all OUR hands. Work with us in Board. Be visible. Only through your active involvement we can be assured that PAARL will be able to continue to exist as an organization of responsible and committed professionals.

On a more personal note, let me give due recognition and sincere thanks to the people who are truly instrumental for my being here:

Ms. Salvacion M. Arlante, PAARL president, my professor, my supervisor, my mentor. Thank you for allowing me to spread my wings and be an active member of this association.

Dean Vyva Victoria Aguirre and Atty. Antonio Santos, I may not have told you this before, but you are instrumental in my decision to become a Librarian. When I followed your advice to go up the 3rd floor of Gonzalez Hall and shift to Library Science from a course in Theater Arts and then, for allowing me to be part of the UP Law Library staff. On my very first day as a Student Assistant, it just dawned on me that Library work is something I can consider as a career. It was a decision made that early, and truly one of the best I ever made so far.

Once again, thank you very much and Good Day!

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