29 July 2005

105 'Useless' Librarians ???

I was just bloghopping the Friday afternoon away when I chanced upon Rnoldz's post on this article in Manila Bulletin entitled 105 ‘useless’ librarians. The introductory paragraph reads thus:

HAVING been accredited by the Professional Regulatory Commission, 105 librarians, just like 101 Dalmatians, make us wonder what to do with them? Their only possible employment lies with Powerbooks, National Book Store, and all other book companies which probably have more books than all the public libraries in the country.

You may read the article in its entirety here.

Since he has something to say in this Opinion/Editorial column, I would like to give the writer, who is apparently Mr. Adrian Cristobal, a piece of my mind. Sure, he may say that his column is an OPINION column, but that does not mean he can say anything to his fancy! Sure, he says that the above statements are just an exaggeration, but what he has mentioned in his article is no laughing matter.

Obviously, this Mr. Cristobal is ignorant about the topic he has chosen to write about. Limiting employment options to commercial bookstores! I wonder if he knows that librarians can be employed not only in schools, but also in banks and broadcast companies.

While he is correct in stating the obvious that budget cuts usually mean drastic measures on the education system (such as the purchase of books), he is painting only one side of the story. I wish he could have also mentioned that there are a LOT more people in this country that needs books. Why, even those Congressmen who apparently has no use for libraries and librarians (I wonder if he made a poll for congressmen to determine this) has at one time or another stepped into a library to further their studies from grade school on to college.

I wonder at all if he knows what being a Librarian entails. For they are not merely keepers of books. They steer and guide the information gateway that schools use to tap into the rich resource of books and the Internet. Yes, Librarians are also learning how to cultivate and maximize Library resources alongside technology. It's no longer books, but interconnection with other Libraries to access their vast resource of archived newspapers, dissertations, and precious books.

I should know. I once worked in a Library to support myself through college. And my wife is a Librarian.

Sadly, it is the government's inadequate support to the education system that is making the people less and less familiar to the written word, a wonderful source of creativity and imagination. Though people have access to simple reading materials such as newspapers, they resort to - as Mr. Cristobal has labeled - the idiot box, more popularly known as the TV. This much I will agree with Mr. Cristobal.

But likening the 105 Librarians recently accredited by the Professional Regulatory Commission to the 101 Dalmatians is in bad taste.
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