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.


  1. a badly written analogy that in its attempt to emphasize a point regarding politicians instead succeeds in becoming derogatory to another profession. sigh. this could have been written so much better without the attempt to be controversial.

  2. I have always felt that libraries here in the U.S. anyway, are turning into a welfare system. More and more, they are catering to people who can't afford computers, internet, CD's, DVD's, video cassettes, pop culture magazines, etc. Libraries were originally intended as a system to preserve our written history in both non-fiction and fiction. Yet sadly, those shelves are being disassembled to make way for another row of DVD's to rent out free and compete with local rental and retail stores. Now over half my public library is for something other than reading materials and half of the remaining is for things other than books like Inquire tabloids and People magazines! That means the building that was once full of books is now only 1/4 as full. It's a shame and we seem to have lost our priorities. Instead of catering to those who want to learn, we are catering to those who in most cases, are too lazy to get out and earn a living and instead rely on welfare from both the government and our libraries. My two pesos worth anyway...

  3. Haha, dito, skill ang pagiging librarian. It's amazing how we Filipinos do not know how to value skills not akin to our liking.

  4. with this, i cant avoid to compare the library system we have in manila and here in singapore. in fact, the new addition to the many public libraries here was the National Library, which was opened last week and it is a 13-storey building with a huge collection of materials, plus a free unlimited access of wireless internet.

    i hope our library system in manila improves in the years to come.

  5. Anonymous12:44 am

    Is your wife subscribed to the PLAI mailing list? In any case, there are also discussions there :)

  6. i totaly agree with you homie nick! that $#!t aint cool. they be steppin on toes and flexin on the wrong people! i'll hold your name down to the fullest for your insight. holla back!!!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. That is an ill-written piece, and I do agree with you sir nick that they have often neglected to see what is really the use of librarians. I have couple of friends, whom like you worked as student librarians in order to finish school.

    Some have forgotten the essence of these people, when the internet was still taboo and we have spent lots of time looking over the index card system (i forgot their scientific name) it was the librarian who would countlessly help us so we can finish our homework/thesis/whatever doodles that we do.

    Plus, I still believe in book reading... Bookworm rocks! hahahahaha

  9. Hi Cherry! Your last sentence hit the mark.

    Aaargh. That's one viewpoint, Mr. Abbey. Unfortunately, public libraries here don't get that much developed to be of any help to those in welfare here. Wait, I don't think we have a welfare system set-up too...

    Hello Ting! I wonder if Mr. Cristobal knew what he was talking about.

    Ah, owen, sana mangyari nga, kahit suntok sa buwan...

    Hi Clair! Wala syang access sa internet ngayon eh. Inuubos ni Jo-Lo ang oras nya! :-)

    Uhhh... chu.... inaantok ka ano?

    G, I had to delete your comment for the sake of art.

    Let's read, fisherpau, and enjoy books! Forget PS2! What am I saying!!! :-)

  10. whaaaatttt...no sir nick, don't say that! read books then PLAY PS2:P hehehehehe

  11. he he he may tatamaan ba...ok lang...i'll stick with the PS2... :)


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