Category Archives: Library Chronicles

The Book Stop by WTA Design Studio

Last May 6, Kate and I went to Ayala Triangle to check out the Book Stop.

IMG_1451

This is a project of the WTA Design Studio as part of their Architecture of Ideas project. From their website:

As part of our Architecture of Ideas campaign, we have launched a non-profit initiative to build a free public library called The Book Stop. The Book Stop serves as an open library and book exchange where everyone is invited to come and grab a book. It will be placed in venues like malls, parks, commercial centers and other similar public grounds.

This pop-up library will provide a space where people can enjoy reading, interact in lively discussions with fellow readers and share their love for books by donating their own. Eventually, it can provide data to measure the need for more public libraries in the country.

IMG_1452

I love the idea of a reading nook in a public space like a park. The idea of being able to go to one, grab a book and have a safe spot to read it is very nice. We don’t have enough public spaces like parks, and goodness knows we don’t have enough public libraries where people can indulge in reading without having to spend money to get a book.

IMG_1454
Nancy Drew!

We got to talk to some of the team behind this, which resulted in them interviewing us. I told them that I was a library & information science student and that I used to work in a library. We talked about the idea (like I said it was very good), the collection (it was a mish-mash of random books that they don’t take inventory of but just count at the end of the day), and what things they can do to improve on it (the idea that people can freely take books builds a trust among the people).

IMG_1456

I would definitely love to see more places like this around the metro. I think it would be a great idea for the firm to partner with librarians to plan more spaces that are bigger, more accessible, and have more services that people can avail of. Come to think of it, that would make a great thesis. Hmm.

Lessons from Library Work

When I was a child, I thought that working in a library would be the best thing in the world. I’d be surrounded by books that I can read whenever I wanted to, and best of all, there wouldn’t be that much contact with people because hey, I’m dealing with books. Friends who are book lovers or know my love for books and reading would agree and express their delight that I am actually now working in a library.

It couldn’t be more further from the truth.

Fact 1: Not all the books in the library are materials you want to read
I work in an academic library, one that caters specifically to engineering students and faculty. Almost all of the books we have in the collection are technical books. I haven’t seen a single fiction or leisure reading book, unless you consider handbooks and technical materials leisure reading.

However, the library also has some special interest books, like website design, game design, management and the like, that I wouldn’t mind reading during my spare time. But that makes up just perhaps 10% of the whole collection. There are also some books that are useful for my masters, but again, not really leisure reading.

The magazines are another matter though. While we have a lot of specialized magazines, journals and periodicals dealing with engineering subjects, there are also general interest titles like Time, Reader’s Digest and National Geographic. Those are the ones I definitely want to read.

Fact 2: You will handle books and people
My first designation when I started the job was with the circulation section, where we handle the borrowing and returning of books, among other things. I handled books, but I am always in contact with the people using the library. Sure, I could probably just not talk to them as I go about my tasks, but since the library is a service oriented institution, you have to talk to them.
Continue reading

Digitizing Filipiniana

The Filipinas Heritage Library recently launched their newest endeavour, the Filipiniana Online, last January 22, 2014. It is the digitized version of FHL’s rare Filipiniana collection. They have over 2,000 rare books, many of which are too fragile to be handled and lent out to their users. The idea of digitizing the books was born a few years ago and to date, they have around 500 books digitized and uploaded as flipbooks to the website, with many more in the works.

IMG_5367

IMG_5376
Our class was able to attend through the invitation of our professor, and was considered to be part of our collection management and development curriculum. Prior to the launch, we took a tour of the Ayala Musuem and the Filipinas Heritage Library.

IMG_5377
The FHL was previously located at the Nielssen Tower along Makati Avenue. Personally, I found it a very picturesque location, and quite unique too. But times change, so the library was moved to its present location at the 6th floor of the Ayala Museum.

IMG_5393
Here we saw their collection, and in line with our studies, talked to the librarians who were in charge of developing the collection as well as digitizing it. As libraries in the Philippines go, FHL is one of the better ones, support and budget-wise, but that doesn’t mean they are without challenges. Still, it was very interesting to see their process of how they gathered the resources to purchase the equipment they needed to digitize the books.

IMG_5391

The Filipiniana Online is open to the public. However, only the preliminary pages are available for viewing and full access to the books requires a paid membership.

Congratulations to the team of the Filipinas Heritage Library for the successful launch.

Related links:
FHL launches Filipiniana Online
What is Filipiniana?