Friday, November 30, 2007

Books donation: give us what we want, not what you dont like

“Books died. Books died in the United States, and unfortunately, the Philippine serves as the big cemetery for these books” averred Manolo Silayan. He is one of the resource speakers and guests during the conference of public librarians in connection with the 73rd celebration of the National Book Week.

It rings a bell, when someone like him, told the crowd of public librarians who were all recipients of donated books coming from United States. This is actually the lesson I learnedwhen we are transferring to a new building.

Last 2004, Mayor Jess asks me about a proposal from a book donor offering books from US. She only asks the naga city government to shoulder the payment for the shipment of these books. At that timewe are tempted to respond to her offer. This is because we are looking for more books to add to our 6,000 volumes in the new library. However, after knowing the cost of the shipping, I practically suggest to Mayor Jess to decline the proposal. Instead, funds shall be spent for the acquisition of new books.

Public ibrarians, including me, would jump into the offer of donors to increase its collection. We have no choice either because of the shortage of funds in dealing with the acquisition programs. However, accepting donations from the private companies and organizations is one of the many strategies to increase the library holdings. There is nothing wrong with accepting donations if there is a guidelines being followed and a vision to give direction.

My experience in developing the Raul S. Roco Library, is to see it in a perspective that we are in a process of developing a community. It means, we have to involve the community leaders, the people, other sectors from selection to making library policy and rules. I BELIEVE, NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE A DUMPING GROUND for dead books. And if public librarian were articulate over their needs, soon, those books will not be brought in the country. This I think, how Manolo Silayan caught the attention of public librarians during the national conference.

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