Nurturing the youth’s love for books amidst tech advances
BAGUIO CITY – The advent of technology has made libraries farther from the heart of the youth, with preference now on gadgets.
However, personnel of this city’s public library are not letting their books to just remain untapped.
“We try to evolve. We do not wait for the public, especially the youth, to visit us and read a book. We go to them so that we can also encourage them to flip the pages of the books and develop the habit of reading,” said Nowie Chipachap, Librarian III at the city’s public library.
Chipachap, who has been working in the public library for around 21 years, said their team is trying their best to improve their services since young people frown upon reading, much so going to the library, because of the accessibility of information at their fingertips.
He said they started bringing fiction books to Irisan National High School, Happy Hollow High School and Magsaysay High School even before the pandemic to allow more public school students to have access to books.
Library staff deliver the books to the schools and the students need to return the books to the public library on weekends.
“There are children who borrow books and it feels good to see them when they return it. Some were able to finish in a few weeks, some longer than a month. It was fine because fiction books are often read on weekends and as a break from the routine of reading the textbooks,” Chipachap told the Philippine News Agency.
Saturday class sessions
When the renovated children’s playground was opened in March 2022, library staff took advantage of the presence of kids by providing chairs and snacks to hold storytelling sessions.
The snacks are donations from technical-vocational schools that offer culinary and baking classes.
Storytelling sessions are conducted by Luis Yabut or “Lolo Books’, 80, who moved to Baguio from Manila to retire and enjoy the city’s weather.
“This is my Saturday routine. I was a financial analyst, and I was never a teacher but seeing children learning lessons from fables I share with them is fun and satisfying,” he said.
Chipachap said there were suggestions for the library to offer academic tutorials to further help students who are facing academic difficulty.
He said they have no idea yet how to provide this but a math teacher volunteered for it last June, or the start of the vacation after the school year 2022-2023.
Adonis Togano, 56, has been teaching mathematics for 32 years. He is currently a teacher at the Joaquin Smith National High School.
“I pitied the children who are developing math anxiety and I wanted to help. I volunteered because my knowledge is the only thing I have that I can share with our young people,” he said.
Togano uses a system that utilizes toys like puzzles, cubes and bingo games to solve math problems.
“I convert the complex math lesson to games to motivate the learners. The usual attitude towards the subject is hatred. They (the students) back out immediately but when you integrate games, they are learning the math concept through games, which is very effective. It develops a positive attitude towards math, enhances analytical skills and improves decision-making,” he said.
“I am enjoying the fact that the kids are relieved of their math problems and that is already compensating me,” he added.
Meanwhile, some University of Baguio (UB) students conduct English subject tutorials at the public library as part of their on-the-job training.
The library also offered free guitar lessons during the school break.
Chipachap said the library is now packed especially on Saturdays –small children playing with cubes and blocks and flipping the colorful children’s books, the internet library is occupied by people of different ages for a two-hour use, and the thesis and dissertation area where the tutorials are done.
He said they cater to about 150 users during weekdays while on Saturdays, they average at 48 learners for each session of the tutorials.
Chipachap added the math tutorial has four sessions of 55 minutes each for grades 5 to 8 in the morning, and the English tutorial for grades 3 to 6 in the afternoon.
The storytelling session at the Children’s Park gets an average of 12 toddlers, with some staying for an hour or so and others until after the fourth story at noon.
“We are happy with the acceptance of the parents and guardians. Even the children who learn of the tutorials attend and we are glad we can extend help,” the librarian said.
Chipachap said they would help village officials comply with the ordinance to establish reading centers in the 128 villages (PNA)