Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Year 2008 has been declared by UNESCO as the International Year of Languages.

I was not aware of this until October of this when my interest in languages resurrected in the May. I had 6 units of spanish in college but I do not think I learned anything new from it. What I have of spanish language going in was still the same after I was done with the subject. The best I could remember from two semesters of spanish was of my instructor talking about the hamons of spain. I have better memory of french conjugation, french verbs and nouns from 3 units of college french. This belief was validated when i took diagnostic tests in spanish and french before starting on the courses again. I thought I'll take them up again in place of my MSLIS degree which would have to take a back seat for the next year or so for several reasons. I thought there must be something to show for my time and spanish and french seem like good substitutes.

During the librarians' seminar on multiculturalism in Davao, the acquisitions of another foreign language by a librarian was mentioned as a good tool for a librarian to have, especially if she happened to service a multicultural clientele. I was praised by my colleagues in my forethought, but the possible outcome of learning another language in terms of being a librarian was far from my mind. I just wanted something to occupy me and to show that my spare time is not 100% wasted because I have not learned something new, have not acquired new skills, etc.

Now, officially (officially meaning I now have resources to help me learn--dictionary and manual) two and a half months into spanish and one and a half months into french, I am still better at french. This is may be because spanish is so much integrated, adapted and butchered by Cebuano speakers into the dialect that it took longer to learn, unlearned or relearned several words.

At the start of the Davao seminar, I anticipated language being mentioned as one of many factors of multiculturalism. I also anticipated the mention of the UNESCO declaration, because the declaration was not mere language it encompasses multiculturalism in general. Unfortunately, there was none. If I were one of the speakers, I would have find a way to mention it in my lecture. But I must remember, that we librarians really do not know everything!

I have bookmarked UNESCO because I have just realized it is a very rich source of information, not just for a librarian but for everyone interested in information, education and knowledge.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Road to hypocrisy and ignorance...

Is filled with PhD's and multi-MS degree holders and some librarians.

I could name friends who are librarians who told me "i get sleepy after the first few pages of reading" and "the thought of reading alone lulled me into sleepiness". And I know of some librarians too who read only memos and official communications and only articles that relate to library science. Librarians are suppose to encourage reading, what I wonder is what type of reading really. What I understand about encouraging reading in the youth is actually reading literature. Now one might say reading library science article is reading literature in library science. What I understand of reading literature too is reading fiction, prose, poetry, short stories, etc. How can a librarian encourage such activities when they themselves do not indulge in it. Isn't that hypocrisy?

I as a librarian was discouraged from reading literature during work hours because it is not in my job description. If that does not show ignorance I don't know what is. Librarians can't at all times say to their library clientele "according to the book review..." we must sometimes have our own opinion on the matter. I realize of course that work time is valuable, but to be told that: "if you no longer have clientele to serve, look for other works to do, backlogs to attend to, but reading fiction or pocket books is not one of the things to do during down time, you may read newspapers and journals some time as you say you do because it is important in your profession to be abreast of events but this also you must put a limit".

The comment still rankles me. I won't stop telling this story until the hypocrites and the ignoramuses are unmasked for what they really are, hypocrites and ignoramuses wearing robes of PhD's and MS degrees.