At this time when the Internet has become a pervasive presence for most people, libraries are striving to remain relevant. In other countries where libraries are an important feature of the community, libraries gives services that provide meaning and understanding over the chaos and overflow of the Internet, improves the ties of the community, as well as sharing knowledge to everyone regardless of age, race or technical knowledge.
Sadly, Filipinos generally do not have the same familiarity with libraries. For most Filipinos, libraries are associated with research and school assignments which, while important, are disjointed from a person’s day-to-day experience. Leaving school usually means one will not enter a library again.
I originally meant to write “this was because Filipinos generally do not like to read”; on reflection, this is not really true. Many Filipinos read a lot of books. But Filipinos generally read only for amusement and entertainment; romance, horror and novelty books are among the most published in the country. Even news is treated as entertainment in this country. If we needed to know something, we usually turn to television. Even the average Filipino user will use the Internet mostly for gaming or updating their social network, very rarely going to sites beyond that.
The state of literacy in this country is rather disheartening. It’s still good to know that there are many groups that continue to work on promoting literacy especially to those places where books are hard to come by.
In celebration of National Book Month and in preparation for this coming Christmas season, artists, performers, thinkers, musicians, writers, readers and book lovers of all ages will gather at the first Libros Festival that will showcase books from different local and international publishers, crafts related to the written word, and other education-related products and services.
From November 24 to 26, everyone is invited to celebrate creative inspiration, the power of the imagination, and the magic of reading at the courtyard and parking of the library. Great advocates of art, books, and reading will come together for various activities that are slated to happen during the festival – from storytelling sessions, arts and crafts-making, lectures that talk about the importance of reading, talks on writing for various audiences, to book launches.
The event will benefit the OurLibrary project of the Filipinas Heritage Library, which seeks to build community libraries or learning centers across the nation, and build a nation of readers. For the inquisitive, the curious, the enthusiastic, and for those who want to expand their words and worlds, this is an event you should not miss.
Line-up of Events