The Challenge for today's Filipino Librarian

Advantages of an MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science) degree in the Philippines

A graduate degree in Library Science offers an advanced and exciting educational experience. There is a balanced learning of theory and their application in libraries. The best thing about a graduate degree is meeting other professionals to share knowledge, experiences, problems, and best practices. This keeps us updated about emerging trends and issues in the library world. It strengthens the profession when librarians learn from each other, as this not only helps our own professional growth but also give us ideas to improve our own libraries. With the relationships built and knowledge shared, this leads to better librarians and libraries.

With the small number of librarians in the Philippines, schools of Library Science are a rich ground for collaboration and research. We librarians cannot remain stagnant in our libraries and be content with the knowledge we already have, we must learn from others too. The library world is rapidly changing with new technologies and librarians must keep up and work together for the progress of the profession in the country.

In the Philippines, an MLIS degree qualifies us to teach LIS subjects, in order to train future librarians and attract more students to the profession. A graduate degree opens more options for librarians in academic and research fields. In my experience in volunteering in SEAFDEC, an aquaculture research institution, their library is the research center of the organization. Without the library, research and new knowledge would not be possible. Working as a librarian in the science and technology fields is a challenging but also a rewarding job, as the librarian has a role in research as well.

Challenges for the Librarian today:

The biggest challenge of librarians today is the fast-paced technological change and faster access to ever-widening options that make potential users think that the library is no longer modern or relevant to them. The challenge for librarians is to adapt and continue to evaluate trends and users' needs. If the library fails to provide their users' needs, their users will search on their own, and without proper information searching skills, they may settle with information of low quality.

Professional Recognition and Stereotypes
In the Philippines, librarians still struggle with recognition as a profession. Stereotypes of the general public about libraries and librarians affect how they view the library. There are around 8,000 licensed librarians in the country's 100-million population, not counting non-licensed paraprofessionals. Most successful and visible libraries are usually in academic and research institutions.

Libraries must show that they are vital, important, and needed in their institution and community
Libraries must give evidence of their advantage to their institution for continued support. There are local standards for libraries, but with the lack of support and budget, it is difficult to even reach the minimum required standards. Internet and computer access are usually only available in urban areas, most libraries far from the cities, if there are functional libraries, still use manual processes and outdated materials.

The best marketing tool for libraries is satisfied users, and if librarians strive to create the best libraries they can, this will also improve the public's image of librarians and ensure continued support for our libraries to ultimately empower the Filipino citizen with the best information even in the fast-changing landscape of technology.

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