PASLI: School libraries still essential for learning in new normal

Illustration by Quentin Blake for Matilda by Roald Dahl

PASLI or the Philippine Association for School Librarians, Inc. has issued a statement last June 22 on their Facebook page regarding the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here is the full text from their Facebook post (reposted here with permission from PASLI):

The PASLI issues this statement in light of the changes and challenges in teaching and learning brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

School Libraries and School Librarians Are Essential to the Continuity of Learning
Prepared by PASLI Officers 2019-2021 / Version 2
June 22, 2020

As school leaders, teachers, and parents prepare for the opening of school year 2020-2021 under the circumstances surrounding the country and the world, various sources such as the media and literature have discussed and supported the transition to Blended Learning. The Department of Education has identified different ways for which learning can be delivered in this time of COVID-19, namely, Home Based Learning, Online Learning or a combination of both into a Blended Learning approach. Whichever the parent or the school choose to facilitate the continuity of learning, school librarians play a relevant role in this experience of continued growth and development for the children, the parents, and the professionals. It is at this time of unprecedented difficulty when the expertise of school librarians is much needed by learning communities.

The Philippine Association of School Librarians (PASLI) stands by the position of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) (School Library Manifesto 2006), that:

"The school library provides information and ideas that are fundamental to functioning successfully in today's information and knowledge-based society. The school library equips students with life-long learning skills and develops the imagination, enabling them to live as responsible citizens."

The association further believes that, being licensed professionals, school librarians are the qualified personnel to actualize the ideals stated above by the IFLA, as mandated by law under the Philippine Librarianship Act of 2004, also known as RA 9246.
Furthermore, the School Library Guidelines of the Department of Education (2011) specifies the specific duties, financial support, and requirements in resource, media and collection development for school libraries that school librarians are bound to adopt and adapt as dictated by the context of their learning communities.

PASLI advocates and asserts these identities of the school library.
  • The school library is an institution of human rights, specifically, children’s rights.
  • The school library is an agency of lifelong learning.
  • The school library is a learning commons for the growth and development of human capital.
  • The school library is an essential social infrastructure, but in the “new normal,” it has demonstrated that social infrastructure extends to online social infrastructure as well.
  • The school library bridges the digital divide.
  • The school library is a safe space.
  • The school library promotes inclusivity and diversity.
  • The school library recognizes multiculturalism and multimodal learning.
  • The library is a universal classroom with resources and programs online to support K-12 education, distance learning, workforce skills, and much more.
School librarians assume varied roles such as a manager of information systems and structures of thinking, a reading and literacy advocate, a teacher and mentor, a counselor, a confidant to colleagues, and a community developer. These identities and roles are espoused and endorsed by PASLI so that school librarians have an anchor of principles when designing and implementing programs and services in the new normal. It is highly recommended for school librarians to communicate this position, the identities and roles presented in this statement to school leaders, teachers, parents and partners in the formation and learning of children and young people.

The School Library in Teaching and Learning for All. IFLA 2006. Retrieved June 12, 2020
The Philippine Librarianship Act of 2004 RA 9246 . The LawPhil Porject. Arellano Law Foundation. 2020 Retrieved June 10, 2020

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