The University Library GAD Committee joins One Billion Rising 2021: Rising Gardens, Growing Resistance

In the last two decades, progressive movements have sprung involving ordinary people, aiming to address and eradicate gender discrimination, violence against women and children, gender equality, and the like. This was made possible through Executive Order No. 273, s. 1995 which mandated the institutionalization of Gender and Development (GAD) Committees or agendas within local government units and government offices. By virtue of Memorandum CAS-12-009 by then Chancellor Ceasar Saloma, the University Library established the Gender and Development Committee in 2012 to promulgate and ensure gender sensitivity among its staff. The Committee oversees GAD-related activities through seminar-workshops and lectures that tackle issues, including but not limited to gender sensitivity and women empowerment, among others. Through the help and guidance of the Diliman Gender Office, the University Library continues to pursue GAD work and engage others to do the same.


Held during the second week of February, the annual One Billion Rising, which the Gabriela Youth and Diliman Gender Office spearhead, saw the participation of various GAD Committees from the academic and administrative units of the University. The One Billion Rising campaign is the most significant mass action worldwide to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and gender-fluid). The campaign launched on Valentine’s Day 2012 began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than One Billion women and girls.


This year’s theme campaigns for both women and our planet, recognizing that the two are the least protected and most violated under the oppressive systems of capitalism, fascism, and patriarchy, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Gardens represent our connection to the Earth and each other and our cultivation of our basic needs and our community. To maintain a garden is to resist the environmental, social, and spiritual collapse brought about by oppressive systems; to rise is to take up the responsibility to protect and uplift the Earth, which is essential to all life.


As an active GAD Focal Point System in the U.P. Community, the University Library’s GAD Committee holds this annual event in high regard and with great anticipation. To know more about the Committee’s contribution to this year’s One Billion Rising, we asked one of its members, Ms. Allyssa Feb Valdehueza of the U.P. Integrated School Library. “We have been invited by the Diliman Gender Office together with the Gabriela Youth to partner with them for this year’s One Billion Rising Campaign. We actively joined the preparatory meetings on the plotting of activities. As for the contribution of the ULGADC, we decided to create a video presentation featuring the plantitas of the library and one other government employee entitled “Women Bloom, Women Grow, Women Thrive” to show how women, especially in the time of the pandemic, are empowered through ornamental and sustainable planting. This is in line with this year’s OBR theme, “Rising Gardens, Growing Resistance.” I, as the ULGADC representative, participated in the on-ground protest Feb 14 held at the amphitheater. On Feb 15, the committee members joined the online protest and participated in the “Sayaw ng Paghihimagsik,” she narrated.


Given that gender sensitivity programs are among the most useful tools to create awareness
among a community, we asked her if these activities are still relevant during quarantine when
there are no physical classes, and workplace arrangements are limited. In her opinion, “It
certainly is. Sexual harassment is not limited to physical contact. Anyone could still be harassed
online through their social media platforms, whether private or wide-open through their public
profile. So yes, GSP is still relevant during these times.”


Lastly, looking forward to the future, we asked if the GAD Committee has any programs or
activities in line for the University Library this year. “During the start of the year, we planned
out a few. But as for now, as a celebration for women’s month, we have an upcoming activity
entitled “Kwentong Lockdown ng Kababaihan: a storytelling for Children” on March 26, 2021,
9:00-11:00. Other programs will still be planned in the coming months, and we will keep
everyone posted through our Facebook page, she said.”


In retrospect, the One Billion Rising movement indicates a constant need to inform people to
eliminate inequality, abuse, and discrimination. Although there is still a long way to go, it is
essential to acknowledge that no effort is too little because when women join forces, surely a
more progressive and safe U.P. is within reach. As we are unyielding during these challenging
times, may we also be unyielding in standing up for equality and respect.

The OVCAA Lantern at Diwa ng Diliman 2020

As a year of quarantine in the Philippines draws to a close, an unprecedented number of
businesses and establishments have completely shut down and filed for bankruptcy. Alongside
this outcome, social gatherings and events have become scarce as it has been observed that
transmission of the virus is effective when a certain number of people are gathered in a single
place. However, COVID-19 didn’t completely halt one of the University’s most enjoyable events
which is the annual Lantern Parade. That being said, UP Diliman’s recent Lantern Parade veered
off from the usual and opted for a virtual celebration by also reflecting on the University’s
challenges and successes in the previous year. The virtual event entitled, “Diwa ng Diliman
2020” was broadcasted last December 18, 2020 through the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for
Student Affairs (OVCSA) Facebook Page.


In order to understand the arduous task of creating a lantern that would best represent the Office
of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), wherein the University Library is a part
of, we interviewed Ramil De Leon from the Main Library’s Information Systems and Network
Services Section. He was the primary person tasked to oversee the lantern’s conceptualization,
design and construction. Like in any other work, we asked him what was the inspiration behind
the lantern. “Sa una, sa totoo lang sa bawat lantern na ginagawa, wala talaga akong maisip na
ideya. Madalas na inaantay ko ang mga meeting para sa mga opinion saka palang nakakabuo ang
komite ng plano para sa lantern. Ang ideya ng lantern ay walong bukas na palad na sumisimbulo
sa mga opisina sa ilalim ng OVCAA na nagaalay ng talento’t kasanayan at walang humpay na
paglilingkod sa buong komunidad nang may husay at dangal,” he said. The eight offices under
the OVCAA are: Office for the Advancement of Teaching (OAT), Office of International
Linkages (OIL), Office of the University Registrar (OUR), General Education Center (GEC),
Interactive Learning Center (ILC), Office of Field Activities (OFA), NSTP Diliman Office, and
as mentioned earlier, the University Main Library.


Additionally, we asked him to share his personal experience in constructing the piece. “Sa
umpisa medyo mahirap kasi gagawa ka palang at iniisip mo kung aabot kaba? Pero habang
nakikita mo siyang nabubuo at nakikita mo na yung kakalabasan kahit hindi pa siya tapos, sulit
din yung pagod. Plus na yung alam mo na aabot ka pala sa deadline,” he replied.
As the recent virtual parade required the lanterns to be small in size, Ramil didn’t hesitate to
share his preference between a small or large scale piece. “Okay sila pareho dahil palaging
naman naka suporta hindi lang ang buong komite nang Lantern pati na din and University
Library. Pero mas okay para sa aking ang paggawa sa malaking parol, dahil nakakawala ng
pagod yung may kasama at kausap ka habang gumagawa,” he argued.

In total, the virtual celebration received more than twenty eight thousand views. This in itself is a
clear indication that although festivities and celebrations are highly discouraged, the UP
community looked forward to the annual event and were very happy. Hopefully this year, we
would be able to celebrate the Lantern Parade and Christmas season at the campus once again.

LIKAS 2020: Staff and Patrons’ Safety in the Library: Protocols and Measures Implemented

The Asosasyon ng Aklatan at Sinupan ng Diliman, Inc. (AASDI) annually holds a seminar-workshop aimed at enhancing the capabilities of professionals and staff working in libraries and archives. This annual event called LIKAS stands for Linangin ang Isipan para sa Kaunlaran ng Aklatan at Sinupan. The objectives of this edition’s workshop are aligned with the theme, “Libraries in Transition: Discussing Safety, Security, Responses, and Preparedness in Time of Pandemic.” As a result of COVID-19 crisis, it has been acknowledged that a continuous effort in equipping and retooling library personnel should enable libraries and archives to stay as relevant as ever in communities. Additionally, the library community emphasized the need for library staff to design and implement guidelines to ensure the safety of personnel and users alike. LIKAS 2020 is a three-part webinar session held via Zoom and is free and open to all.

Held last November 20, 2020, the first of the three-part webinar series was presented by Ms. Elvira B. Lapuz, University Librarian of UP Diliman. Her topic revolved around basic tenets of library management, which are security and safety protocols within the library—highlighting the threats brought about by natural and man-made disasters, stringent strategies that would solidify safety and security in the library. Some of these strategies involve the installation of physical facilities such as plastic barriers, self-check-in kiosks, book showers, and more to counter the spread of disease such as COVID-19. Another important thing to note is the essence of accountability between every staff or personnel attached to the library, stating that “emphasis should be on the need for security staff and understanding that security is everybody’s business.” As for the actions and responses that the library personnel can take, Ms. Lapuz advised everyone to think first and, most importantly, “to be within reason” all the time.    

To sum up her presentation, Ms. Lapuz showcased the best practices and measures that the University Library has put in place to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of services to the UP community. As previously mentioned, physical facilities have immensely contributed to the overall security and safety of everyone. However, non-physical strategies such as flexible work arrangements, increased social media presence, online promotion of services, and the like are considered just as effective in library operations. The unforeseen change in the library work environment proved to be challenging for the majority but undeniably led to personal and professional development, which are beneficial in the long run. Lastly, Ms. Lapuz went on to remind the participants about the importance of continuously revamping their existing safety measures.

Ms. Elvira B. Lapuz as seen sharing her presentation on Zoom.

If you’re interested in joining the third and final webinar session, which shall be held on February 19, 2021, you may easily register through this link. The last webinar session shall be presented by the current Deputy University Librarian of UP Diliman, Ms. Eimee Rhea C. Lagrama. 

For more announcements, activities, and events, you may want to keep yourselves posted through AASDI’s Facebook Page here.

Research Made Easy Webinar Series: Student Edition

As the pandemic forced schools and universities to transition abruptly to online learning, one of the critical tasks of the library is to guide students through the library’s various online information sources .

For its part, the University Library, through the Information Services and Instruction Section (ISAIS), held the 3rd and final leg of its webinar series, this time targeted towards students from all levels. The first set of webinars was held from October 20-23, while the second set was from October 27-30. Patterned after Research Made Easy (RME), the library’s information literacy initiative, the webinar provided practical knowledge in navigating through the various online databases and information resources of the Main Library. The other webinars were dedicated to enhancing students’ necessary information literacy skills by introducing smart search strategies in their research process. Smart search strategies employ various symbols to execute specific operations such as the use of quotation marks (“ “) for phrase searching, hash (#) or questions mark (?) for a wild card search, and asterisk (*) for truncation operations, among others. Considered one of the primary search strategies that every researcher should know, Boolean Searching was also discussed, which involves using operators such as AND, OR, and NOT in a logical manner to narrow down or expand a search.

Promotional poster of the Student Edition Webinar Series.

There is a multitude of online databases that students can use, from multi-disciplinary to subject-specific. However, it is equally important to instruct students how to efficiently use these databases to locate an authoritative article, search for an appropriate research paper within the shortest time possible, and narrow down a search to a specific subject matter, to name a few. Additionally, a session was also dedicated to updating the participants with the new tools and upgraded technology employed by the University, such as the web-scale discovery service platform, Tuklas, and the new Main Library website, which boasts a more responsive design.

Another key objective was to understand the students’ personal experience in utilizing the library’s various resources by providing a venue to ask questions and provide comments. As the Main Library subscribes to User Experience (UX) ‘s significance in modern-day libraries and information centers, ideas, and reflection from the clients are valued as they contribute to the library’s growth. In this case, however, users’ opinions and experiences are limited to research concerns. True enough, a handful of students managed to exchange ideas and share their personal experiences in conducting their research.

More so, this webinar series proved useful to those who are unable to personally visit the Main Library, such as this academic year’s new students. Having that in mind, the University Library shall continuously uphold its mandate to aid the student community with their information needs with or without a pandemic.