LEAD beyond boundaries, in Phase II of connecting communities, empowering knowledge

Libraries have long been the crucial institutions that provide information and resources, and a space for learning for the people in the community. As an institution that has consistently been at the forefront of this progress, libraries evolve as well as the community does. The library serves as the center for education which promotes literacy, fosters intellectual curiosity, and ensures that everyone has access to information. While libraries serve their purpose, library extension work on the other hand enriches communities, encourages diversity in the people it serves, and reconnects to the underserved communities with current and valuable resources.

The University Library Diliman through the Library Extension Committee (LEC) is playing a vital role in bridging the gap that exists within the communities. By extending services beyond the walls of the libraries, the LEC has conducted several outreach activities that guarantee individuals irrespective of their socioeconomic status have equal opportunity to access information and educational resources. The extension services in the library have become an effective mechanism for addressing the unique needs and interests of a diverse community. Hence, the LEC seizes the opportunity to reach out to the marginalized and underserved sectors of the community by organizing seminars, story-telling activities for children, handing out necessary items, and through specialized programs/training on disaster preparedness, information literacy, research, and personal hygiene and sanitation.

As the extension arm of the University Library, the Library Extension Committee (LEC) held activities for the benefit of various communities and groups through the years.

This year, the LEC carried out its flagship initiative — Librarians Empowerment Action of Diliman (LEAD) Phase II: A Training-Workshop on Growing Roots in the Community, through Project No. 222210 UPD-EG.  The LEC goes beyond the borders of the campus to empower the underserved members through the conduct of age-appropriate information and literacy workshops. It intends to engage members of Barangay Pansol in Quezon City, specifically from the following areas: Pansol Proper, Kaingin I, and Kaingin II. 

In April, the first in the series of LEAD Phase II workshops for the Children cohort (ages 7-12) was held at the Balara Elementary School.  The LEC placed a great emphasis on addressing the needs of children and families as the program started with an informative yet interactive and fun Reader’s Theater performance by the committee members titled, Ang Matandang Mananahi, an adaptation from the book titled, Old Tailor, written by Ms. Zarah Gagatiga and Ms. Dianne Delas Calas. This story encompasses morals about selflessness and generosity that bring greater joy than personal gain. The  LEAD Phase II: Children cohort also included discussions on personal hygiene and sanitary education as well as disaster risk reduction and management, demonstrating a holistic approach to fulfill the specific needs of the young participants. These topics not only impart useful information but also give young people the skills and habits they require to ensure their safety and well-being. The lecture given by Mr. Elmer Tolentino, head librarian and former chair of the Emergency Management Committee, on disaster risk reduction and management, is particularly significant since it educates the young individuals on the value of preparedness for emergencies and crises. Conversely, Ms. Thergie Ablin’s discussion on Personal Hygiene and Sanitary Education addresses a crucial component of overall health and well-being. All the discussions were adjusted and tailored fit to the level so that children would easily understand the topics. 

Photos taken during the first session of LEAD Phase II.

The LEAD Phase II workshops for Teen cohort, ages 13-19 was conducted at the Balara High School in May.  Exploring the different topics covering the workshop, the Basic Research discussion which was led by Ms. Marian Uichanco provides the participants with essential information and skills to conduct effective research; the program places a strong emphasis on the value of research in acquiring knowledge, resolving issues, and fostering innovation. Ms. Eunice Chua with her topic about Social Media Ethics focuses on raising awareness and promoting responsible and ethical behavior in various social media platforms.  The discussion on Disaster Preparedness which was led by Mr. Jerald Evangelista, a member of the UL Emergency Management Committee dwells on the knowledge and skills required to effectively respond to emergencies and disasters; it highlights the value of readiness, community cooperation, and resilience for mitigating the impact of disasters. Through the Gender sensitivity training that focuses on the awareness of teenage pregnancy, Mr. Ramil De Leon, a member of the UL Gender and Development Committee, discusses how these training topics can help create a supportive and inclusive environment for individuals; the program enables participants to promote equitable opportunities, respect individual choices, and create a safe space in discussing and addressing sensitive themes. Additionally, the topic Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education which was discussed by Ms. Kristine Jaromamay focuses on the awareness of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene practices; it also emphasizes the effect that personal cleanliness has on both the health of the individual and the general welfare of the community.  At the end of every workshop, hygiene kits, notebooks, and primers were distributed to the participants.

The presenters as they vigorously emphasized the importance of each topic among High School students.

The third and final workshop in the LEAD Phase II for the Adults cohort series is now in the final stages of planning and is anticipated to take place in August.

Members of the Library Extension Committee pose for a photo after the success of the first and second session in LEAD Phase II.

The extension services provided by the LEC are essential in the progression and transformation of libraries to be dynamic, effective and an inclusive space for the community it serves. Despite its main purpose to serve students, faculty, and researchers, the University Library Diliman, through LEC, revolutionizes the ways libraries connect with their communities, tailoring and adapting to meet the specific needs and interests of the underserved communities.  And as libraries continue to adapt to the changing demands of their communities, extension services will be fundamental in ensuring that libraries remain dynamic to changes and relevant providers of knowledge.