As the name implies, extension work is any activity, event, or procedure that aims to broaden the form of assistance an organization or group provides to a particular community. The goals and objectives typically range from meeting basic needs to ensuring access to information, appropriate technology or hardware, sustainable practices, and the like. Businesses and organizations across various industries dedicate a specific arm to designing, facilitating, and carrying out such projects and engagements because there is a need to conduct extension work with a more effective system. In the end, librarians found themselves at the forefront of extension work by building relationships with the community and determining the needs of the community they wish to serve.
The University Library Extension Committee (LEC), realizing the social responsibility of extension work, travelled to Cavinti, Laguna, to conduct a program in the community’s best interests. To know more about the extension work conducted, we asked one of the members of the committee, Mr. Martian Jinio, to share his insights and recount what transpired during the event. He says, ‘“Phase III of the Librarian Empowerment Action of Diliman (LEAD) of the LEC aims to empower the information and personal health literacy skills of the poor rural folks of Brgy. Cansuso, Cavinti, Laguna. Furthermore, this project intends to increase the age-appropriate levels of awareness and foster socially-accepted behavior in environmental awareness, gender sensitivity, information literacy, and knowledge on establishing farm-to-market abilities as applied in their community.
We asked Martian what topics the committee had chosen to discuss with the target community since information literacy has been the primary strategy for conducting the outreach. As mentioned in the objectives of this project, the committee prepared a wide range of topics related to information and personal health literacy skills for the members of the community in the following areas: promotion of love for reading; introduction to basic research and social media etiquette; gender sensitivity training that includes [ a discussion on] violence against women and children, women empowerment, understanding common medicines and their uses; instruction on basic management and care of vital documents; activities and instruction on disaster preparedness and response; and basic urban gardening and edible landscaping. “We invited the Laguna Provincial Librarian, an agriculturist, a registered nurse, and our very own college librarians from the University Library Diliman,” Martian added.
In addition to the LEC, other neighborhood institutions and organizations participated in this initiative, greatly enhancing the quality of life in the neighborhood. In situations where the leading proponent is not present, at least a few other organizations will be able to handle issues that would arise from the community. This emphasizes how crucial it is to build relationships between the lead proponent, the beneficiaries, and other organizations or groups.
According to Martian, the audience members engaged actively in the discussions and activities, indicating that the program was met with enthusiasm. Outreach programs not only get the word out about a library’s services. It also highlights the library as an essential part of any community.