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Book Saves: Developing kid's love for reading, storytelling

When we think of reading and storytelling, we often think of parents and teachers expressing their love for their children or students.

But have you heard of a library that goes the extra mile of sharing books and presenting stories through video clips to children? Look no further; it can be found in San Fernando City, La Union. 

Recently, the City Library of San Fernando launched the project “Book Saves” in partnership with the National Library of the Philippines, City Health Office, Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center, Department of Health Ilocos Center for Health and Development, and Department of Education.

The program is also supported by the city officials.

Book Saves amid the Pandemic

Aiko Nagas, the multi-award-winning OIC-city librarian, has something new to offer in order to foster a love of reading and storytelling. Book Saves, her brainchild program, began in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Book Saves has various components that have contributed to life-long learning among various sectors of the community, such as the establishment of Barangay Reading Centers, a mini library for persons deprived of liberty, as well as the establishment of another mini-library at the NASUDI center for women and children, and in COVID-19 isolation centers in the city, among others.

Aiko and her team expanded the program's components by introducing storytelling and the distribution of storybooks to children aged five to 11 which was launched on March 3. This coincided with the kick-off of the Resbakunakids vaccination program in the city and in line with Public Library Day.

“Napakaimportante ito para ma-lessen ang boredom at fear ng bata habang naghihintay sila na mabakunahan,” she quipped. 

She explained that they installed a booth in the holding area where storytelling clips are played on a loop, as well as another in the vaccination area.

The San Fernando City Library has set up a storytelling and reading corner at the Resbakunakids vaccination site at San Fernando North Central School. (JPD)

Also, instead of children being treated with sweets like candies or chocolates after getting vaccinated, they can own one book from among the wide variety of titles or authors on display. 

With pride, she informed that the City Library of San Fernando is the first in the entire Philippines to launch the said program. 

“We are the first, the pioneer in the entire Philippines. Tayo ang kauna-unahang naglunsad ng ganitong programa sa vaccination area,” she said. 

Sustaining and Expanding the Innovation

Since the program's inception, the city library has served at least 2,000 children for storytelling and distributed approximately 700 storybooks.

Miccela Eulene Oliver Escandor, 10 years old, was one of the book recipients. 

She said she was relieved to see a corner for storytelling and reading when she received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the San Fernando North Central School. 

“Maganda po ito para matuto pa po ang mga bata at naencourage din po kaming magbasa,” she shared. 

Miccela Eulene Oliver Escandor shows her chosen book after getting her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (JPD)

Aiko then hopes that in order to sustain the program, especially the giving of storybooks, they call for continued book donations from their partners and stakeholders. 

“We are open to accept donations para ma-sustain natin ang pagbibigay ng books sa mga bata,” she appealed. 

For the year, the city librarian shared that they intend to also set up a mini-library in public hospitals. 

“Tuloy tuloy ang program natin. Hindi po hindrance itong pandemic para sa ating serbisyo sa ating kababayan lalo dito sa San Fernando,” she said. (JCR/JPD, PIA La Union) 

About the Author

Joanne Namnama Dilim

Regional Editor

Region 1

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