Let’s Read! A community library project worth emulating

The community library in Baragay Cabug, Bacolod City

On 29 May 2022, the Negros Occidental High School Class’79 launched its first community library project, Let’s Read!, in partnership with the Sangguniang Kabataan of Barangay Cabug, Bacolod City. Let’s Read! is a fulfillment of Class’79 plan to expand its community engagement.

The project has the potential of enriching the literacy of 118 Day Care students, 1418 elementary students, and 620 high school and college students in the barangay. There are now close to 400 books in the library,  and the inventory is growing. These books are donations from members and friends of NOHS Class’79.

Dr. Ella Fe Oyos, President of NOHS Class ’79, said that the community library is a venue to promote the value of reading as an enjoyable and relaxing activity. “We want our kids to grow up as book lovers,” she said.

Christina and her five-year-old daughter Georgia recently took home a copy of “Little Red Riding Hood.” They were both looking forward to reading it at home together. Christina is very thankful that there is now a community library where they can read and borrow books close to home.

 

School children from the barangay using the library for study

The model that NOHS Class ’79 uses relies on the strong engagement of the partner barangay. There are compelling and practical reasons why a partnership model is an effective strategy in building a sustainable library. Residents have a strong personal stake in contributing to the growth of their community. The SK can augment project resources through local government funds.

In this case, the SK of Barangay Cabug enthusiastically embraced the project. It equipped the library with five desktop computers and is working on free internet connectivity and printing services for users. These will support students in their online instruction and assist community residents in creating content including word processing documents, email messages, and limited personal work within a safe and controlled environment.

 

Storytelling sessions with children

 

The barangay captain, Juan Malayang, also gave the project a room in a newly built Community Health Center. This offers users an amazing opportunity to strengthen their civic activities, and provides them a space for positive volunteer work experiences.

Barangay Cabug Sangguniang Kabataan officers and NOHS Class ’79 representatives during the soft opening of the community library

Angela Borja, one of the SK library volunteers, said: “Mothers will find it helpful having a study area for students in the barangay. The books will enhance reading skills. For college students like me, the internet service will help reduce my expenses for online studies.”

Marvin Lloyd Borromeo, SK Chairman, said a community library in the barangay does not only give additional educational resources to the students, but also gives them a place to study and learn. “I think the best way to empower people is to educate them. The library would be an avenue for learning, growth, and development.”

 

Helen Grace Lacson, Susie Padilla, and Melanie Cantor, members of the NOHS ’79 Education Committee, with children enjoying the books in the library

 

Parents and day care workers are happy that there is a place for the kids to enjoy reading. From its launch on 29 May, Day Care Center staff and young readers ages 3 and 4 have accessed the books. The SK is also organizing groups of children to visit the library. And parents are glad about the time their children spend away from gadgets when they read.

NOHS Class ’79 president Dr. Ella Fe M. Oyos and vice president Dr. Josel V. Ramirez with Helen Grace B. Lacson, Lorena J. Espina, Mariquit Jean T. de Asis, Margaret Mary de Asis, and Rosemarie N. Monje during the inauguration of the community library

Margaret de Asis, one of the recipients of NOHS Class ’79 education assistance program, led the first storytelling session during the launch of the community library in May 2022. The Education Committee of Class ’79 plans to hold storytelling programs regularly.

Over time, Class ‘79 hopes the library becomes a hub for other meaningful social and cultural interactions that will help strengthen the community spirit of the barangay. (Gina Rio-Abarquez, NOHS Class’79)


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