IN THE DOLDRUMS, OR WHY MINDANAO LIBRARAINS SHOULD GO FEDERAL
Briccio M. Merced, Jr.
University of the Philippines Mindanao Email address: bric[email protected] Abstract
Based on the latest update on the website of the Professional Regulation Commission, there are a total of 7,318 professional librarians, with Mindanao accounting for a high percentage of librarians the Philippines has produced over the years. If the plebiscite were to be held today, the federal movement, which started to gain ground on the assumption into office in June 2016 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, would certainly win among Mindanao librarians, for a number of reasons. Aside from being geographically dispersed, Mindanao is far from Manila, the capital city. Its land terrain is rugged, with seas connecting the islands treacherous on most months of the year. Peace and order condition, tied to cultural and historical narratives, could only be understood by somebody who had lived and worked in Mindanao. Mindanao libraries are technologically-equipped and librarians professionally-competent, with a good number having advanced degrees and training at both national and international levels. The requirements, therefore, for Mindanao libraries and librarians to develop their fullest potentials through a federal government, are already in place. Under a federal set-up, Mindanao shall have its own: electronic resources, which are indigenous, hybrid, and foreign; an island-wide integrated library management system (LMS) accessible through one portal; a comprehensive agenda for the development of libraries and librarians; a federation of librarians’ associations that would represent Mindanao in international conferences such as those organized by CONSAL and IFLA; establishment of collaboration and partnerships with libraries and librarians in the BIMP-EAGA area; a library-led research agenda for Mindanao’s accelerated growth and development, and; a professional regulatory body.
Keywords: federal government; Mindanao; libraries