What began as a birthday celebration in 2017 is now an advocacy as Bryan’s Aliverary builds its fourth library in Quirino province.

“Yung Aliverary, nagsimula sya as birthday project ko dito sa barangay namin. Also, nasa RA 7743 o yung law para sa establishment ng mga public libraries na lahat dapat ng barangay ay mayroong barangay reading center. Pero may report ang National Library na less than one percent lang ng total number of barangays ang may barangay reading center. So, naisip ko as librarian na mag-advocate, tumulong sa community na mag-build ng library.

May mga volunteers and fellow librarians na tumutulong sa Aliverary. Mayroong mga naghahanap ng mga barangay na willing na mag-open ng mga reading centers, mayroong naghahanap ng mga books na mag-dodonate. Ngayon nagfa-fund raising kami para bumili ng mga computer units para sa distance learning or blended learning.

Yung initial requirement, kailangan si barangay mismo ang magprovide ng facility kahit isang kwarto lang, may bookshelves, and may other learning materials like mga journals, newspaper, then kailangan may tables and chairs. Wala naman sa requirement na kailangan ang computer, pero ngayon essential sya sa current situation.

Then after that, kailangan magkaroon ng barangay resolution na mag-establish sila ng barangay reading center. Hindi kasi pwede yung pumunta ako don, kami na agad mag-tatayo ng lahat kasi gusto namin may ownership sila, hindi lang dahil may pumunta don. Yun yung pumapatay sa library or brangay reading center na, ‘ay hindi naman ako nagpagawa nyan, so wala kaming pakialam dyan.’

Dapat din magkaroon ang barangay ng appointed librarian. Hindi naman kailangan na may license.

Kapag nag establish kami ng barangay reading center, automatic, iaffiliate ko sila sa national library of the ph, para magkaroon sila ng initial funding na worth 300,000 na books and computer equipment,” Bryan said.

Once all these requirements are met, Aliverary brings around 300 books to the center which is the minimum number of books for a barangay reading center to have.

Bryan works as a full-time librarian in one of the top universities in the country and attends to his graduate studies on weekends. Aliverary is certainly extra work but he really doesn’t mind.

“Para sa akin na teacher din, I want to extend my service. Hindi ba nagkaroon ng report before na ang Pilipinas ang lowest in terms of reading? Ito yung nagda-drive sa’kin to continue Aliverary, na hindi mo kailangang pumasok ng eskwelahan para matuto kang magbasa at itong barangay reading centers ang magiging paraan para mailapit sa community ang information at resources. Kasi hindi lahat ng eskwelahan, may school library, hindi lahat ng barangay priority ang learning or education.”

Asked on his vision and direction for Aliverary, he said “maging hub sya ng mga ibinibigay na services ng mga government agencies like DOST and DICT. DOST, meron silang STARBOOKS, may ibat ibang resources – for kids, young adults, parents, nakalagay lang sya sa computer at naa-update sya. DICT, they have Tech4ED where they provide learning materials. And also yung makilala yung library sa community talaga, na hindi lang tambakan ng libro or meeting place ng mga barangay officials, at hindi lang sya bodega, na magagamit nila yun as learning environment aside from school.

Gusto ko ring sabihin sa lahat nga mga bata, never stop learning, continue to dream and believe in your dreams.”

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