The Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) successfully conducted its Annual Congress last November 19-22, 2019 at the Tagaytay International Convention Center in Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines. The activity is part of a month-long celebration of Library and Information Services Month in November pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 837 s. 1991, in recognition of the need to focus public awareness to the invaluable service that libraries and information centers render.

This year’s congress chose the theme: “Inclusive, Innovative, Interconnected”  and set the following objectives:  a). Examine the role of libraries, information centers, archives, and other cultural heritage partners and institutions in building inclusive, innovative, and interconnected societies; b). Recognize efforts, advocacies, initiatives, programs, projects, and services in libraries, information centers, archives, and other cultural heritage partners and institutions, in contributing to inclusive, innovative, and interconnected societies; and c). Determine the roles of librarians and library associations as key players for societal improvements and change through capacity building and professional agenda.

Tagaytay City officials led by Vice Mayor Reymond Ambion welcomed the participants and national government officials led by Prudenciana C. Cruz, Head of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Libraries and Information Services; Cesar Gilbert Adriano, Director, National Library of the Philippines and Hon. Yolanda C. Granda, Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians gave their messages for the occasion. Ms. Emily Drabinski, Associate Professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York gave the keynote address entitled, The Library as a Connection Machine and Critical Librarianship in Global Perspective.


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The plenary sessions catered to the interests of Filipino librarians, and parallel and poster sessions drew participation from library associations and individual librarians. The topics in the plenary sessions were: Philippine Librarians Census 2018 by Prof. Kathleen Lourdes B. Obille, Dean, School of Library and Information Studies, University of the Philippines; Freedom of Information (FOI) Libraries: Future Plans and Prospects by Atty. Kristian Ablan, Asst. Secretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office; What’s the Buzz in the LIS Field: Learnings and Insights from IFLA by Elizabeth R. Peralejo, Chair, Technical Committee for LIS, CHED; The Culion Museum and Archives: Documenting Culion Journey – From Isolation to Integration by Dr. Arturo C, Cunanan, Jr., Chief, Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital; Putting Kazakhstan on the Library Map: Inclusive, Innovative and Interconnected in the Land of the Great Steppe by Joseph M. Yap, Expert Manager, Nazarbayev University Library; The Politics of Remembering Through Films by Nick Deocampo, Chair, Philippine National Committee for the Memory of the World (MOW); and G! Understanding and Responding to Gen Y & Z in our Libraries by Vernon D. Totanes, Director, Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University.

The Congress, for the first time featured a half-day international session with the following topics and speakers: Critical Librarianship in Global Perspective by Emily Drabinski, Associate Professor, Critical Pedagogy Librarian, The Graduate Center, CUNY, New York; Building the Trusted Digital Repository at the National Level: the Role of Library and Information Professionals by Dr. Namtip Wipawin, Associate Professor, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), Nonthaburi, Thailand; Unpacking a Global Librarianship Course Experience: Designing for Creativity, Interactivity, and Community by Dr. Danilo Baylen, Professor, Instructional Technology and School Library Media, Dept. of Educational Technology and Foundations, College of Education, University of West Georgia, United States; Philippine Librarianship Towards Building Inclusive, Innovative and Interconnected Communities by Hon. Yolanda C. Granda, Chair, Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians (Philippines); Best Practices: An Exciting Showcase of Inclusive, Innovative and Interconnected Libraries in Asia and the USA by Buenaventura B. Basco, Library Faculty, University of Central Florida and John Hickok, Library Faculty, International Outreach Librarian, California State University Fullerton.

A good attendance of 758 participants made for the success of the conference, which included four foreign plenary speakers and two librarians from Malaysia. PLAI wishes to acknowledge the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts – National Committee on Libraries and Information Services (NCCA-NCLIS) and the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), our perennial partners for guidance and funding of our activities; our library associations, PLAI members and our valued sponsors for all the support.