STARBOOKS, the first digital science library developed by Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII), will receive the American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects.
The Science & Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk Station or STARBOOKS will receive the award on June 29, 2015 at the International Librarians Reception to be held at San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, California, USA. ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information and advocacy resources for members, librarians, and library users.
According to the official announcement from the ALA, STARBOOKS was recognized for “making science and technology materials available to the general public in remote areas that have few information resources, no libraries and little or no Internet connectivity.”
Envisioned to bridge the gap in access to science and technology information especially in geographically isolated areas, STARBOOKS made its debut in 2011. Each STARBOOKS unit called “pod” contains thousands of materials in text, video and audio formats—featuring topics on food and nutrition, health and medicine, energy, environment, and livelihood technologies among others.
In 2013, STARBOOKS beefed up its content with the integration of Britannica offline made possible through STII’s partnership with Thistle International Inc., the official distributor of Britannica.
Many schools and LGUs have seen the wisdom of STARBOOKS: not only will it bring wealth of information for their students/constituents, but also it is easier to maintain, financially speaking. A kiosk costs one computer (hardware) which is the LGU’s or school’s counterpart, and all the contents are free, including the upgrade or added materials.
Currently, STARBOOKS units are installed in all the regions in the country, with a total of 635 sites and counting.
STARBOOKS first got international attention when Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro presented it during Government Libraries Section parallel session of the 2014 International Federation of Libraries/Associations World Library and Information Congress.
Impressed by STARBOOKS’ innovativeness, Joan Weeks, Librarian at Library of Congress, one of the delegates to the event nominated the project for ALA Presidential Citation.
STARBOOKS, along with three other recipients was selected by a team of IRRT members in consultation with ALA President Courtney L. Young.
According to a press statement released by ALA, Athena Michael, chair of the selection committee, says that “these projects, nominated by members of the international library community, reflect innovative approaches to creating and delivering sustainable library services.”
Users on STARBOOKS
While the ALA citation is an affirmation of the project’s worthiness, the testimonies from users best show STARBOOKS’ importance.
Rosemarie S. Bohol of Mabinay Science High School, Negros Oriental says that STARBOOKS is a great help to Mabinayanons since all secondary schools in their municipality do not have existing library. “STARBOOKS facilitate easy access to breakthroughs and updated science and technology information,” she added.
Jetson Villareal of Atimonan, Quezon commented, “This (STARBOOKS) is a great way to enjoy researching because of easy and reliable search engine that makes people love to read and study more.”
As of December 2014, STARBOOKS has served more than175,944 students; 6,040 faculty members; and 362 communities/schools.
These numbers are expected to increase as STII will soon partner with the Department of Education for the deployment of STARBOOKS in public schools all over the country. (Ma. Luisa S. Lumioan, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)