A group of US Peace Corps volunteers who recently got a first-hand experience of the STARBOOKS praised the DOST’s first and only “library in a box” in the country as a very good “S& learning tool.”
In a visit to the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Ji Yusi of the US Peace Corps volunteers said, “It was awesome! Very easy to use and when you log in, it’s very easy to search with lots of videos and news, there’s a lot of information that people can use.”
A volunteer from Chengdu, China, Yusi said thatshe has never seen anything like the STARBOOKS, not in her hometown or in her country. “That is why we are here, we are learning from your experience,” added Ji.
STARBOOKS, acronym for Science and Technology Academic Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosk System, is an innovative product of STII aimed at bringing closer to communities with no or limited internet access a myriad of science and technology information gathered through the years by STII.
With the excitement already running high for the 11 visitors from the US Peace Corps, Louise Ian de los Reyes of the Information Resources and Analysis Division (IRAD) of STII gave the group a short backgrounder and updates on STARBOOKS. De los Reyes started off with the short history of STII, how STARBOOKS came about and the extent of its implementation with regard to deployment of STARBOOKS kiosks to different schools all over the country. According to de los Reyes, there are already 745 kiosks installed in different regions from Tuguegarao in the north to Davao in the south.
IRAD chief Rosie Almocera likewise gave a brief welcome message to the volunteers and encouraged them to create something similar to STARBOOKS that they can apply in their home countries.
“STARBOOKS is a unique innovation that provides our students even in far flung areas access to science and technology information that they can use for research projects and to upgrade their personal knowledge on various subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and other disciplines,” Almocera said. She further challenged the group to come up with their own versions of the STARBOOKS so that the vast wealth of information on science and technology can be shared to as many people as possible.
After the briefing, the volunteers navigated the STARBOOKS on their own so they can actually experience how it works.
“You can see how advance you are with STARBOOKS and how cutting-edge this is because in the U.S. internet is more prevalent we don’t see something like this that much and books are expensive,” said Elizabeth Karr, Peace Corps Librarian.
Karr added that the database resources are very expensive and she commends the institute for bringing the information to the communities who otherwise have no access to, transparent access that is right in front of them.
The immersion activity by the US Peace Corps was organized by the US Peace Corps national organization through the United States Embassy in Manila. The group was led by \Sheila S. Chan, Resource Coordinator of US Peace Corps Philippines.
“STARBOOKS is user-friendly and so easy to navigate; ideal for students and this encourages exchange of knowledge which you cannot find in just one place, you have to share it and that is, I think, what STARBOOKS is all about. You are not restricted by copyrights and knowledge is free-flowing, and a lot of people will benefit from this.”
At present, the US Peace Corps supports the development of the Philippines in three sectors, namely: environment, education and coastal resource management. Since 1961, some 8,000 volunteers from different countries have already served the Philippines in various capacities. (S&T Media Service)