Two schools in Bataan Province with no Internet connection in their remote areas have been provided with groundbreaking science and technology (S&T) research tools for their students, courtesy of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The research tool, dubbed STARBOOKS or Science and Technology Academic Research-based Openly Operated Kiosks, is the first digital science library in the Philippines. It contains tons of resources in text, audio, and video formats from local and international sources. Developed by experts from DOST’s Science and Technology Information Institute (STII), STARBOOKS does not require Internet connection and has a user-friendly interface.

Its latest beneficiaries are two satellite campuses of the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) located in the third-class municipalities of Bagac and Abucay where there are no landlines and Internet connection. The Bagac campus, composed of 200 students, does not have a library for its elementary students. Its high school department has a library but with limited resources.

Library and MIS personnel from the two schools attended the recent STARBOOKS orientation and training conducted by STII staff at the BPSU Main Campus in Balanga City to acquaint themselves with STARBOOKS, recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Library Program of the Year Award by the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians.

“Children today need quick access to information. So we really need this in our campus since we have no Internet connection because of our school’s remote location,” said Marieta G. David, college librarian at the Abucay campus. “They no longer have to go to town to use the Internet for their research, especially for their subjects in agriculture, fisheries, agro-forestry, and others.”

Bagac campus librarian Rowena R. Mamangon agreed. “Internet connectivity is a problem in our place. So I believe STARBOOKS will be of great help not just to our students but also to the entire community. They, including those who want to do business, can access materials such as livelihood videos,” she said.

According to DOSTs’ Provincial Science and Technology Director for Bataan Rosalie V. Ona, it is DOST’s aim to upgrade students’ research resources and capabilities and improve their knowledge in science and math since these are among their waterloo.

Meanwhile, BPSU Director for Student Services Dr. Perla B. Estrella expressed her hope that DOST’s digital science library will help strengthen their students’ technology education and prevent the university from lagging behind in terms of tech learning.

STARBOOKS also contains books, magazines, journals, scientific and research papers, Britannica Ultimate Encyclopedia, disaster preparedness materials, interactive courseware, supplement materials for K-12, and others.

In June 2015, STARBOOKS also earned the nod of the international community when it was awarded with the American Library Association Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects.

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Marieta G. David, college librarian at the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) Abucay campus samples STARBOOKS during the “Orientation and Training on Utilization of STARBOOKS Digital Library” at the BPSU Main Campus in Balanga City, Bataan.

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