Tanay, Rizal - The Rizal State University in this municipality beefed up its library which helped earn the approval of independent accrediting institution for State Universities and Colleges. The improvement in the state university’s library holdings was because of STARBOOKS or the Science and Technology Academic Research Based Openly Operated Kiosks.

The University of Rizal System (URS) main campus was accredited for its several undergraduate and graduate programs by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP) in part for its partnership with the Department of Science and Technology through the Science and Technology Information Institute’s (DOST-STII) STARBOOKS.

The accreditation was granted to URS for passing the AACCUP evaluation based on the parameters such as administration, personnel, book collections, library services, physical set-up and facilities, financial support, and linkages to other institutions. The accreditation serves as recognition for attaining a high level of excellence for an academic institution.

STARBOOKS, according to university personnel, was responsible in increasing the number of URS library collections especially those that are related to agriculture, science, and engineering.

The number of books in the library is among the parameters in which an academic institution is measured.

According to URS head librarian Dr. Elvira C. Prieto, the university budget for new book title acquisition was a measly P350,000 per semester. The main campus has more than 2,000 students enrolled in its campus, which means that URS allocates less than P500 per student in a semester for book acquisition.

But due to its linkage with DOST-STII, URS was able to raise the number of book collections and secure accreditation.

“Agriculture is our flagship program here in the main campus,” says Dr. Fe D. Batoon, director of RSU-Tanay Campus. “And because of STARBOOKS and our accreditation, our enrollees have increased significantly compared with previous years.”

STARBOOKS was able to add 30,000 more library contents on science and technology in various formats without connecting to the Internet. According to Lloyd Frederrick Mandapat, science research specialist at DOST-STII, “STARBOOKS is a stand-alone digital library. You can access all its data by going on-site, search the topics you want, and print it.”

The country’s first ever offline digital library also houses K-12 interactive courseware on math and science developed by the Science Education Institute of DOST.

It also contains video collections and livelihood videos dubbed as “TamangDOSTkarte”, which provides parents and some entrepreneurial students a thing or two on various livelihood opportunities within their sphere of interest.

Aside from these, the STARBOOKS team informed Prieto that STARBOOKS can now be accessed through smart phones via network access from the library computer server.

Users no longer have to queue in searching for topics; they can do that in the comfort of their smart phones within the premises of the library.

“Users do not need to wait for their turn to access STARBOOKS content,” explains Mandapat. “They just need to connect with the network and login.”

Benefits to students

With the sporadic slow phased Internet connection in Tanay, many students at URS prefer using STARBOOKS for their research.

According to them, researching for data and information for their theses were made easier with STARBOOKS. Dhen Frances Zorilla, a third year Human Resource Development student says that she often uses STARBOOKS for her thesis. “Kadalasan ko pong sinasaliksik ang mga impormasyon tungkol sa siyensya at teknolohiya para sa aming thesis,” said Zorilla.

On the other hand, Inah Jenine P. Alcance, a BS Financial Management student said that using STARBOOKS is easier compared with physical books. “Mas madaling gamitin ito kaysa sa libro dahil hindi mo na kailangang magbuklat ng maraming libro upang makuha mo ang impormasyon at datos na kailangan mo. Isearch mo lang at makikita mo na ang hinahanap mo.”

Furthermore, what differs STARBOOKS from an Internet search is that users are assured that sources of its content are credible.

“Most of our contents came from DOST’s library collections,” explains DOST-STII’s Nelly B. Agpawa. “That is why users are assured that they are getting the right information and data.”

Currently, the URS main campus has 10,890 book collections and with a total of 69,362 titles for all its 10 campuses in the province of Rizal.

And since STARBOOKS gave very good results in this state university, URS acquired additional three units of STARBOOKS and upgraded its previous seven units that are distributed to the 10 URS campuses.

Apart from this, URS is also active in its extension services bringing some Dumagat communities in Tanay to try STARBOOKS in their main campus and learn from its free livelihood videos.

As of April 2016, the science department has distributed 877 units of STARBOOKS since July 2011. DOST-STII aims to install STARBOOKS to every barangay in the country.

news rizal state u beefs up its library thru starbooks1 06012016
University of Rizal System head librarian Dr. Elvira C. Prieto recognizes STARBOOKS’ support to state-run universities as the latter maximize their meager allotment for new books. (Photo by Joy M. Lazcano, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)

news rizal state u beefs up its library thru starbooks2 06012016
The STARBOOKS team (from right) Lloyd Frederrick Mandapat, Vincent Tuyor, and Nelly Agpawa conduct seminar to library personnel of the University of Rizal System. (Photo by Joy M. Lazcano, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)

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