Student Reading Center
- Community Growth
The Student Reading Center project is a library development project for the Volunteer's local school that aims to address the ongoing issues revolving around illiteracy and the low reading competences among the learners. The project entails the creation of a physical library as well as the establishment of appropriate library services that the local community can utilize. The idea for the Student Reading Center project was first introduced as a need by the parents during a Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA) session. Since then, the school community has been in full support of the project. The school has committed first and foremost a space in the soon-to-be-finished building for the library as well as garnished support from the General Parent Teacher Association (GPTA) to assist with any necessary labor to prepare the space. Through providing the necessary space and services, the school hopes to foster a love of reading among its students as well as improve the overall reading capabilities of the student population. The new library will function as not only a space to store, maintain and access reading materials but also as an area where students would want to come and read during their free time. Giving students ample opportunities to read at an early age will help encourage students to foster their love of reading. Moreover, school staff plan to hold the existing remedial reading program in the new library, as the program currently lacks a suitable space to hold its classes.
The library development project idea originally bloomed from a Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA) session held with the parent representatives of the local school. After a Needs Assessment and Priority Ranking activity, the parents identified the development of a library as the most pressing need for the community. Since that moment, the General Parent Teacher Association (GPTA) has been in full support of the project and has promised to provide their services to help clean and prepare the library space. In addition, they have pledged to help with future fundraising events and supply drives for the project. With this in mind, the U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer and her counterpart, initiated the process of the project design at the Peace Corps Project Design and Management Workshop in February 2019. Once the initial draft of the project design was created, the project was proposed to the principal of the school, and was quickly endorsed as an important project for the school. The principle showed the school’s commitment to this project by committing to provide a proper space for the library within the soon-to-be-finished, renovated building on school grounds. The building is one of many school buildings built during the American colonization period that symbolizes the first foundation of the Philippine public school system. Today, they are recognized as heritage buildings, and thus many have undergone the restoration process. This new classroom will provide ample space to maintain the books and other learning materials. In addition, it will provide a welcoming space for students to come and read in their free time as well as provide a respectable learning environment to hold the remedial reading classes. Many of the teachers of the school have been working at the school for many years and most of them tend to stay within the school until their retirement. For instance, the counterpart of the Peace Corps Volunteer, has been working at the school for over 10 years but still is far away from reaching retirement eligibility. The trend for teachers to stay at the local school ensures that the community will support the project until its completion as well as the sustainability of the project beyond the completion. Moreover, the students have been an integral part of the project design. During the PACA session with students, the student representatives participated in a co-creation session regarding the library development project. The students were asked to draw out what they wanted the library to look like, and their inputs were taken into consideration when designing the layout of the library in the hopes of bolstering the ownership of the new library. Lastly, there already exist several commitments made by school alumni in the form of book donations for the new library.
The Student Reading Center Project will be a project that the community can easily sustain. Once the initial setup funds of the library are procured, maintenance and operational cost of the library will be covered by school funds. In terms of managerial sustainability, a library committee as well as a “little librarians” committee will be trained to support, manage and run the operations of the library. They will also be responsible for sharing their knowledge with the rest of the school community to ensure that the library will be taken care of throughout the years. The library committee will consist of several teachers to ensure that not one individual is responsible for the library, warranting that the library will be continuously overseen and taken care of. Finally, “Love Our Library” workshops will be implemented with every class to ensure that all students and teachers will be oriented on the proper care of books and the library space. In terms of monitoring, all the steps of this project will be closely monitored by the principal to ensure that all the steps are done in a proper and timely manner. Appropriate reports of budgets, trainings, meetings, and library usage data will be conveyed to the principal for accountability. The library usage data that will be collected after the completion of the project will be used to carefully evaluate whether the library is being utilized for its intended purposes or not. The data will cover information on what times the library is frequently used, what activities are held in the library, how many students are utilizing the library, and how many teachers are utilizing the library.