Love for reading still alive in Iriga
By Shiena M. Barrameda
IRIGA CITY — Eighty-one year-old Jesus Aure sat on the overstuffed chair at the Iriga City Library quietly reading a national broadsheet while a number of high school and college students milled around him, taking their own fill of the selection of books or using the standby computers and wireless internet service provided there.
Aure, like many Irigeños who regularly visit the library, takes full advantage of all the amenities given by the public library because reading to him is still very much part of his lifestyle even long after he retired from government service in 1992.
Meanwhile, on the far side of the library opposite Aure sat Aaron Pana, 20, revisiting the library which occupied a big chunk of his schooling days before he graduated from La Consolacion College Iriga City this year.
“I spent much of my spare time in college here with my friends and classmates,” Pana said, debunking some speculations and observations by members of the academe and librarians regarding the younger generation’s loss of interest with reading.
Both Pana and Aure, although separated by decades in age and cultural upbringing, said that reading books and newspapers is still a favorite, probably a primary, source of information over other more modern channels including the internet.
Pana, even at a young age, professed that he prefers reading newspapers or periodicals like Aure because aside from being informative, it is also a free source of entertainment for students especially during the time when he did not yet have the means to buy himself a laptop.
Aure, on the other hand, solely sees his reading routine as a way to increase his knowledge of current events in order to ready himself for intense debates and discussions he enjoys with local government officials of Iriga City. Being a former employee of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), he busies himself with cultivating vacant lots in the city and having healthy discussions on various political and governmental topics with councilors in his barangay and the city.
Flora A. Salvadora, OIC City Librarian of Iriga, said that she does not feel that the love for reading and gathering information through books and research is dwindling among the young basing upon the big number of students and young people she sees daily at the Iriga City Library.
Established in January of 2008, the Iriga City Library welcomes an average of 50-100 visitors per day into its many sections, the latest of which is the Noranian Collection devoted for actress Nora Aunor who is a native of Bicol.
The Noranian Collection was recently relocated to a bigger and more comfortable area within the building in order to accommodate the growing number of donated books, periodicals and films.
As of last count, the collection already has 127 books and periodicals, 66 DVDs and CDs about Aunor’s films and recorded songs.
Salvador estimated that at least around 75-80 percent of visitors of the library are students who are apparently not satisfied with internet search results
they get as answer to their homework.
She said that most of the students she catered to admitted that the fast and reliable internet can never replace the feeling of holding a real book and turning its paper pages on their hands. She also said that these students only choose to use sources from the internet in research if there is not much time for them to probe deeper into the shelves of the library.
“I think our students of today are not as lazy as most people portray them or believe them to be. They are just faced with stronger time pressures than we had before so they hardly have much time to read but whenever they have spare time, they still read books,” she said.
On the other hand, Pana, who believes much of his success as a student was due to the love of reading books and the public library, said that a lot of his peers prefer watching self-help or how-to videos on video sharing social network YouTube over reading real books.
Despite the easy access to internet and learning tools on the world wide web, Pana still believes reading real books is the real key to self-development.
“As a youth, I believe young people should really read,” Pana said. “Reading develops good grammar and it teaches us the value of hard work.”