Booklat Isip, Inc. (BII) is a non-profit organization that promotes a lifestyle of reading in order to build a nation of readers. They work with community partners to provide venues, reading materials, reading-related activities, support, and encouragement to members of communities in underprivileged areas. It is their goal to build community reading rooms – a Silid Booklatan – in every barangay in the Philippines.
MSC Institute of Technology, Inc. and Kiwanis Club of Buklod-San Pablo are community partners for Silid Booklatan-San Pablo City.
MSC high school and technical-vocational students regularly devote time to keep the Silid Booklatan premises clean and its wide array of reading materials organized while the Kiwanis Club of Buklod-San Pablo conducts education programs focusing on children 12 years and below. From December 2012 up to the present, the Kiwanians have been holding Read-Around-The-World projects and Big-School Readiness, and Math Remediation programs in Silid Booklatan-San Pablo City with neighborhood children as participants.
Silid Booklatan San Pablo is located inside the MSC Green Campus in Barangay San Gabriel, San Pablo City, Laguna. Architects from the UAP Diliman chapter designed its beautiful open-air-structure that blends in with the environment, and maximizes the natural light and ventilation. Definitely a place that will make you want to sit down and read! The main target reading audience is the elementary school children from public schools near MSC. Then secondary reading markets are the senior citizens looking for a place to hang out, and the moms with their 6-and-below kids.
“Silid Booklatan” is a play on the words “silid-aklatan” (room of books, or library in Filipino), and “buklat,” which means to open or turn pages of a book. With Silid Booklatan, Booklat Isip, Inc. hopes to open up a world of opportunities for people who otherwise may not have them. Their hopes are embodied in the tagline “Buksan ang isip, buksan ang mundo“—literally, open your mind, open the world.
Studies have clearly shown that better reading skills lead to better job opportunities and greater chances of success. Literacy is also linked to higher self-esteem. In surveys cited by the National Institute of Child Health and Development in the United States, about half of teens engaged in substance abuse and half of those with criminal records have poor reading skills. Reading encourages a curious mind, and helps build brain ‘muscle,’ develops creativity, and makes it easier to learn all throughout life. Reading gives an individual power and freedom.
It has been said that there is no progress for a nation that does not read, and the Philippines, despite its claim of one of the highest literacy rates in Asia, is tagged as a nation of non-readers. Several factors contribute to this, but two major ones are lack of access to appropriate reading materials, and lack of motivation to read, beyond any required reading.
These two reasons are what Booklat Isip aims to address.
Silid Booklatan in San Gabriel, San Pablo City
The first Silid Booklatan was opened in Barangay Fort Bonifacio on November 24, 2012 while the second one opened its (revolving) doors to the communities of San Gabriel, San Miguel, and San Bartolome in San Pablo City, Laguna on December 5, 2012. Silid Booklatan – San Pablo City started with only two donated bookshelves and kiddie tables and chairs, a loaned coffee table and chairs, and a couple of mats. After one and a half years, generous donors have donated thousands of books, hundreds of magazines, and a couple of shelves, tables and chairs.
The wide collection of storybooks, fiction and non-fiction books are mostly sent in from the United States. Books are collected from several public libraries and donors by Mrs. Mary Sabbatino of Mercy League, Mercy Medical Center, Rockville Center in New York and then shipped to the Philippines by Mr. Sergio Javier and Mr. Geng Prudente. To date, around 10 balikbayan boxes full of books were already received by Silid Booklatan-San Pablo City through the efforts of Mrs. Sabbatino, Mr. Javier, and Mr. Prudente.
Read more about Silid Booklatan: