Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Philippines Thanks USAID For 70,000 Books While Books Fair Tanks in U.S.

36,000 books were distributed last week to 50 school libraries in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and the City of General Santos in the Philippines.

As reported by Mindanao Magazine’s blogster, Mindanao Bob, book distribution was implemented by USAID’s Growth with Equity In Mindanao (GEM) in partnership with U.S.-based Children International Foundation. Through its Education Awareness Support Effort (EASE), the GEM Program has awarded 777 education matching grants, valued at more than $820,000, to the PTAs of schools in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict-affected areas in the island-region, and PTAs have contributed the same amount.

As reported in the Mindanao Examiner, the USAID, in partnership with the Asia Foundation’s Books For Asia program, recently distributed 35,000 new books to 740 public elementary and high schools across Lanao Del Sur province in an effort to expand and improve access to educational materials.

Officials from USAID and from The Asia Foundation, including Ky Johnson, Deputy Country Representative and Efren Balajadia, Director of the Books for Asia program, presented the books to representatives of the 740 elementary and secondary schools at the event.

“We are working in solidarity with local leaders and citizens to distribute books to all communities, but especially in Mindanao, so that all scholars - rich and poor, Muslims and Christians - have access to reading materials and information,” said Johnson. “Through this donation, the people of Lanao Del Sur will have access to educational resources that will enhance their knowledge and skills in order to promote literacy in every community.”

As reported yesterday on Book Patrol, the Library of Congress ninth annual National Festival of Books will take place this coming september 26, 2009, a major domestic effort to promote reading and an appreciation of books.

But in a further grim omen in an ongoing series of dire auguries, there was a lot of appreciation for books but not much buying at the Santa Monica Rare Book & Print Show this past weekend in Santa Monica, California. Not many attendants, either.

Booksellers held a séance to beckon the spirits of departed collectors but even the spirits weren't willing while the flesh was weak.

Organizers might just have well tipped the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, poured all the books into a cargo plane, and shipped them to Manila; dealers could have written off their books and fair costs as a charitable expense, taken the tax break, and earned a paper profit.

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