Ms. Catalina Samoy Barte is our School Teacher Librarian, the driving force that runs both libraries for Elementary and Secondary students at SNA Marianapolis. Coming from a rich, long-standing background in librarianship in the Philippines, Ms. Catalina makes sure to pull out all the stops to bring all students closer to reading and learning.

A Passion Ignited And Kept Burning

Librarianship seems to come naturally to Ms. Catalina. In fact, it runs in her family, starting with her mother as a Filipino teacher, her father as a Music teacher, and her aunt as a Librarian. It was in her Secondary school that she encountered the book Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, gifted by her aunt. That enchanted moment has changed her life forever. She was eager to bring the book to her English Literature class’ activity called “Dear Time,” which required the students to drop everything and focus on reading. Such was a rewarding time for her and her classmates as with the high school’s rigor, they had to sacrifice pleasure reading with academic reading and study. It was then that her love for books was ignited, and it keeps burning until today.

“Everything begins with reading.”

Now, in her role as the School Teacher Librarian, Ms. Catalina takes every chance to cultivate the same love for reading in our students. “Everything begins with reading. When you are a reader, you are independent learners and empowered global citizens. Reading allows you to gain more knowledge, and thus, more choices.”

She continues to share how this challenge is taken on, “Firstly, we provide them with a variety of materials, ranging widely in terms of genres, contents, and media. Secondly, we need to make sure the materials offered are diverse in interest areas so that anything capturing the current generation’s attention can be found in our collection. Thirdly, students should be encouraged to read at home as much as they are at school. I recommend that parents can either read TO them or read WITH them. Reading should never stop within the classroom or the library.”

At SNA Marianapolis, reading is actively endorsed among the Elementary students – who are at the golden age for cultivating beneficial habits. The Elementary curriculum dedicates a separate period each week to library time with the aim of teaching students the proper and optimal library use as well as expand their social, communication skills. These library hours also align with the school’s academic goals of training students to be critical thinkers as skills obtained thereby lead to higher order thinking skills even at a young age.

Another method adopted by the library team and the Elementary school is Raz Kids, a platform with thousands of reading materials in diverse content areas catering to different reading levels from Grade K to Grade 5. There, our Homeroom teachers select and assign stories to students to read and then complete the affiliated activities, both in class and at home with parental guidance. Every few months, the library team tally the data in Raz Kids and celebrate the students with the highest reading records. This little competitiveness nudges the students to a habitual and motivated reading routine as part of their learning process.

Who says the library has to be boring?

The library team, consists of Ms. Catalina and the library assistants – Ms. Nhi and Ms. Nhan, is beloved for their thematic book displays that relate to the school’s current curriculum and activities. For example, around the Women’s Day celebration, the Secondary library has an impressive display of books about gender equality, significant female scientists, or literature written by female authors. With each display, the team successfully draws attention to the ongoing events or celebrations as well as present what the library has in store to cater to different reading styles and interests.

Thanks to the library team’s deftness and creativity, these clever book selections always couple with exquisite decoration and arrangement that also follow the theme to the T, tempting not only students but also faculty to browse the collection or take a photo with it in the background. It has proved to be one of the most popular stops on campus. Who says the library has to be boring?

To further challenge the prejudice against the library as a mundane environment, Ms. Catalina advocates the modern global idea that the library is a creative and common learning space for students. To clarify, students have ownership of the space to flexibly carry out activities of their choice, from individual reading and studying, to group discussion, and video shooting for class projects. Obviously, this ranges from acquiring passive knowledge to applying it to create products and solve problems.

Students also have major say in shaping the library’s collection as the team continuously seek their feedbacks regarding new trends and culturally sensitive topics. Students are the co-operators of the library program at its finest.

That modern model was the perfect segueway to our conversation surrounding the library’s vision for development.

The Library Of Growth

“Digitalizing the library is the way to go first.” Ms. Catalina opens up about her plan for the future. For now, as a new school, we aim to first and foremost provide the students with the basic foundation of library service. Once they grasp the basics, they can all level up until a point where they are able to freely navigate the library database both physically and digitally.

Nevertheless, when it comes to the library’s advancement, Ms. Catalina visions show a stronger grip to students’ accomplishments and growth than that of the library’s facilities and structures. “Our goal is for students to become responsible consumers, sharers, and creators of information.” That is, they will learn how to filter and share truthful factual information and make proper decisions as a result. Such a skill is crucial in this day and age of false news and misleading information.

The movement towards a digital library also points back to the school’s student-centered spirit. With the goal of educating students to be critical thinkers and informed users, the library strives to subscribe to a vast range of credible, prestigious electronic database platforms such as Emerald, JSTOR, EBSCO, and Science Direct. Such addition means students can familiarize themselves with the same databases used by most other institutions in the world and hence maximize their learning and research experience on an international level. Leading up to and in addition to the use of such resources, students can attend various workshops and trainings to build up skills such as paraphrasing, plagiarism, and digital citizenship which prove useful well beyond the library context.

The Greatest Gift Of All For A Librarian

After a year of being the School’s Teacher Librarian, Ms. Catalina realizes that it is a process to instill the love of reading in students, and so, when the students finally show their passion for reading and learning, that would be the greatest fulfilment for a librarian. “There is nothing that could bring more pleasure than seeing a student being excited coming to the library.”

“It is not just in school; you also have a lot of things to learn in life. We are just happy to meet new kinds of people every day and every school year in the library. Then, it is our turn to become learners and adjust ourselves and our program in each encounter. That’s the gist of why we love what we do. The only thing that is permanent in this world is change, and our job surely is everchanging.”

For more information about the teacher and curriculum, please kindly contact our Admissions via Hotline at 0932 083 886 or fill out the form below:


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