US Peace Corps volunteers took time off from their duties to know about Starbooks, a digital science library developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII).
In a presentation at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Silang, Cavite, the volunteers saw how Starbooks, which means Science and Technology Academic Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks, contains tons of science and technology (S&T)-related materials in text, audio, and video formats from local and international sources.
As the first digital science library in the Philippines, it has a user-friendly interface and requires no Internet connection, making it ideal for areas with little or no Internet connectivity.
The Starbooks presentation was part of the Peace Corps In-Service Training, which aimed to help equip participants with awareness and knowledge of various e-learning tools and programs in the Philippines which they may adopt in their respective schools in the country. Peace Corps volunteers are assigned to teach in various schools across the archipelago.
In his presentation, STII Information Resources and Analysis Division Chief Alan Taule said that STARBOOKS was developed to generate greater interest among the country’s youth on science and technology (S&T), deemed as a leading driver of economic growth.
Taule added that STII continuously updates the content of STARBOOKS. Its latest features include an interactive video courseware and K-12 materials, videos on livelihood opportunities, and materials on disaster risk management. These include the RED Book by DOST’s Project NOAH, a reference guide for emergency and disaster.Among others, the RED Book features DOST-PHIVOLCS’ “How Safe Is My House” checklist for earthquake safety of concrete hollow block houses in the country and emergency hotline numbers, among others. Also included is DOST-PAGASA’s series of videos for disaster readiness dubbed BLTB, or bagyo, tsunami, lindol, at baha. BLTB serves as an easy instruction guide for the public to prepare themselves for typhoons, earthquakes, tidal waves or tsunamis and floods.
Starbooks also contains books, magazines, journals, scientific and research papers on various S&T subjects and fields of specialization, and Britannica Ultimate Encyclopedia.
It is a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Library Program of the Year Award by the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians and the prestigious American Library Association Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects in June 2015.
Taule’s presentation was followed by a demonstration of Starbooks by STII Science Research Specialist II Robelyn Cruz to familiarize Peace Corps Volunteers with how to access and use the e-library.
Since its launching in June 2012, Starbooks has had a total of 853 installations in schools, public libraries, and other government agencies in every region of the Philippines.