By Gina de Alwis Jayasuriya*
(27 Dec 2021) At the 10th A-LIEP conference Apple Jusayan and Rhea Rowena Apolinario of the School of Library of Information Studies, University of the Philippines – Diliman, presented a paper on Developing a Makerspace for the Marikina Public Library: A Journey in Artisan Shoemaking. The authors’ vision is for a different kind of makerspace – a space that would help rebuild and strengthen the key local industry, the mainstay of the local economy.
Makerspaces according to American Libraries have fundamentally taken a technological leap forward from the knitting, sewing and quilting circles traditionally associated with libraries and allow users to learn and tinker with much flashier and more expensive digital tools. Over the past few years many public and academic libraries have implemented makerspaces to facilitate the development of ‘makers’ and creators, to spark innovation, and to foster community engagement around education.
The City of Marikina has a rich history and its main trade is shoemaking. Most of the companies engaged in shoemaking are family-owned businesses and the current generation of sons of sapateros or local shoemakers, now in their fifties, acquired their knowledge from trade secrets passed through generations. Unfortunately, the shoe industry seems to be a dying industry. The City of Marikina persists in its campaign to support shoemaking to maintain Marikina’s legacy as the shoe capital of the Philippines and to groom the next generation of shoemakers and artisans.
The Marikina Public library often ranked among the best in Metro Manila is located on Shoe Avenue near most of the shoe stores and related establishments. The library holds a collection of resources on shoemaking. The development of a makerspace in the Marikina Public Library dedicated to shoemaking would create an ideal opportunity to reach out to and engage with the community; generate interest in and encourage students and hobbyists to learn the craft; and, eventually address the concerns relating to the shortage of skilled workers in the industry.
The paper details the development of the proposed makerspace and outlines a series of sample shoemaking activities that can be offered in the makerspace. The authors have also compiled a list of materials, tools and equipment that can be made available in the makerspace at the Marikina public library to complement the shoemaking courses.
The proposal is a bold and forward-looking initiative. If carried through, it may pave the way for a community of practice (CoP) to evolve that would facilitate collaboration amongst the stakeholders for the revival of the shoe industry. It may also help forge relationships in the city and community leading to stronger social cohesion. Eventually it could also serve as a rich intersection for citizens of Marikina City and those outside the community in other cities to evolve into a support network.
The Asia-Pacific Library and Information Education and Practice (A-LIEP) Conference is a biennial international conference for discovery, collaboration, and acknowledgement of the unique flavour of LIS in the Asia-Pacific region. The 10th Conference held from October 21-22, 2021 focused on the theme Crossroads of Information, Human Rights, Social Justice, and Equality was organised and co-hosted by
- Library & Information Science Program, University of Hawaii,
- School of Library and Information Studies, University of the Philippines,
- School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington,
- Graduate Institute of Information Studies, National Taiwan Normal University,
- Department of Library Science, Chulalongkorn University, and
- Wee Kim Wee School of Information and Communication, Nanyang Technological University
and sponsored by the Philippine Librarians Association.
Interested in reading the full paper? Email [email protected] to request a copy.
*Dr. Gina de Alwis Jayasuriya is an Independent Researcher with over four decades of experience in academic and special libraries in Singapore and Sri Lanka. She is very passionate about promoting continuing professional development (CPD) and lifelong learning to library professionals and advocates upskilling and reskilling to stay relevant. In 2019, she launched a research project on “Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for LIS Professionals in selected Asian Countries” which is ongoing. She holds a PhD in Information Studies from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has presented at numerous conferences and has several publications to her credit. She resides in Singapore. Email: [email protected].