In a ceremony marking the 21st Library and Information Services Month, the NCCA’s National Committee on Library and Information Services (NCLIS) awarded Arizza Ann Sahi Nocum, administrator of the Kristiyano-Islam (KRIS) Peace Library, “for her exemplary and invaluable contributions in the field of library and information services by building libraries, distributing books and promoting reading to underserved children.”
The Philippine Librarians Association Inc. (PLAI) joined the NCCA-NCLIS and the NLP in giving the certificate of recognition to Nocum for playing a key role in her Christian-Muslim parent’s advocacy to distribute books, grant scholarships, provide free use of computers and build libraries in conflict areas in Mindanao since 2001.
In presenting the award, National Library of the Philippines Director Antonio M. Santos noted how three of the five Kris Peace Libraries are built in conflict areas in Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) strongholds in Zamboanga Sibugay and a known Abu Sayyaf jump-off point in Zamboanga City.
“Young Arizza is not a professional librarian, but she is a role-model for all librarians,” Santos said, recalling a picture he saw at the Kris Library website (www.krislibrary.com) where Arizza was shown giving a speech to kids during a book-donation program when she was seven years old.
He also lauded Nocum for becoming the first Filipina to win the prestigious Zonta International Young Women for Public Affairs (YWPA) Award and donating part of her US $4,000 prize for the expansion of the Kris Library in a slum area in Quezon City.
Arizza received a plaque and books, with Santos offering to give six more boxes of books from the Asia Foundation for the libraries of Kris, including one to be built soon in Basilan.
In her acceptance speech, Arizza praised the organizers of the event led by NCCA Chair Felipe M. De Leon Jr., NCLIS Vice Head Marilou P. Tadlip and PLAI President Thelma S. Kim for their continuing effort to make libraries attractive, relevant and responsive to the needs of the reading populace as “builders of our nation.”
“This event has been an eye-opener. What the youth needs today is to hear something like this. To hear that libraries are important, that books are important; that reading, that learning is essential to progress,” she said.
Annora Sahi-Nocum, Kris Library Co-Founder
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