Community pantries are currently flourishing to provide mutual aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from sharing food, this type of outreach has evolved to fulfill different needs, such as giving out face masks, face shields, pet supplies, and other materials. To participate in this Bayanihan response, the UST Miguel de Benavides Library launched its online version of community sharing on May 3, 2021. The undertaking, which was titled “The Thomasian Community e-Resources Pantry: Click what you need, suggest titles for others to pick,” ended in June 30, 2021.
The initiative was the brainchild of Assistant Chief Librarian Ms. Diana V. Padilla and supported by the Library administrators, Prefect of Libraries Rev. Fr. Angel A. Aparicio, O.P., Chief Librarian Ms. Maria Cecilia D. Lobo, as well as the librarians and support staff.
This version of a community pantry was intended for leisure reading purposes of the Thomasian community, ultimately helping the users unwind, reduce stress, and cope with the current health crisis. In addition, this activity stimulated interest in reading and at the same time developed a concern for others’ information needs; promoted the library’s e-resources and increased its usage; and enhanced the library collections by asking for titles to be acquired.
The librarians were given a topic where they had to select at least 20 titles of electronic materials. The topics were: Arts, Sports, Health and Wellness, Self-help and Family, Crafts and Hobbies, Travels, Spiritual Life, and Literary. The accumulated titles, sorted by topic, were gradually posted on the library’s website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts every Monday and Thursday.
Any member of the Thomasian community was allowed to access the e-resources pantry as long as they had their active UST Gsuite email and library accounts. The titles were retrievable via Google Drive where users had to select their preferred title from the list provided. Some e-books were downloadable while others were loanable for five days; articles were also downloadable, while videos were available for live streaming only via its designated platform.
In a manner of paying it forward, users were encouraged to suggest title/s for others to read, watch, or listen to by accomplishing the form “Suggested Titles.” The availability of the titles submitted was checked prior to sharing with the community. If the suggested materials were unavailable, they were assessed for approval and possible purchase.