NBDB gathers educators, artists, writers, reading advocates in Philippines-first ‘Book Nook’ conference

CITY OF DAVAO—The National Book Development Board (NBDB) culminated on Saturday a gathering titled PANAGTAPOK, or the Book Nook Conference 2023, which converged over 80 Book Nook coordinators, trustees, and custodians nationwide to celebrate their best practices and plan together towards a more sustainable and more fruitful future for community-led reading centers.

In order to promote a love for reading and to nurture a reading culture in the Philippines, the NBDB has since 2021, through the leadership of our Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade and with the initiative of several communities nationwide, established Book Nooks, or reading and storytelling spaces in strategic sites within urban and remote locations across the nation.

“We are excited to have concluded PANAGTAPOK 2023,” said NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade. “This conference was a great opportunity for us to come together and share our experiences in building and sustaining Book Nooks. We are also grateful to the speakers and panelists who shared their expertise and insights on how to make the Book Nook Project even more successful.”

“We envision The Book Nook Project to be a positive force that empowers communities, both close and remote, to take up their role in cultivating and nurturing a reading culture by serving both as a catalyst for organized advocates of reading to establish and maintain reading centers and as a conduit for opportunities to improve positive reading behaviors for readers of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic standings,” Aquino-Tugade said.

This is the first time they have converged, since stewards of the nation’s Book Nooks have not met in person since the project’s inception in 2021. 88 Book Nook sites have been established so far in strategic locations across the Philippines, reaching 654,684 Filipinos across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao; and we are proud to say that we have trained hundreds of dedicated individuals, specifically 353 storytellers, 320 artists, and 225 custodians, to become stewards of their reading centers.

“We envision a future where there is a Book Nook in every community across the nation,” said Aquino-Tugade. “We believe that reading is essential for personal growth and development, and we are committed to making it accessible to everyone.”

The NBDB have since 2021 held a competitive application process, where hundreds of organized communities–such as NGOs, schools, libraries, and local government authorities–have signified their desire to nurture a love for reading in their locales. This is an application process wherein we gear them with the knowledge and know-how to run a functional reading center in their community, and they, in turn, show us they have the foundations and foresight through a site action plan to spur positive reading engagements in their community.

“The Book Nook Project is now in the process of moving towards a sustainable future for the project. We are in the process of developing the project into becoming a model in which local governments, schools, libraries, and other organized communities can replicate the best practices of the Book Nook. In the future, we envision that a Book Nook is built in every community across the nation–and within, a love for reading is nurtured; and nationwide, a reading culture is instilled in all of us, where Filipino-published books are well-read and well-loved. Please continue to support the Book Nook Project, especially when a site is present in your community,” Aquino-Tugade said. -END-