February 16, 2018

Ma. Lorna Eguia | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Community Builders



American Corner Librarian, University of San Carlos Library System, Cebu City, Philippines

MSLS, University of San Carlos, 2010

ow.ly/JJnK0; facebook.com/americancornerusc; facebook.com/booksinbags

Photo by Joecel Studio


Ma. Lorna Eguia, a librarian at the American Corner library at the University of San Carlos in the Philippines, was just getting her new mobile library, literacy, and storytelling service, Books in Bags (BiB), off the ground when Typhoon Haiyan swept through the country in early November 2013. When her family was evacuated, Eguia grabbed a kit from BiB along with other emergency supplies. The stories and origami materials BiB contained offered a welcome treat for the children in the shelter where Eguia stayed for two days while the weather raged outside.

By the time the storm died down, more than 6,000 had died and countless homes had been destroyed.

Eguia immediately rallied volunteers to ramp up her program so she could bring children displaced by the storm a dose of what she calls “bibliotherapy.” Having held countless storytelling workshops and seminars, Eguia was already armed with an arsenal of storytelling techniques designed to capture kids’ attention that she terms H.I.T.: stories to HEAL emotion, soul, and spirit; to INSPIRE in spite of disasters; and to TRANSFORM the mind-set of children and their families.

Eguia’s other focus is her city’s crumbling library infrastructure. In 2012, Eguia partnered with a librarian from the Cebu City Public Library to reach out to librarians in Cebu City’s 80 barangays, or districts. Many of these Barangay Reading and Information Centers, or BRICs, are run by workers with little if any formal training who are expected to provide child care and other services beyond the usual scope of libraries as well. In addition to a series of capacity-building seminars, they launched a contest to find the best-performing libraries in 2013. Eguia’s outreach efforts and the awards she gave to outstanding local BRICs garnered the attention of local officials who pledged support and have already set aside money for training.

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.



  1. This is something new and admirable. What great work and a whole world of difference you have brought to the underprivileged and the less fortunate.

    I say congratulations to you indeed you are a true Mover and Shaker!!!!!


    Hosea Tokwe