The Visayas Consortium for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Program (ViCARP), hosted by Visayas State University, received a digital library package named STARBOOKS on May 25, 2018 at the regional office of the Department of Science and Technology in Palo, Leyte.

STARBOOKS, short for Science and Technology Academic and Research-based Openly Operated Kiosk System, was developed by Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) under DOST. It is dubbed as the first Science and Technology (S&T) digital library in the Philippines which is also a stand-alone information source designed to bring S&T information to the grassroots.

The technology aims to provide S&T-based educational and learning resources in various formats to geographically-isolated schools, local government units (LGUs), and line agencies throughout the country. Moreover, it seeks to enhance the educational competency of the students among the beneficiary schools.

Engr. Edgardo M. Esperancilla, Regional Director of DOST 8, stressed that the initiative of DOST-STII through STARBOOKS has evolved. Last year, the beneficiaries were purely schools, but now, it has included the LGUs and the Regional Line Agencies of Region 8. To date, DOST has distributed a total of 243 units to intended beneficiaries.
STARBOOKS contains the following: DOSTkarte Livelihood Videos, Interactive Science and Math Courseware, Disaster Mitigation, DOST Technologies, Educational Videos, DOST Publications, Library Materials, Philippine Men and Women of Science, and the Region 8 Interactive Information.

Engr. Florentino L. Quiñones, STARBOOKS Project Leader, highlighted the excellent features of the digital library, namely: (a) offline data-basing with an online back-up to render updates, (b) accessible to multiple users, and (c) more importantly, it is FREE.

STARBOOKS has received several national and international recognitions since 2015. It is a recipient of the 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for International Innovative Library Projects, 2017 Outstanding Library Program of the year, 2017 Gold in Anvil Awards for Public Relations Program, and Silver in the Anvil Award for Public Relations Tool: Multimedia/Digital.

“ViCARP is very grateful as a beneficiary because we can strengthen our services to our clients not only to the students but to the researchers, partner agencies, small and medium entrepreneurs and local farmers. We will strategically position the STARBOOKS unit at the Technomart and Technology Business Incubation Buildings since these two buildings are very accessible to all types of clients,” ViCARP Director Dr. Othello Capuno emphasized.

This project materialized through the Typhoon Yolanda Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (YRRP) Fund worth 12 million pesos.

Other beneficiaries who received the complete package of STARBOOKS during the turnover ceremony includes Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) Graduate School, Department of Education Biliran, Department of Trade and Industry Region 8 (DTI8), Philippine Information Agency Region 8 (PIA8), Sagkahan National High School, Nula Tula Elementary School, Go Negosyo Centers (Maasin, Tacloban, Catarman), Agro-Industrial School, and the Provincial Science and Technology Centers (Northern Samar and Biliran).