Category - MicSem

Reopening the Doors of MicSem
Elsa’s Funeral at Mindinao

Reopening the Doors of MicSem

For nearly four decades Micronesian Seminar (usually known as MicSem) was the center of my life. As we went about our mission of promoting public discussion and reflection on key issues in Micronesian life, we managed to build up a library. Over the years it grew from a few shelves of books on the islands to an internationally recognized collection with 24,000 print titles, 82,000 historical photos, 800 videos, and 22,000 audio tracks.

When MicSem operations ended in 2012, its library was moved from Pohnpei to Chuuk for safekeeping, but was only last year relocated to Yap, where it is now laid out in a beautiful new building on the campus of our Catholic high school there. The treasured collection has been saved; now it needs to be opened to the public, whether walk-in visitors or on-line.

For the on-line guests, we have updated the MicSem website so that they can easily search the contents and let the librarian know what they need.  After all, the value of our library depends on broad public access to an actively maintained collection that continues to document Micronesia’s history while offering people the materials we developed in our 40 years of public education work.

To fully reopen, MicSem library needs operational funds to see it through its first year—funds that will be used to purchase a few scanners and some basic office equipment, along with the salary of our former librarian so that she can instruct her replacement during the transition year. The amount we estimate needing is in the area of $35,000. I should add that Habele, a US-registered non-profit with a great track record in this part of the world, has agreed to a 2-to-1 match from its own endowment for any donations we receive.

So here I am again, as so often in the past, asking for your help. But this time it’s not to assist us as we carry on our operations; it’s to ensure that what we tried to do over those years might continue to survive and reach those who can profitably use it over the years to come.

Elsa’s Funeral at Mindinao

On April 12, very early in the morning, I left Guam to attend the funeral of of Elsa Veloso, the “co-founder of MicSem” and a dear friend over the thirty years of her work with us. After seven hours at the airport in Manila, I caught a flight to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. There I was met by my old friends Danny and Arlene Dumantay, along with Elsa’s niece Melba. It was dinner time and we all had so much catching up to do that we decided to spend the night in the city and make the three-hour drive to Kinoguitan, Elsa’s hometown, the next day.

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