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Yolanda may have ravaged Region VIII in 2013, and Ruby destroyed in 2014 what was built from spoils, but the local's thirst for knowledge can not be crushed.

The biggest proof of this is the additional five units of STARBOOKS or Science and Technology Academic and Research-based Openly Kiosk Station turned over at Southern Leyte State University (SLSU) in Sogod, Southern Leyte to be deployed in Bontoc, San Juan, Hinunangan, and Tomas Oppus, all in Southern Leyte.

Developed by the Department of Science and Technology - Science and Technology Information Institution (DOST-STII), STARBOOKS is a one-stop-shop for S&T information that can be accessed without the aid of Internet. This digital library gives students and other interested individuals access to a wealth of digitized S&T information materials including books, journals, theses, dissertation, encyclopedia, and even livelihood videos that offer income opportunities.

Last year, Encyclopedia Brittanica was integrated in the STARBOOKS content to broaden its user base to include elementary and high school students.

"We are helping our fellows in Eastern Visayas to get back on their feet by providing technologies that are locally developed to support the continuous delivery of education especially during this stage of recovery," says DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.

Meanwhile, SLSU Vice President Lorelie Duarte said that STARBOOKS will help the students greatly since they can access quality full text references and other research materials that are relevant to their courses. SLSU offers four engineering courses and Graduate studies in Mathematics.

This is the second round of STARBOOKS installation after more than 40 units were installed in 2012. Consequently, the units were destroyed during typhoon Yolanda and following year, wreaking P48.79 billions worth of damaged infrastructure including schools and libraries.

"We understand that many reference materials are destroyed during the two typhoons in the last two years and we cannot do anything about that anymore," said DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund E. Liboro. "But what we can do is find solutions to these problems and keep our youth continuously pursuing their studies."

Southern Leyte is one of the most typhoon-visited provinces in the country. A number of typhoons pass through the province causing millions worth of damages and stalling classes during the monsoon season.

Librarians and personnel learn to operate STARBOOKS at the SLSU, Sogod, Southern Leyte through a brief training course handled by DOST-STII staff. STARBOOKS is poised to boost the state university's library collections of reference materials in science and technology. (Written by Joy M. Lazcano, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)

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