Libraries have played pivotal part in my student life. In high school, whenever we join interschool competitions, we use the library to review or train on whatever we’re competing for. In college, library is always our go-to place during vacant classes, exam weeks, and when we just want to read or borrow a good book. Now that I think about it, I haven’t gone to the library since I was a student. That’s like 3 years ago, and I really miss the feel and the quietness of it!.
Filipino readers are very passionate! You can see it with the long line of readers on book signings (be it local or foreign author), the growing number of Filipino bookstagramers, packed book fairs and book sale conventions, and more.
* Related article: Check JM of Book Freak Revelation’s post about 10 Reasons Why Filipino Bibliophiles Rock the Bookish Community
Unfortunately, even with that being said, it is evident that many readers are still struggling to access reading materials. For one, reading materials are not cheap! They are hella expensive, and even I mostly resort to used book and book sales.
This is why public libraries exists. There are numbers of public libraries in the Philippines, and you’ll be surprised by the number of books they house! You don’t own Lord of The Rings or the Harry Potter series? Try visiting the nearest public library in your area and check their selections.
I’ve listed down a couple of public libraries within the different part of the Philippines as part of the #Augvocacy2018, an advocacy about fostering a culture of reading in the Philippines. This is started by Shealea of The Bookshelf Bitch and you can visit her page to know more about this awesome advocacy.
Now, let’s dive in to the list!
National Library of The Philippines
Located at 1000 Kalaw Ave, Ermita, Manila, 1000 Metro Manila
Open from Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM
I have gone to National Library of The Philippines when I was doing my feasibility studies, probably in late 2013 or 2014. I haven’t gone since then, so I’m pretty sure that many things have already changed and improved including the facilities and selection of books.
NLP houses 1,678,950 items which includes collected books, journals, newspapers, magazines, databases, maps, sound and music recordings, prints, drawings, manuscripts, and more. This number was from 2008, so imagine how much more they’ve acquired 10 years later!
They also have a Library for the Blind Section which aims to help visually impaired researches. Computers, braille, and large print collections of books and audio books are free to use! Researches are also allowed to load out resources upon the approval of Division Chief.
Back then, a library card was needed in order to enter the library which costs P50 (membership). But in 2016, NLP has officially opened its doors to public for free. They also have an online catalog if you want to check their selection first before visiting.
Quezon City Main Public Library
The main is located at Quezon City Hall Compound Complex, Mayaman, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, 1100 Kalakhang Maynila. The library has several branches around the city including Project 7, Project 8, Batasan Hills, Novaliches, Lagro, Pasong Tamo, Payatas, and more.
Open Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM and Saturday 8AM to 4PM
Quezon City Main Public Library houses 18,131 books and 71 computers for public use (both Quezon City residents and non-residents) as of May 2017. Last year, photos of the newly renovated library circulated online which made buzzed because of the beautiful structure. interior, and well-lit facilities. Just by looking at the photos alone, I already feel cozy.
It kinda looks like a coffee shop on some spaces, and it’s surrounded by greens. I haven’t gone to this library, but I surely will. I want to think that it will make me feel like I’m one with books and nature. Ah! That feeling!
An online catalog is also available so you can check what they have in shelves.
Pasig City Library and Science Discovery Centrum
Located at Caruncho Ave, Pasig, Metro Manila
Open Monday (8AM to 5PM), Tuesday to Friday (8AM to 6PM)
Pasig City Library and Science Discovery Centrum houses 40,000 items including 50 computers that are open for public use. There are different sections in the facility.
First is the library which is also divided in three categories (children, high school, and college). I think this is really cool because that the items are organized based on students and age group. The facilities are also designed based on the student and age group (kids will enjoy their stay than get bored). Then, there’s the computer and internet section which can be used for an hourly fee (For Pasig residents, P10 per hour usage, P2 per print)
The Audio-Visual Multi-Purpose Hall can be used for different functions. You’ll need to send them a request letter to scheduled time and date. (P500 half day or less, P1000 whole day or less)
Finally, the most interesting part is The Science Discovery Centrum which is open to public viewing from Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM, except holidays.
Educational tours are scheduled and facilitated by a tour guide. Saturday tours are also accommodated upon prior request and approval. It reminds me of the science field trips we made in elementary school. Surely, visitors will enjoy this place. Fee are the following:
For Pasig residents:
- P30/day for adults (18 and above)
- P10/day for children (17 and below)
- P20/person for a group of 20 or more adults
- Less 20% in total fee for a group of 20 or more for children
For non-Pasig residents
- P50/day for adults (18 and above)
- P30/day for children (17 and below)
- P40/person for a group of 20 or more adults
- P20/person for a group of 20 or more for children.
For more information, you can visit their website: https://pasigcitylibrary.wordpress.com/
Ortigas Foundation Library
Located at 9, F Bldg. Ortigas, Ortigas Ave, Ortigas Center, Pasig, Metro Manila
Open Open from Monday to Saturday 8AM to 6PM
Do you love history? If yes, then you should visit Ortigas Foundation Library. This cozy place houses more than 20,000 items including books, periodicals, graduate theses, manuscripts, maps and loose documents relating to Philippine history, and more. It is one of the popular privately owned libraries in Metro Manila which is open to public. The entrance is free of charge, so schedule your visit now if you are close by.
Cebu City Public Library
Located at G/F, Rizal Memorial Library and Museum Bldg, Osmeña Blvd, Lungsod ng Cebu, 6000 Lalawigan ng Cebu
Open for 24 hours Monday to Sunday
When you search for public libraries in the Philippines online, it’s always a list of libraries only in Metro Manila. Provincial libraries are often left out and information is little to none. Now, moving outside Metro Manila, I found out about the first ever 24/7 open public library in the Philippines – the Cebu City Public Library. Also considered as a provincial branch of National Library of the Philippines.
Established in 1919, the library closed during the Second World War. Japanese Army turned the building into their headquarters. Books were either dumped, destroyed or stolen (heartbreaking!). But in 1953, it was reopened due to the uproar of public. In March 9, 2018, the library started its 24-hour operations, and became the first ever library to do so in the entire Philippines.
I can’t find any information about how many items it houses, but everyone can come for free, and there’s even a free WiFi access. That’s not only it! Coffee is allowed inside!
Angeles City Library & Information Center
Located at Santo Entiero St, Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines
Open Monday to Friday 8AM to 5PM
Angeles City Library & Information Center is situated in the heart of one of the busiest cities in Pampanga, a province in Central Luzon. In 2009, the library received 3rd place in country’s outstanding public libraries. In 2016, Philippines’ Outstanding Public Libraries awarded it 2nd place at the with Special Programs on Culture and the Arts by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and National Library of the Philippines. This city library also houses tourist and other cultural information about the city and the province. Numbers of galleries found inside that illustrates the Kapampangan culture and the notable Kapampangans.
Internet ng Bayan also provides a good one hour free internet access available to students who are conducting researches. There is an open air access in the library good for viewing heritage area, and a Chess Training facility in case you want to enjoy playing chess with other citizens.
University and College Libraries
If you are a student, you should check your school’s library (and maybe take advantage of it). When I was still a student, the library in my college department in University of the East Caloocan is always packed!
When my friends and I are part of the unlucky ones without seats inside, we just take a space outside the library near the staircase. We could have gone to another part of the school or look for an empty classroom, right? Yes, we do that sometimes when we know that we’re just going to hang out or tambay. But when we’re studying (for real), there’s something about the presence of the library that makes you want to stay because you know you can focus more in there. And of course, we also get to borrow fiction novels like Harry Potter series or Lord of The Rings!
Mostly, university and college libraries are open only to students and alumni. However, there are also university libraries that are open to public for a fee like University of San Carlos’ Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center which is also located in Cebu.
Provincial and City Libraries
In my research, I found out that almost every city in Metro Manila has an available city library, and each province a provincial library. I would have listed more specific libraries, but the sad thing is there is close to none information about these said small libraries.
The good thing is National Library of The Philippines’ website has a list of all the libraries in the Philippines. And believe me when I say there are TONS across the country.
If you want to check the nearest library in your area, just visit this link from NLP’s website. Your library quest begins here!
As part of #Augvocacy2018, Shealea is hosting a giveaway of a copy of The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly, open to PH and international participants. Join through the Rafflecopter widget below.
Have you gone to any of these libraries or any public libraries in your area? Let me know your experience in the comments!
Check the complete Augvocacy schedule below:
Erika is a freelance content writer and illustrator from the Philippines. She used to hate writing in high school, but later discovered that it is something that she’d enjoy doing. Asides from books. she also enjoys the presence of few art materials, camera for bookstagram, and other bookish merchandise, on her own fantasy realm.