By Edel Valera-Cayetano
“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” – E.B. White
All over the world, public libraries have become permanent structures in almost every city. Sadly, in the Philippines – even in Manila – these gems-of-a-places have become underrated except maybe for college students making their theses and dissertations.
Kindles, Kobos and other E-readers are also becoming increasingly popular. But as every true blue bookworm would claim, there’s nothing like caressing the hardbound cover of a book, taking in its scent and opening its first few pages. There is magic that can only be found in books, and thankfully, we have more than a few public libraries that house thousands of collections.
Here are a few public libraries that you should visit soon – with family, friends or by yourself.
Major public libraries:
Cultural Center of the Philippines Library
3rd Floor, CCP Building, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Official website: http://culturalcenter.gov.ph
The CCP Library boasts of its collection of Filipiniana books on various forms of art and culture. As one of the oldest institutions in the country, the library holds special accounts on the origins of Philippine Literature, theater arts, music and dance. It also houses paintings, zarzuelas, manuscripts and photographs from national artists.
Manila City Library
Mehan Garden (near Central Colleges of Manila), Ermita, Manila
Housing a total of 17,500 titles, this city library has become a favorite study place for students reviewing for the Bar exams as it has several collections of law books. It recently created a special Manileña section.
Quezon City Public Library
Mayaman Street, Barangay Central, Quezon City (Main Branch)
Open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 8am to 4pm
Official website: www.qcpubliclibrary.org
One of the largest public library in Metro Manila, the Quezon City Public Library is composed of a main library located at the back of Quezon City Hall and 21 libraries scattered all over Quezon City. The main library collection boasts of more than 18,000 books and 71 computer stations for OPAC, encoding and internet available free of charge to QC residents.
Pasig City Library and Discovery Centrum
Caruncho Avenue, San Nicolas, Pasig City
Open on Mondays, 8am to 5pm, and from Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm
Official website: http://pasigcitylibrary.wordpress.com
Spot describes the Pasig City Library as “every geek’s research haven.” Its reference sections are already categorized for children, high school and college students for easy access to subjects relevant to them. Guests are also encouraged to tour the Science and Discovery Centrum located at the second floor of the building.
Marikina City Library
West Grandstand, Marikina Sports Park, Shoe Avenue, Bgy. Sta. Elena, Marikina City
Open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
Official website: http://marikina-library.weebly.com
The Marikina City Library consists of several sections:
- Children’s Section, which is designed to meet the informational and entertainment needs of children through sixth grade;
- Special Collection Section, which showcases reading materials on Marikina’s shoe industry and other fields and those produced by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the National Center for the Welfare of Disabled Persons;
- Periodical Section
- Recreational Section, which houses novels, children’s literature, fiction and non-fiction materials;
- Teens’s Section, which features selections on teen literature;
- Law and Governance Section
- Computer Section
- Reference Section
- Filipiniana Section
- General Collection
- Audio Visual Room
Privately-owned libraries open to the public:
Goethe-Institut Manila, G/F Adamson Center, 121 Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Open Monday to Friday, 12nn to 6pm and Saturdays, 8am to 1pm
Official website: www.goethe.de/ins/ph
Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. It conveys a comprehensive picture of Germany by offering information on Germany’s cultural, social and political life in the hope of fostering international cultural cooperation.
The library offers books, newspapers, magazines, films and music CDs on topics like art, architecture, design and more. With cozy nooks perfect for reading and browsing, fans of German culture will surely keep coming back.
Access to the library is free of charge but only members are allowed to borrow books. Membership costs Php300 for students and Php500 for adults.
Filipinas Heritage Library
Makati Avenue, Ayala Triangle, Makati City
Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9am to 6pm
Official website: www.filipinaslibrary.org.ph
The Filipinas Heritage Library is a one-stop research center in the country. Managed by the Ayala Foundation, Inc., it houses over 13,000 contemporary volumes on Philippine history, art, language, religion and the social sciences, and over 2,000 rare titles, rare books on microfiche, maps, and an extensive library of slides and photographs.
Spot also suggests checking out the written works of and about former President Elpidio Quirino and our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Alliance Francaise de Manille
209 Nicanor Garcia Street, Bel-Air II, Makati City
Open from Monday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm
Official website: www.alliance.ph
Alliance Francaise de Manille (AFM) is a non-profit cultural organization that aims to promote French language and culture. In its multimedia library, you will discover a wide range of novels, comic, DVDs, CDs and magazines from reference documents to contemporary publications. Its doors are open to everyone – members and non-members alike.
The library’s extensive collection of titles features books from Francophone and also other foreign authors, a specialized collection (Arts, culture, philosophy), periodicals and a special section called the French Language Learner’s Library.
The Lopez Museum and Library
G/F Benpres Bldg., Exchange Road Corner, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Open Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm
Official website: http://lopez-museum.com
The Lopez Memorial Museum is the oldest privately owned and managed museum and library specializing in Philippine material. According to its website, its rariori reach back to books and maps of the sixteenth century, works by the first internationally acclaimed duo of Filipino painters, Juan Luna (1857-1899) and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo (1855-1913), plus priceless personal effects of our national hero, Jose Rizal. With over 500 works in its growing museum collection and over 20,000 titles in its expanding library catalog, the museum cares for holdings covering 600 years of scholarship and artistry.
To quote Oscar M. Lopez via Spot, the library was built out of Mr. Eugenio Lopez Sr.’s “abiding love for his country, lifelong love affair with books and his incorrigible passion for travel.”
Miguel Hernández Library (Instituto Cervantes Library)
855 T.M. Kalaw St., 1000 Ermita, Manila
Open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 7pm, and Saturdays, 9:30am to 5pm
Official website: http://manila.cervantes.es/en/library_spanish
The Instituto Cervantes Library is a resource center offering an extensive collection of documents, literature ad audio-visual, focusing on the language and culture of Spain and Spain-speaking countries. Currently, the library has more than 20,000 documents, including an extensive collection of Spanish and Latin American literature, films and references on the most important works of Spain. Visitors may also listen to a large collection of music and the radio, as well as watch Spanish television.
The library also allows international interlibrary lending, which means that guests can view documents from other Spanish libraries.
*“Private home reference library” by warwick carter courtesy of Flickr. Other photos courtesy of the official websites of the respective libraries. Some rights reserved.