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November is Library and Information Services Month and come third week, the whole country will celebrate the National Book Week. But with technology and information being handy right directly at one’s fingertips, is going to the library still worth the time?
In the province of Palawan, there is only one library found in Narra, while in Puerto Princesa the bigger library is called City Library located in the premises of Mendoza Park. The latter has 7 satellite libraries situated in Brgy. Sta. Lourdes, San Jose, San Rafael, Langogan, Mangingisda, Inagawan and Kamuning.
The young generation knows that Google can answer all their questions so there’s no need to spend a day or hours checking hard books page by page, or reading book catalogues to help in their research. But City Librarian Joymarie Olape asserts that libraries are still relevant these days for those who really need honest and truthful research.
“Super-super relevant pa rin, kasi siyempre sa internet pag hindi ka marunong pumili ng tama mali ang makukuha mo. ‘Di katulad sa libro factual talaga, buhay pa rin ang public library sa Pilipinas, especially ngayon yung National Library masyado sila sa implementation ng reading centers in barangay. Talagang pumupunta sila bawat provinces, nakikita nila na buhay pa rin ang library. Hindi naman siguro mamatay ang public library,” Olape said.
The most common visitors that the City Library has, Olape observes, are students who will take a board exam. That’s why they allow these visitors to bring in their books as long as they declare it upon arrival. Most them are Law students who religiously do their review and find peace inside the library.
Olape admits they lack books on Criminology and NAPOLCOM review books, to which are the common most requested kind of books their visitors are looking for. They are surviving with just less than P70,000 budget annually with four regular staff and 1 casual employee.
“Ang books namin ay in all forms, lahat ng subject cater namin, kumbaga hindi lang kami naka-focus sa isang subject, at the same time may mga books kami na galing sa national library, mga filipiniana books binibigyan kami na wala sa iba, mga Palawenyana books na dino-donate ng mga private persons,” Olape added.
The resolution of City Councilor Roy Ventura to have the City Library that operates in 24 hours/5 days is not possible, said Olape, adding that currently they only open from Monday to Friday from 8 to 5 in the afternoon.
“Yung 24/5 na tinatawag until now hindi namin mapa-implement kasi kulang kami sa manpower, [kung] bigyan kami ng manpower siguro possible. Sa akin magandang idea yun para makatulong sa mga estudyante, researchers, kaya lang mandated din kami ng CSC (Civil Service Commission), basta maging okay yung tao sige.” Olape explain.
Looting mystery unresolved
It was January 5, 2017 that the City Library was ransacked by looters, many valuable books, office supplies, equipment such as projectors, printers and computers even cash were stolen. The incident still remains unresolved until now.
Olape said that most of the books that were stolen are donations from concerned citizens from United States. She grew tired of making a follow up about it because there are no leads or report from investigating officer that can help find the thieves.
“Pina-follow up namin I don’t know sa Kanila, wala ring CCTV, kasi yung time na yun may CCTV dyan sa kanto ng museum, bagyo yun from December to January eh nasira, ewan ko nga kung paano nangyari yun, it’s within the City tapos Barangay model pa sa likod dumaan, at the same time police andyan.”
Plans for the City Library
There is a rumour that the City Library will be moved to the City Hall. Since they are under the City Government they need to be in the area, plus the fact that the lot they occupy is owned by the provincial government though the issue remains a rumour until now.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron didn’t issue a formal communication to them to leave the space in Mendoza Park.
“Ang sabi ililipat ang City Library, kasi dun sa City Hall kami lang ang offsite, kami lang ang nalalayo sa City hall. I think may plano silang ilipat I dunno know kung mag materialize sya, kasi ang sabi ang lupa na to ay sa province, pero kung para sa akin wag na kasi accessible yung area.” Olape said
The City Library is already equipped with wifi and has few computers that their visitors can use. And like in some commercial libraries that offer food, pastries and coffees, they wish to do that as well since it will be a great help for the maintenance and will be an additional source of fund for the library.
“Siguro I’ll coordinate sa City kung papayag sila na mag put up ng café, income generating din yun, at kung darating yung panahon na yun why not. Kailangan ng guidance at approval nila.”
Library Month and Book Week
In line with Library and Information Services Month Celebration, the City Library is conducting a Story Telling Contest on November 14.
Contestants will be coming from 7 satellite libraries in the city mostly are students from Grade 7 to 12.
And on November 21 to 22, Olape will personally visit the said satellite libraries for inspection and to conduct “Basa Bunot Panalo” contest, that’s in the celebration of National Book Week.
Olape also said that the City Library accepts any books as donations, but she just reminds those who will give them copies especially activity books, to make sure it is not written by hand or contain answers.
This will help a lot for those who will use or research on that. Anyone can just go directly to the City Library if you have old books that you wish to be put in the library.
Library card is free to the public. To those who want to avail, first timers need to bring any valid ID in order to be permitted to get inside the library.